California’s famous Emerald Triangle cannabis-growing region was hit by an earthquake early Tuesday morning that killed two local residents and left tens of thousands without electricity. The quake, which he scored 6.4 on the Richter scale, injured about a dozen people and damaged homes and businesses in the area.
The ground began shaking at 2:34 a.m., and the quake centered near the town of Ferndale, a community about 210 miles northwest of San Francisco in Humboldt County. The epicenter of the quake was about 10 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean.
Humboldt County, along with neighboring Trinity and Mendocino counties, make up California’s infamous Emerald Triangle. Here, for decades, cannabis farmers have cultivated top-notch marijuana, which is famous around the world. Johnny Casali of Huckleberry Hills Farm reported that his traditional cannabis business in southern Humboldt County lost electricity during a power outage but suffered no damage from the shaking. Chris Anderson said southern Humboldt County was not hit hard by the quake, but he had heard reports of broken water mains and houses being blown off their foundations in the central part of the county.
Over 70,000 lose power
Damage to buildings and infrastructure is still being assessed throughout the region. About 72,000 Pacific Gas and Electric customers reportedly lost power as a result of the earthquake. By late Tuesday, the utility company was providing power to about 40,000 customers, with the remaining homes and businesses without power expected to have electrical service restored within 24 hours. The blackout involved a major power line to the area, and rain delayed repairs, preventing the helicopter from assessing the damage to the power line.
In a bulletin, the Humboldt County Emergency Services Department report “Two people have died as a result of medical emergencies that occurred during and/or immediately after the earthquake.” The dead include an 83-year-old and a 72-year-old, according to reports. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports that at least 11 people were injured in the earthquake. According to media reports, injuries sustained in the earthquake included a broken hip and a head injury.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Humboldt County Tuesday night. Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the California Governor’s Emergency Services Agency, said two hospitals in the area were out of power but are running on generators. Ferguson also said damage in the area appears to have been minimal given the strength of the quake.
Residents of the Emerald Triangle are accustomed to relatively frequent earthquakes. But some say Tuesday’s tremors were more violent than many tremor movements in the region.
“I could see the floor and walls shaking” Araceli Huerta Said Associated Press. “It sounded like a freight train was passing by my house.”
Rio Dell bears the brunt of Tumbler
Earthquake damage was reported in Ferndale, Riodell and Fortuna, Emergency Services Director Mark Guillarducci said at a news conference in Sacramento. The hardest hit was Lyodelle, where at least 15 of his 3,000-unit communities were deemed uninhabitable. Another he said 18 homes were moderately damaged, officials said after a partial assessment of the area. About 30 people were evacuated due to the damage, but officials warn that number could reach 150 once a full assessment of the quake’s impact is completed.
Rio Dell’s water system is closed and out of service for up to two days until critical infrastructure leaks are repaired. The local fire department was distributing potable water, and there was a portable toilet outside the city hall for local residents to use.
Local resident Cassondra Stoner said Tuesday’s quake woke her up.
“It felt like the roof had fallen,” Stoner said. “The only thing I could think of was ‘catch the crazy kids’.
Aside from the emotional shock caused by the early morning earthquake, Stoner’s family was unharmed. But when I went to work at my local retail store, I found ceiling tiles falling, shelves knocked over, and merchandise strewn across the floor.
The earthquake occurred in an area known as the Mendocino Triple Junction. In this region, three tectonic plates meet on the Pacific coast of northern California.
“We are at this moment in a geological era where the most exciting and dynamic region in California happens to be Humboldt County and the adjacent offshore region,” said Cal Poly Humboldt Professor of Geology Emeritus. Lori Dengler told reporters.