As Storm Hilary swept across Southern California, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake added to the region’s woes, shaking areas already dealing with heavy rainfall. The earthquake’s epicenter was located northwest of Los Angeles, prompting the hashtag #hurriquake to trend on social media platforms.
Despite the earthquake’s intensity, it fortunately did not cause significant damage. This is in contrast to Storm Hilary, which has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone after unleashing “ongoing and historic” amounts of rain across the region. The National Hurricane Service warned of life-threatening flooding, mudslides, and landslides due to the excessive rainfall.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass reassured residents that over 100 fire stations were actively checking buildings for damage following the earthquake. Thankfully, there were no initial reports of injuries or major structural damage caused by the seismic event.
Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones remarked on the uniqueness of the earthquake’s location near Ojai. She noted that it marked the “first time we’ve had a five since 1932 in exactly this location, and even within the Ventura basin.” Following the initial quake, two aftershocks measuring magnitude 3.1 and 3.6 were felt, with Dr. Jones cautioning that more aftershocks were likely in the coming days.
The timing of the earthquake coincided with post-tropical cyclone Hilary, leaving some residents unsure about where to seek cover. Reports and videos circulated on social media, showcasing the impact of the earthquake on daily life, from falling items in supermarkets to people running for cover. Fortunately, compared to previous earthquakes, Sunday’s earthquake was relatively moderate in its impact.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency across most of southern California, deploying more than 7,500 troops to assist residents in storm preparation. The storm’s heavy rain wreaked havoc on areas that are usually arid desert landscapes, leading to flash flooding and difficulties with water absorption in the ground. Even areas like Palm Springs and Death Valley experienced unprecedented rainfall during this atypical storm event.
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