A magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California Saturday afternoon, shaking buildings, knocking out power in several coastal communities and leaving a trail of broken windows and dishes south of the Oregon border.When the quake struck this afternoon I was outside, trimming and raking, but I didn't feel the quake.
The powerful quake hit at about 4:27 p.m. PST about 22 miles from Ferndale, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Authorities in the nearby city of Eureka and other area communities said no major injuries have been reported. But several people received minor cuts and scrapes from broken glass at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka, and an elderly person fell and broke a hip, authorities said.
"We're mostly getting reports of bumps, bruises and hits on the head," said Laurie Watson Stone, a spokeswoman for St. Joseph Hospital, a 146-bed hospital in Eureka. "The emergency room is busy, but we haven't heard of any major injuries."
Amanda Nichols, a dispatcher for Eureka Police Department, said she received a report that an infant was struck in the head with some flying debris at the mall.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman J.D. Guidi said power outages were widespread across most of Humboldt County, affecting about 25,000 customers.
Nearly 10,000 remained without power some five hours after the quake, and some could remain without power through Sunday, said PG&E spokeswoman Janna Morris.
No damage was done to the company's former nuclear power plant outside Eureka, Morris said.
Several traffic lights fell and numerous residents reported water, gas and sewer leaks, Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman Jo Wattle said.
"People have chimneys down, and we're hearing about minor property damage and lots of glassware broken," Wattle said. "People are really shaken up. It was shaking pretty good, then it had a big jolt to it at the end."
...There is a small chance — 5 to 10 percent — of another magnitude-6.5 temblor or larger hitting the area over the next week, but the odds dramatically decrease as time passes, the USGS said.
There's also a 78 percent chance of a strong and potentially damaging aftershock magnitude-5 or larger over the same period. The earthquake probabilities are based on statistical observations of past earthquakes in California and are not predictions, the USGS said.
...Dan Bowermaster of San Francisco was with relatives in Eureka when Saturday's quake hit, moving the refrigerator in his cousins' home about 3 feet. He said he had been in several moderate and large quakes throughout California but had never felt anything as strong as this one.
"It was extremely unsettling, it was shaking in kind of a circular way," he said.
Sandra Hall, owner of Antiques and Goodies in Eureka, said furniture fell over, nearly all her lamps broke and the handful of customers in her store got a big scare. She said it was the most dramatic quake in the 30 years the store has been open.
"We'll be having a sale on broken china for those who like to do mosaics," she said.
It's too bad I wasn't in my bedroom. I've discovered that the room is exquisitely-sensitive to shaking of all kinds, and the paintings will squeak against the wall during even the most-minor Napa Valley quakes: the ones no one else in Sacramento feels. I bet the bedroom was doing all kinds of squeaking, but like I say, I was outside at the time.
This map (reproduced above) indicates I SHOULD have been able to feel it, if I had been in bed.