U.S. Rattled nerves, minor damage from second major Southern California quake
An employee cleans up toppled bottles in a convenience store on July 6, 2019 following a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Ridgecrest, California
Ridgecrest (United States) (AFP) – Southern California appeared to have avoided the worst on Saturday after it was rocked by a second powerful earthquake in as many days — a 7.1 magnitude tremor that revived fears of the so-called Big One the region has feared for decades.
No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported from this second quake, the largest in Southern California in more than two decades. It hit Friday night in a remote and sparsely populated area around 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, where it was also felt.
But the earth’s mighty twitch shook buildings, damaged roads and rattled people still jittery from a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in the same region on Thursday.
„We’ve never seen anything like this, this is the biggest and most impactful quake that I’ve ever experienced,” said Victor Abdullatif, owner of a small supermarket in the Mojave desert town of Ridgecrest where the quake left wine bottles and other merchandise smashed on the floor in huge piles.
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a remote testing ground for military hardware, wrote on Facebook that due to the quake it was „not mission capable until further notice.”
An official at China Lake had told AFP after Thursday’s temblor that there was „substantial damage” to their facilities, including fires, water leaks and spills of hazardous materials.
As the second big quake hit on Friday, two news presenters live on Los Angeles TV station KCBS looked distraught and gazed up repeatedly to see if anything was falling.
„We are experiencing very strong shaking. I think we need to get under the desk,” one presenter said, then did just that as the station cut to a commercial.
Hardest-hit was the town of Trona east of Ridgecrest, where between 20 and 50 buildings were damaged and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had to truck in bottles of water as water lines had been cut, county supervisor Robert Lovingood said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Twitter that he had requested federal assistance for communities hit by the quake, and on Saturday flew to the area to inspect the damage.
However there were already signs of recovery as both Trona and Ridgecrest saw electricity restored Saturday and the state highway connecting the towns was opened after „emergency temporary repairs” to earthquake-caused cracks, the California Department of Transportation said on Twitter.
– Fears of the ‘Big One’ –
The latest quake was 11 times stronger than the 6.4-magnitude „foreshock” the previous day, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The two major quakes, along with multiple aftershocks, have revived fears of the „Big One” — a powerful tremor along the San Andreas Fault that could devastate major cities in California.
„This is an earthquake sequence. These earthquakes are related,” said Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones.
There was a 10 percent chance of Friday’s quake being followed by another magnitude 7.0 or higher quake in the next week, she added.
Abdullatif, the shop owner, said he is holding off on cleaning up from the quake because of the warnings there could be yet more seismic activity.
„The anxiety is definitely very high,” he said. „It’s definitely a scary time.”
Terri Brantley, who lives in a mobile home in Ridgecrest, said the quake’s fury was stunning. He and his wife were in bed when it hit but they managed to get out.
„It literally picked up the house in the air, and threw it to the west about three feet,” he told AFP.
„I’ve experienced other quakes before, many times, but nothing like this. This was absolutely terrifying,” Brantley said.
– ‘Scary’ –
Numerous gas leaks were reported near the epicenter, including in Trona and nearby Argus, but no fires were attributed to the earthquake, the San Bernardino fire department tweeted.
There were no reports of serious damage in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Numerous visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim said on Twitter that rides were temporarily shut for safety inspections.
Patrons at movie theaters in the Los Angeles area evacuated due to the quake.
„Everyone remained calm as the theater began to shake and then the shaking got stronger. We all headed to exits and down the stairs. No panic but one woman sobbing. This one was scary,” wrote NBC journalist Lester Holt on Twitter.
In Las Vegas, 150 miles east of the quake, an NBA summer league game was postponed when the tremor hit, causing the scoreboard and several overhead speakers to sway.
The earthquake was the largest in California since 1992, when a 7.2-magnitude quake struck Cape Mendocino on a remote stretch of the state’s northern coast.
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has struck southern California, cracking roads, triggering building fires and causing a number of injuries.
The quake, which followed a 6.4 magnitude foreshock on 4 July, was the biggest the region has suffered in 20 years and was felt as far away as Mexico and Las Vegas after it struck on Friday evening.
It was centred about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles near the town of Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert – as was the Independence Day tremor – and was followed by a series of aftershocks, which seismologists warned could last for days, or even weeks.
The area in and around Ridgecrest, already trying to recover from Thursday’s foreshock, took the brunt of damage. Several thousand people were without power, and there were reports of cracked buildings.
