Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits Northern California coast

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Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits Northern California coast

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake rattled Northern California early Tuesday morning, causing widespread damage and leaving tens of thousands without power in Humboldt County.

The quake was reported at 2:34 a.m. Tuesday 11 miles from Fortuna, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. No tsunami was expected, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office said on Twitter.

Dispatchers received two reports of injuries early Tuesday, including a broken bone and a head injury, with both patients expected to survive, Samantha Karges, public information officer for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office, said. There were no immediate reports of fatalities early Tuesday morning.

There was extensive damage to roads and homes, Karges said. Most of the destruction is in Rio Dell, Fortuna, Ferndale and Scotia in the Eel River Valley.

According to, more than 70,000 people across Humboldt County, a majority of residents, were without power early Tuesday. Pacific Gas & Electric was working to restore power early Tuesday, Karges said, who added “there is no time available” for when services might come back online for the county.

Several gas leaks and water lines were impacted by the quake, Karges said. PG&E tweeted that it “initiated its emergency response plan, and crews are responding to gas and electric hazards.”

There were no reports of damage early Tuesday to critical roadway infrastructure, said Sgt. Caleb Casey with the California Highway Patrol in Humboldt County, who described the earthquake as “pretty violent.”

Fernbridge, the county’s oldest bridge for an integrity check, Casey said. It was unclear whether the bridge sustained any cracking because of the earthquake, or whether the bridge’s expansion joints, which essentially allow concrete to move without fracturing, were doing their job.

Some residents reported receiving an electronic quake alert on their phone before strong shaking began. “That earthquake was insane … a good 15-20 seconds of shaking,” one resident said on Twitter.

On social media, some reported that the quake caused furniture to move and items to fall to the floor.

“That was a big one. Power is now out in #ferndaleca. House is a mess,” Ferndale resident Caroline Titus wrote on Twitter, showing broken items in her home.

The quake struck along the coast south of Eureka in a seismically active part of California. It was felt across the North Coast region.

Exactly a year ago, the same area was hit by a magnitude 6.2 quake that shattered windows and caused some damage.

The USGS said the Tuesday earthquake occurred 17 miles from Eureka, 24 miles from Arcata and 30 miles from McKinleyville. It was followed by numerous aftershocks.

In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 6.0 and 7.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample.