2 Dead, ‘Widespread Damages’ After 6.4 Earthquake in Humboldt Co; at Least 12 Hurt

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook parts of Northern California early Tuesday, jolting people awake, the U.S. Geological Survey said, causing widespread damage and leaving thousands without power.

The earthquake occurred at about 2:34 a.m. near Ferndale, a small community in Humboldt County. It was followed by at least 80 aftershocks.

At least 12 individuals have been injured, with none critically, officials said. Two individuals, ages 72 and 83, have died as a result of medical emergencies occurring during and/or just following the earthquake, according to Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal.

Those injuries include at least one broken hip and a head injury.

“We aren’t tracking all of the injuries that are coming in now because they are coming in quite quickly now… but as far as we know there is nothing critical,” said Sheriff Honsal.

Approximately 71,000 customers are currently without power in Humboldt County, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages across the country. That’s 71% of the customers in the county. PG&E said that it has a goal to restore power to those customers by 10 p.m.

In a 2 p.m. update, officials said the water system is still not working in Rio Dell. They don’t expect it to be back on Tuesday night. The town could be 24-48 hours without running water, according to ABC7’s Liz Kreutz. A boil water advisory has been issued for Rio Dell and Fortuna.

Officials say Rio Dell is “ground zero” for damage from the earthquake.

So far, 15 homes in Rio Dell have been red-tagged which means they are not safe for occupancy. At least 18 homes have been yellow-tagged. Officials say they have checked roughly 50% of the homes.

Humboldt County Sheriff PIO Samantha Karges confirms there were rescues Tuesday morning, saying, “Yes, two structure collapses with entrapment.”

She says she can’t say at this time if those are the same as the two people injured or if the two people rescued were injured.

Emergency officials say “widespread damages” have been reported to roads and homes throughout Humboldt County. PG&E says it has initiated its emergency response plan and crews are responding to gas and electric hazards.

Humboldt County District 2 supervisor Michelle Bushnell tells ABC7 News it’s a “total mess” in the city, with houses off their foundation and no power or water into the city after a major water main break.

Residents in the area have been posting video showing the damage to their homes. There are reports of gas leaks in the area and at least one bridge has a large crack through it.

Out of an abundance of caution, Fernbridge — connecting Ferndale — will be closed for further inspection, according to Sen. Mike McGuire. CalTrans will remain on scene to assess the structure.

The quake triggered a massive response by the MyShake App that detects the start of a quake and sends alerts to cellphones in the affected region that can give people notice to take safety precautions in the seconds before strong shaking reaches them.

The system pushed out alerts to some 3 million people in Northern California early Tuesday, Ghilarducci said. “The system did operate as we had hoped,” he said.

This earthquake did not trigger a tsunami warning.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on Tuesday writing:

“Jennifer and I send our heartfelt condolences to the families grieving the loss of loved ones and offer our best wishes for the recovery of those who were injured in this earthquake,” said Governor Newsom. “California stands with the people of Humboldt County and the state has moved quickly to support the emergency response underway with local and tribal partners. I thank all of the women and men who have mobilized to protect public safety and support the community at this challenging time.”

Gov. Newsom’s office activated the State Operations Center to coordinate the ongoing emergency response with local and tribal governments and provide any needed resources, including shelter, food and water, and aid in damage assessments of buildings and roadways.

The Red Cross said in a tweet it opened an emergency shelter located at:

Fortuna Fireman’s Pavilion
9 Park Way, Fortuna, CA 95540

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews

Earthquake Early-Warning Sensors Being Expanded in California

An infusion of federal funding will help expand or strengthen the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake early-warning system around Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, Mammoth and Bishop.

The University of Nevada, Reno, which runs the seismic network in eastern California, will use $1 million from the USGS to upgrade obsolete seismic sensors in Death Valley and the Mammoth and Bishop areas. The funding also will boost seismic networks in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas, where communications systems can be damaged in severe winters, said Graham Kent, director of the university’s Nevada Seismological Laboratory.

Eastern California and Nevada carry significant seismic risk. The Death Valley fault system, which stretches east of Bishop down to the southern reaches of Death Valley National Park, is capable of generating a quake of roughly magnitude 7.8, Kent said. The Las Vegas area would suffer damage if such a powerful quake occurred and the fault ruptured toward the southeast and toward the city, Kent said. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

California, residents wonder: Are we getting close to the Big One?

Right after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California on July 4, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, a lifelong Angeleno, tweeted that it was the longest quake she’d ever felt.

“It was so long,” she wrote, “I thought for the first time ever is this the Big One?” But it wasn’t even the biggest tremor Californians would see that week, with a more powerful 7.1 quake coming just a day later.

Ultimately, neither was the fabled Big One, a catastrophic earthquake that could occur along the San Andreas Fault and that geologists have warned is likely “overdue.”

This week was just a reminder. Jason Corona, whose family owns a restaurant in Ridgecrest, near the epicenters of the earthquakes, described feeling uneasy as the aftershocks kept him awake late Friday night. …

Click here to read the full article from CNN

Biggest earthquake in years rattles Southern California

The largest earthquake in two decades rattled Southern California on Thursday morning, shaking communities from Las Vegas to Long Beach and ending a quiet period in the state’s seismic history.

Striking at 10:33 a.m., the magnitude 6.4 temblor was centered about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the remote Searles Valley area near where Inyo, San Bernardino and Kern counties meet. It was felt as far away as Ensenada and Mexicali in Mexico, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Chico, Calif. A 5.4 magnitude aftershock awoke many Friday morning.