Mark Ghillarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, said there were „significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks throughout the city”.
He also said there was a report of a building collapse in tiny Trona and that there could be even more serious damage to the region that will not be known until first light on Saturday.
There were reports of trailers burning at a mobile home and State Route 178 in Kern County was closed by a rockslide and roadway damage.
Kern County fire chief David Witt said there had been a lot of ambulance calls but no reported fatalities.
For the second time in as many days, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital wheeled patients out of the building, some still hooked to IVs, CNN reported.
In downtown Los Angeles, 150 miles away, offices in skyscrapers rolled and rocked for at least 30 seconds.
Andrew Lippman, who lives in suburban South Pasadena, was sitting outside and reading the paper when Friday’s quake hit and calculated it lasted 45 seconds.
„I could see power lines swaying,” he said.
Disneyland in Orange County and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita closed their rides.
An NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas was stopped after the quake. Speakers over the court at the Thomas & Mack Center continued swaying more than 10 minutes after the quake.
The quake rattled Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning of the team’s game against the San Diego Padres, when Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez was batting. It did not appear to affect him or Padres pitcher Eric Lauer.
However, it was obvious to viewers of the SportsNet LA broadcast when the TV picture bounced up and down. Some fans in the upper deck appeared to leave their seats and move to a concourse at the top of the stadium.
There is about a 1-in-10 chance that another 7.0 magnitude quake could hit within the next week, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the US Geological Survey.
The chance of a 5.0 magnitude quake „is approaching certainty”, she added, with aftershocks from the main quake potentially continuing for years.
However, the quake was unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, she said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault was far away.
„These earthquakes are related,” Ms Jones said, adding that the new quake probably ruptured along about 25 miles of fault line and was part of a continuing sequence.
Governor Gavin Newsom activated the state Office of Emergency Services operations centre „to its highest level” and announced he had requested president Donald Trump issue an emergency declaration so the state could receive federal aid.
The city of Los Angeles is planning to reduce the threshold for public notifications by its earthquake early warning app, but officials say it was in the works before southern California’s initial earthquake on Thursday.
The ShakeAlert LA app was designed to notify users of magnitudes of 5.0 or greater and when a separate intensity scale predicts potentially damaging shaking.
Robert de Groot of the US Geological Survey says lowering the magnitude to 4.5 was already being worked on and had been discussed with LA as recently as Wednesday.
Additional reporting by AP
Temperatures peaked at 32.22 Celsius (90F) on 4 July at an airport in Anchorage, the state’s largest city.
National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Clay said Anchorage’s average high temperature for US Independence Day is 23.89C (75F).
Other local records were set across southern Alaska and come after five weeks of above average temperatures.
Shawn King, who has lived his entire life in Anchorage, said he had never seen a stretch of similar hot weather.
The 31-year-old used the occasion to take his daughter, Tessa, fishing for the first time on the dock of Jewel Lake.
She insisted on going barefoot.
„It’s too hot for shoes,” the four-year-old said.
While tourists have been caught out after being told to expect cooler temperatures. Judy Zickmund, who arrived in Anchorage on a cruise, said: „We didn’t pack clothes for it”.
Three other Alaska locations, Kenai, Palmer and King Salmon, set or tied all-time high temperature records.
However the statewide record of 37.8C (100F), was set at Fort Yukon in the state’s north east region over a century ago.
Meteorologists say a „heat dome” over the state is responsible for the latest heatwave, and is set to continue for days as the system moves north.
Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska said these exceptionally warm weather events will only become more frequent because of the loss of sea ice and warming in the Arctic Ocean.
„These kinds of extreme weather events become much more likely in a warming world,” Thoman said. „Surface temperatures are above normal everywhere around Alaska. The entire Gulf of Alaska, in the Bering Sea, in the Chukchi Sea south of the ice edge, exceptionally warm waters, warmest on record, and of course record-low sea ice extent for this time of year off the north and northwest coasts of the state.”
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted Friday to add Iran’s Hyrcanian forests to its World Heritage List, praising the area for its „remarkable” biodiversity.
The ancient Hyrcanian forests in northern Iran run 530 miles (850 kilometres) along the coast of the Caspian Sea, according to the global body.
„Their floristic biodiversity is remarkable,” UNESCO said, with some 44 percent of Iran’s known vascular plants found in the Hyrcanian area.
The forests, which date back up to 50 million years, are also home to the Persian leopard and nearly 60 other mammal species, as well as 160 bird species.
