California rocked by 5.4 earthquake as state battles life-threatening floods

Northern California was rocked by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake for the second time in two weeks, causing power outages and widespread damage.

The earthquake occurred around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, about nine miles southeast of Rio Dell in Humboldt County, on New Year’s Day, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office said home damage was reported in Rio Dell—about half of residents had no electricity as of Sunday, and about 30 percent had no water, according to NBC News.

Earlier on Monday, more than a dozen customers in Humboldt County were without electricity.

The sheriff’s office did not report any injuries related to the earthquake. Authorities added that there is no tsunami risk due to the earthquake.

With the sheriff’s office warning of possible traffic delays, the California Department of Transportation temporarily closed State Route 211 on Fernbridge Road to conduct safety inspections.

The earthquake came just days after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit the area on December 20, killing two people, injuring about a dozen others and leaving thousands without electricity.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal added that two residents, aged 72 and 83, died in the wake of medical emergencies following the earthquake last month, and emergency services were unable to get them to the care facilities they needed in time.

Sheriff Honsal said that Rio Dell, where approximately 3,300 people live, is among the regions most affected by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

Rio Dell Mayor Debra Garnes told CNN, “that was crazy. The earthquake was felt more severely this time,” he said.

“It was shorter but more intense. My refrigerator has moved two feet. The items are out of the fridge. A crack formed in my wall from his violence,” he added.

“We’re kind of starting over – we’ve moved from our response to recovery and now we’re basically in both,” Ms. Garnes said after the two earthquakes. “We have to come back in response because the south end of the city really pushed it this time.”

On Sunday, he said 30 percent of the town’s water supply had been shut down, leaving the city’s “pockets” without electricity, adding that there was a 15-metre crack in one of the town’s roads.

The mayor said that some buildings damaged in the earthquake last month were further damaged by New Year’s and some buildings may need to be demolished.

The mayor praised the “enormous response from the community” and said that “literally everyone is doing their best to help us get through this.”

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