Northern California earthquake near Ferndale, Eureka: Outages reported

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A preliminary magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked Northern California early Tuesday morning, the strongest earthquake the area has seen in years.

It was not immediately known if anyone was injured, but officials reported “widespread damages” to infrastructure around Humboldt County, which is more than 250 miles north of San Francisco.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 2:34 a.m. PT in Pacific Ocean waters about 7.5 miles west of Ferndale at a depth of just over 16 miles. The city is about 19 miles south of Eureka, near the California and Oregon state line.

As of early Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service’s tsunami warning system reported there was no tsunami threat associated with the quake.

“Be prepared for aftershocks,” the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services tweeted just after 6:30 a.m. PT. “Check gas and water lines for damages or leaks. Exercise caution if traveling.”

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‘Widespread damages to roads and homes’

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced reports of damage to homes and roads throughout the county, which has a population of about 136,000 people.

As of just after 6 a.m. PT Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reported tens of thousands of customers without power in the area. In Humboldt County alone, where Ferndale is located, more than 71,000 people were in the dark.

A photo posted online by the California Department of Transportation showed State Route 211 in Humboldt County buckled from the quake.

Residents also shared photos of damage sustained to homes.

“Our home is a 140-year-old Victorian,” Ferndale resident Caroline Titus posted on Twitter. “The north/south shaking is very evident in what fell. This was our coffee station. Sorry for dark video. Power still out.”

Earthquake among strongest in recent memory

Tuesday’s 6.4 magnitude earthquake could be the most significant to hit California since July 2019, when a 7.1 magnitude quake hit the Ridgecrest area in Southern California, according to the state Department of Conservation. A 6.5 magnitude quake was recorded about 100 miles offshore near Ferndale in 2016.

The earthquake came just days after a small magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area, waking up thousands of people at 3:39 a.m. Saturday and causing minor damage.

That earthquake was centered in El Cerrito, about a 16-mile drive to downtown San Francisco.

It also comes on the heels of a magnitude5.1 earthquake rattling the San Francisco Bay Area in late October. No one was injured in the natural disaster. The quake happened on the Calaveras Fault, one of eight major faults in the Bay Area and a branch of the San Andreas Fault line.

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Tuesday’s early morning quake was the largest the area had experienced in years, according to USGS data. The last notable quake was a6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck offshore in the Cape Mendocino area of Northern California in December 2021.

That earthquake was centered off the coast about 210 miles northwest of San Francisco, just off a tiny town called Petrolia that’s home to fewer than 1,000 people. 

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This is a developing story.

Contributing: Associated Press

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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