They were just one of two natural sites added to the UNESCO list on Friday, the other in China, when the World Heritage Committee met in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku.
Iran’s only other natural site listed by UNESCO is the Lut Desert in the country’s southwest, which gained the status three years ago.
The Islamic republic also has 22 cultural sites on the World Heritage List, including the jewel of the first Persian empire Persepolis.
Extreme weather has taken its toll on America’s heartland.
“We’re used to hurricanes causing a lot of damage. Not used to this much damage from flooding rains in the heartland. And combined with the tornadoes, it’s certainly been a very destructive spring into the summer,” AccuWeather founder and CEO Dr. Joel Myers told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.
In April, AccuWeather predicted the total damage from storms would top $12.5 billion, now it looks like their prediction is coming true.
“Leading that was the loss of the corn and soybean crop; in the case of corn, a couple of billion dollars compared to what the crop production’s ultimately going to be… and probably $5 or $6 billion in soybeans,” said Myers. “The rest of the $12.5 billion is made up of damage to homes and cars and the roads that were washed out, the bridges, the loss to businesses. And so it really has been a terrible spring in many parts of the Midwest.”
Corn (C=F) production has taken a dive this year as wet weather has slowed down planting. In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its estimate for 2019 corn-production to 13.7 billion bushels. That’s the lowest level in four years
A silver lining
There has been one positive from all this wet weather, it’s alleviating the drought.
Across the country there is very little drought left, said Myers, “There’s always a silver lining if you look at the longer term because in some parts of the country the aquifers were depleted, were declining, and this has certainly helped.”
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, just over 3% of the continental U.S. is in a condition of drought as of July 2, a huge drop from the nearly 30% at the same time last year.
“When you look at the drought map of the United States a couple years ago and you look at it today, there’s been a dramatic change,” he said.
So how much of this is due to climate change?
“There’s always been extremes of weather, and there continues to be. The relation to climate change is still being debated, so it’s certainly not clear cut, and we have to put it in context,” said Myers. “Weather is changes that occur over a period of years. Climate usually is thought of more than 30 years. In between, there’s a transition.”
Myers references California, where the weather is “volatile.” The state had 10 years of drought then two years of excessive rain, he said, adding that over a 12-year period it averaged out to about normal.
“There’s more volatility in certain parts of the country. But in the end, if you take a 30-year period, normally those averages are pretty much the same with any past 30-year period,” he said.
Kenneth Underwood is a senior producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter@TheKennyU.
Strong storms, heavy rain threaten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
People will be dodging raindrops across much of the East Coast for the first half of the weekend.
Showers and thunderstorms will pop up throughout the early afternoon Saturday in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Storms are expected to become more robust in the Northeast in the evening hours as the cold front passes through. Damaging winds and possibly some small hail, especially in coastal Maine and southern New Hampshire, are possible.
General rainfall totals from Saturday’s frontal passage will amount to about 1 inch. However, some areas could see locally heavy downpours resulting in rainfall totals close to 2 inches within a few hours. This could trigger flash flooding from central Ohio through the Appalachian Mountains and into coastal New England.
As a stationary boundary creeps through the mountain west Saturday evening it will produce showers and thunderstorms. There is the potential for some storms to be severe in Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Saturday’s severe threats are large hail and damaging wind gusts with a few tornadoes also possible. Heavy downpours will also be associated with the storms.
The combination of high temperatures coupled with very moist air is bringing the heat index value near 100 for much of the Southeast and into the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. This can be considered dangerously hot for people with health problems or without access to air conditioning.
A heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Central time for Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. An excessive heat warning is in effect for the Philadelphia area until 7 p.m. Eastern time.
Explosion at Plantation, Florida, shopping center leaves 23 people injured: ‘It just looks like an apocalypse’
Roy Ramos@RRamosWPLG.@DavieFireRescue Responding to gas explosion near south university Dr. and Peters Road. Gathering more information now. @WPLGLocal10(MORE: 1 dead, 17 injured from fiery explosion in Durham, North Carolina: Officials)„I was afraid,” Villa said. „I thought it was a terrorist attack at the beginning.”But Villa said he’s grateful he escaped without a scratch.”It was so close … I am blessed,” he said. „I cannot believe nothing happened to me.”One witness told ABC Miami affiliate WPLG that a huge flash of light „lit up the whole sky.””It was loud,” the witness said. „This surpassed fireworks … your ears were ringing.”It just looks like an apocalypse,” she added.All businesses in the area are shut down until fire crews deem it safe to return, Plantation police said.Rescue crews and dogs searched the rubble and did not find any trapped victims, officials said.ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos, Victor Oquendo, Scott Withers, Jason Volack and Caroline Hartshorn contributed to this report.
