National News Desk

2nd earthquake in 2 weeks jolts Northern California’s Humboldt County

Humboldt County Earthquake
Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

(RIO DELL, Calif.) — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 shook Northern California on New Year’s Day, striking in the same area where a tremor killed two people and caused major damage less than two weeks ago, authorities said.

Sunday’s earthquake occurred at 10:35 a.m. and its epicenter was pinpointed nine miles east of Rio Dell in Humboldt County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage. Route 211 was temporarily closed as inspectors checked a bridge that crosses the Eel River in Humboldt County for damage, according to the California Department of Transportation.

The shaker caused a power outage in the Rio Dell area, about 245 miles north of San Francisco. The Pacific Gas & Electric Company reported that 500 to 4,999 utility customers are affected by the outage.

The quake struck 12 days after one hit the same area.

On Dec. 20, a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the same area, killing two people, a 73-year-old and an 83-year-old, who died as “a result of medical emergencies occurring during and/or just following the earthquake,” officials said. The previous earthquake injured 17 people, knocked out power and water to the city of Rio Dell, caused a major water main break and shook several homes off their foundations, county officials said.

Gage Dupper, who was displaced by the earlier quake, which knocked his home off its foundation, told ABC San Francisco station KGO-TV that he’s been living as a “nomad.”

“Today was another pretty big one. Still feels like we are shaking to me. We just can’t catch a break it seems,” Dupper said.

He said he was working in Fortuna, next to Del Rio, when Sunday’s quake occurred.

“But even just here it felt like the ceiling was going to come down,” Dupper said. “We nearly lost our power here as well. I was in the middle of talking to a resident of the assisted living community I work for and you could just see the panic in their eyes when it started. She was just trying to pay her rent. It certainly tossed us around a bit.”

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