6.4 magnitude Earthquake in N. California felt in Medford and Grants Pass

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. – Residents in Humboldt County felt what was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The epicenter was 7.5 miles from Ferndale, Calfornia

Eric Dittmer, a geology professor at SOU, said it’s not a surprise to see major movement in this part of Northern California.

“It’s pretty common,” he said. “Because you have a certain earthquake potential and probability on the San Andreas, you have earthquake probability on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.” 

According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, at least 11 people are injured and two are dead from medical emergencies that happened during or after the quake.

The powerful shaking caused over 70,000 people to initially lose power.

Several roads and structures have also been damaged.

Over 80 aftershocks have been recorded since the initial quake, according to the USGS.

“It appears Rio Dell sustained some of the hardest hit areas but there’s still assessment going in in Ferndale which is also close to the epicenter,” director of California governor’s office emergency services Mark Ghilarducci said.

People as far as Medford and Grants Pass reported feeling the earthquake, including receiving a ‘Shake Alert’ on their cell phones.

Officials said people were alerted as early as 10 seconds before the earthquake shook 3 million people.

Dittmer said this is a good reminder for people to download an earthquake warning app or turn on pubic safety notifications on your devices.

“We might have seconds or tens of seconds of warning and that amount of time increases with your distance,” he said. “So if you have a large event at the coast, we could have 30 seconds or more of warning.”

As far as Southern Oregon goes, Dittmer is worried that many Oregonians are not prepared for the potential ‘big one’.

He says there’s a 1 in 3 chance we see a magnitude 9.0 quake in the next 50 years.

Dittmer: “We are facing the same kind of danger that japan has faced,” Dittmer said. “And they had a magnitude 9.0 back in 2011. Since our earthquakes are rare, and when they happen they are big, we don’t have that type of earthquake memory.”

Dittmer believes many structures and houses across the state are simply not ready to withstand a large earthquake.

But you can stay prepared by having a natural disaster kit ready to go, with non perishable foods, water, extra clothes, pillows and blankets.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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