RIO DEL, Calif. ( Associated Press) — Small towns hard-hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake off the Northern California coast were still without power Wednesday and officials asked residents to boil their water before drinking.
Most of the 72,000 customers in Humboldt County who were without power when the quake hit the city early Tuesday had service restored in the afternoon, but the Pacific Gas & Electric website showed about 14,000 customers missing. They were still without power after more than 24 hours.
Most of the continued service interruptions are in the cities of Fortuna, Ferndale and Rio Dell. Boil water advisories have been issued for parts of Rio del and Fortuna due to damaged water systems.
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck at 2:34 a.m. Tuesday near Ferndale, about 210 miles (345 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco and about 210 miles (345 kilometers) off the California coast on the Pacific Ocean. The epicenter was located offshore at a depth of 16 kilometers (10 mi). Aftershocks were recorded.
The earthquake woke people up and shook houses off their foundations, injuring at least 12 people.
Residents of an area known for its redwood forests, scenic mountains and famous marijuana cultivation in the three-county Emerald Triangle are used to earthquakes. But many people reported that it was more violent and disturbing than the normal activity they experienced.
“You could see the floor and the walls were shaking,” said Araceli Huerta. “It sounded like a freight train passing my house.”
Two Humboldt County hospitals lost power and were running on generators, but the extent of the damage was minimal given the strength of the quake, according to Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services.
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Humboldt County Tuesday night.
Antczak reported in Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Sophie Austin in Sacramento, Amy Taksin in Orange County and Brian Mele in Los Angeles contributed to this report.