Northern California has been hit by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake for the second time within the span of two weeks, leading to power outages and widespread damage.
The quake took place on New Year’s Day, striking around nine miles southeast of Rio Dell in Humboldt County around 10.30am, the US Geological Survey reported.
The office of the Humboldt County Sheriff said that home damages were reported in Rio Dell – around half of residents didn’t have power on Sunday and about 30 per cent didn’t have water, according to NBC News.
Early on Monday, over a dozen customers didn’t have power in Humboldt County, according to poweroutage.us.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t reported any injuries in connection to the earthquake. The authorities added that there was no risk of a tsunami because of the earthquake.
The California Department of Transportation conducted a temporary shutdown of State Route 211 at Fernbridge Road to perform safety inspections, the sheriff’s office noted, warning that there could be delays in traffic.
The earthquake struck just days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the area on 20 December, leaving two people dead, about a dozen injured, and thousands without power.
Two residents, 72 and 83 years old, died following medical emergencies after the earthquake last month, Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said, adding that emergency services were unable to get them to the care facilities required in time.
Sheriff Honsal said that Rio Dell, with about 3,300 residents, was among the areas most affected by the earthquake and the following aftershocks.
Rio Dell Mayor Debra Garnes told CNN that “it was crazy. The earthquake felt more violent this time”.
“It was shorter, but more violent. My refrigerator moved two feet. Things came out of the refrigerator. There’s a crack in my wall from the violence of it,” she added.
“We are kind of starting over – we had moved from our response to recovery, and now we are basically in both,” Ms Garnes said after the two quakes. “We have to be back in response because the southern end of town really took it hard this time.”
On Sunday, she said 30 per cent of the town’s water supply was shut down, and that the city had lost “pockets” of power, adding that one of the roads in the town has a crack measuring 35 feet.
A number of buildings damaged in the quake last month suffered further damage on New Year’s Day and some buildings may have to be torn down, the mayor said.
The mayor praised the “tremendous response from the community,” saying that “literally everyone is trying their best to help us get through this”.