2 Dead, 11 Injured After 6.4-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northern California

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
December 20, 2022California

Two people have died and dozens have been injured after a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Northern California early Tuesday.

The earthquake was about 10 miles (16.1km) deep and struck roughly 7.4 (12km) west-southwest of the small town of Ferndale at 2.34 am local time and was felt widely across Northern California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

“Smaller aftershocks should be expected

in the coming days,” USGS said. “The most likely scenario is that this will be followed by many smaller earthquakes (aftershocks) including up to half a dozen of M~4. Less likely scenarios include further similar sized or larger events.”

Ferndale is located in Humboldt County. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late on Tuesday that two people had died “as a result of medical emergencies” that occurred during or just following the earthquake and 11 others sustained injuries.

The two people who died were a 72-year-old and an 83-year-old who did not receive medical treatment in time, Humboldt County Sheriff William F. Honsal said during a press conference on Tuesday, adding “our hearts and prayers go out to their families.”

Honsal added that he anticipated the number of injured individuals will rise in the coming days. Roughly 30 people have been displaced, he said.

“Power remains off for over 70,000 customers in the county,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Pacific Gas and Electric Company is actively working to restore power with no estimated time of restoration.”

Earthquake Caused ‘Significant Structural Damages’

According to the utility tracker PowerOutage.us, 14,326 homes and businesses in Humboldt County are currently without power.

“Damage assessments are currently underway, with significant structural damages, including gas and water lines, observed in the Rio Dell community and moderate damages to properties throughout the Eel River Valley,” the Sheriff’s Office statement added.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal has declared a local emergency due to the earthquake, which caused “significant damages” in the area.

The declaration will allow the county to request state and federal funding for damage repairs and other things that have been impacted by the quake.

In a statement on Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom also confirmed that the earthquake had resulted in the deaths of two individuals and left dozens injured.

The Democrat also noted that there have been multiple power outages and that critical infrastructure including water lines and gas lines, along with roads, buildings, and bridges have been damaged.

“The Governor has also directed state agencies and departments to take appropriate action as necessary to provide support to local communities, including the California Department of Transportation to ensure the safety of roadways, the California Highway Patrol to protect public safety, the California Department of Public Health and Emergency Medical Services Authority to aid local hospitals, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to help address any possible additional emergencies and the California Geological Survey for continued earthquake monitoring, the statement read.

Tuesday’s earthquake comes roughly a year after a 6.2 magnitude quake struck just off Cape Mendocino near Humboldt County on December 20, 2021. That earthquake caused minor damage to buildings.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.