Authorities said there were no immediate reports of deaths, serious injuries or major infrastructure damage, though emergency responders were still inspecting areas around the city of Ridgecrest. …

Click here to read the full article from the Los Angeles Times


More Than 1,000 Small Earthquakes Hit Southern California

Photo courtesy of channone, flickr

Over the past three weeks, more than 1,000 small earthquakes have hit Southern California — mostly in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Some are calling the region’s increased seismic activity “swarmageddon,” but seismologist Lucy Jones told the Los Angeles Times that the small quakes don’t mean the big one is more or less likely. According to Jones, there’s only a 5% chance that any single quake will be followed by a larger one.

But experts still encourage Southern California residents to prepare since it will happen, though they don’t know when or where. …

Click here to read the full article from CBS Local News

CARTOON: CA Bay Bridge Safety


Warning: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/capoliticalreview.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ad-injection/ad-injection.php on line 824

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/capoliticalreview.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ad-injection/ad-injection.php on line 831


CalTrans cartoon

Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

Big Bay Area quake: When and where is it most likely to happen?

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

The Bay Area has a nearly three-in-four chance of experiencing a potentially deadly earthquake in the next 30 years, scientists reported Tuesday in a long-awaited update of statewide earthquake probabilities that provides the most precise look yet into our foreboding seismic future.

 The newly revised estimates show a 72 percent chance that a magnitude-6.7 or larger quake — almost the size of the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor — will strike the Bay Area before the year 2044. The odds of a much larger magnitude-7 quake are 50-50.

“The San Francisco Bay Area should live every day like it is the day of The Big One,” said U.S. Geological Survey scientist Ned Field, lead author of the eight-year-long analysis, called the “Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast.”

Click here to read the full article

Why Don’t California Lawmakers Want Residents to Buy Earthquake Insurance?

“California Rocks.” That’s the clever slogan for a new advertising campaign by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), the state’s privately funded, publicly managed earthquake insurance fund. The message is both an allusion to the Golden State’s culture of musical cool and a literal statement of fact: California is earthquake country. The state experiences hundreds of tiny temblors every day that most people never notice. But it’s only a matter of time before a destructive quake rocks the Golden State. The Southern California Earthquake Center estimates that the state has a 99.7 percent chance of experiencing an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater within the next 23 years. Yet, thanks to shortsighted public policy, only about one in ten Californian residents holds an earthquake-insurance policy.

Until recently, California’s insurers struggled to align their premiums with the actual peril that earthquakes represent. Insurance companies discovered after the 1994 Northridge earthquake that their estimates had been much too low. That magnitude 6.7 temblor killed more than 60 people, injured 9,000, damaged and destroyed thousands of buildings, and left parts of Los Angeles’s freeways in ruins. The losses suffered by insurers—$12.5 billion in all—were greater than the sum of earthquake insurance premiums they’d collected over the previous 25 years.

Politicians have always recognized that earthquakes pose a long-term problem, but their solutions have tended to be ad hoc and counterproductive. Two developments in particular made earthquake insurance less attractive to California homeowners. First, in 1985, the state took the unusual step of mandating that insurers offer earthquake insurance anytime they sell a residential insurance policy. At the time, an estimated 5 to 7 percent of homeowners had earthquake insurance. Publicly, legislators maintained that the goal of linking residential policies with earthquake policies was to raise awareness of earthquake insurance and encourage more people to purchase private coverage. But the underlying reason for the mandate was a state court decision that dramatically expanded insurer’s civil liability for damages not covered under existing policies.

The legislature had at least two choices in responding to the court’s ruling: take a free-market approach while limiting liability, or link the earthquake insurance to residential policies. Lawmakers went with the second, with the encouragement—later regretted—of some in the insurance industry. Insurers believed that most customers would turn down an offer of earthquake insurance, seeing it as an expensive option to hedge against a remote risk; meanwhile, the insurers would have insulated themselves from liability. In fact, the problem worsened: after Northridge, spooked insurers scrambled to limit their exposure to future quakes by refusing to sell residential policies. As a result, the real estate market ground to a halt.

In 1996, looking for a way to get insurers to issue policies again, legislators established the state earthquake authority, which offers earthquake insurance to satisfy the 1985 law. Participating insurers fund the CEA by pooling premiums in the state fund. The CEA’s earthquake insurance is better than what came before, but it’s still expensive, with high deductibles and limited coverage. So it’s unsurprising that only 10 percent of homeowners today are willing to pay for it.

The best way to control costs related to earthquake damage is to restrict development in earthquake-prone areas, but that opportunity passed long ago; the most dangerous areas in California are among the most densely populated. The most realistic and effective way to control earthquake exposure is to distribute the risk privately. Privately financed insurance policies aren’t susceptible to the political whims of state officials and regulators. They have the added virtues of scale, speed, and sensitivity to individual claims.

State senator Bill Monning, a Democrat from Carmel, has taken the lead on reforming the CEA and seeking ways to encourage more homeowners to buy insurance. But he’s found little support from his fellow Democrats. The best Monning could manage last session was a resolution encouraging Congress to pass the Earthquake Insurance Affordability Act, a taxpayer-funded insurance backstop. If lawmakers really wanted to see the public covered, they would liberalize the state’s insurance market and compel companies to innovate and compete. If they considered earthquake peril a statewide risk worthy of universal sacrifice, they might even make buying earthquake coverage a requirement for obtaining a mortgage, not unlike the mandate to purchase flood insurance in flood-prone areas. But until such changes come into effect, homeowners and taxpayers will wind up paying a steep price when California rocks again.