Bahamas Americans Killed
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — The Latest on a helicopter crash that killed seven people in the Bahamas (all times local):
One of the victims of the helicopter crash that killed seven people in the Bahamas was 22-year-old Delaney Wykle.
Her mother, Paula Wykle, says her daughter had just passed her nursing boards on Tuesday before traveling to the Bahamas to be with her childhood best friend, Kameron Cline. Wykle says that when one of the party got sick and needed to be transported back to the mainland, Delaney Wykle wanted to be there to help.
Wykle says her daughter was „smart, loving, and one of the best friends anyone could ever ask for.” She had just graduated from West Virginia University with a nursing degree and was planning to start work in August.
Kameron Cline is the daughter of billionaire Chris Cline. Both were also killed in the crash of the Augusta AW139 helicopter that was en route Thursday from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
One of the victims of the helicopter crash that killed West Virginia coal magnate Chris Cline has been identified as Brittney Layne Searson.
The 21-year-old Searson was a friend of Cline’s daughter, Kameron, who also died in the crash off Grand Cay Island.
The Searson family issued a statement Saturday asking for privacy and expressing how their hearts have been „shattered at the loss of our beautiful daughter.” She had just graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in kinesiology.
She is survived by her mother, Kimberly; her father, Wayne; and a brother, Shane.
All seven people aboard the Augusta AW139 helicopter were killed when it crashed Thursday en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A former teacher of two young women who died in a helicopter crash off the Bahamas described them as inseparable friends and caring and humble students.
Steven Anderson is a social studies teacher at The Benjamin School, a prep school with campuses in south Florida. He said in a statement Friday that 22-year-old Kameron Cline and 21-year-old Brittney Searson were excellent students who „lit up the room.”
Cline was the daughter of West Virginia coal magnate Chris Cline, who was also one of the seven U.S. citizens who died when the Augusta AW139 helicopter they were aboard crashed Thursday en route from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The school also provided notes the girls published to each other in their yearbooks, including one in which Searson said to Cline that she couldn’t wait „to take on the rest of our lives together.”
Searson’s mother declined comment when reached by phone Friday.
A spokesman for the attorney of Chris Cline is confirming that the billionaire coal entrepreneur and his daughter were among the seven Americans killed in a helicopter crash in the Bahamas.
Joe Carey is a spokesman for Cline’s lawyer in West Virginia, Brian Glasser. He says Cline and his 22-year-old daughter Kameron were on board the aircraft when it went down.
Authorities in the Bahamas have recovered seven bodies from the helicopter that crashed as it traveled from the island to Fort Lauderdale.
Cline worked his way up from West Virginia’s underground mines to become one of the country’s top coal producers and amass a $1.8 billion fortune.
He donated extensively to President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians.
Leaders of industry, government and academics in West Virginia are describing billionaire Chris Cline as a coal industry visionary and a generous giver.
Police in the Bahamas tell The Associated Press they were told to look for a missing helicopter carrying Cline and six other Americans. The bodies of seven people have since been recovered from the downed helicopter, and authorities are working to identify them.
Cline grew up dirt-poor and worked his way up from the state’s underground mines to become a billionaire, with a Florida mansion and his own island chain in the Bahamas.
West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney described him as „a very farsighted entrepreneur” with a „Midas touch.”
Forbes estimated his fortune at $1.8 billion this year. Cline donated heavily to President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Federal records show he gave the president’s inaugural committee $1 million in 2017 and spread thousands more to conservative groups as well as committees representing prominent Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
He also gave at least $8.5 million to Marshall University.
(MORE: Explosions rock refinery in Philadelphia; no injuries reported)The building suffered major damage to its south side and center, while Nye Hall next door had windows blown out, KOLO reported.Video taken at the time of the explosion showed smoke billowing out of the building.PHOTO: Authorities are responding to reports of a utility explosion on the campus of Reno University of Nevada Reno. (@WxExtreme WeatherExtreme) The explosion seemed to come from the building’s boiler room, where technicians were doing work, Reno city spokesman John Humbert told ABC News.The blast has initially been classified as a utilities accident, Humbert said.(MORE: Photos capture huge explosion as remaining sections of Genoa bridge are demolished)Officials with the university’s police services announced on social media that all remaining Friday classes on the school’s main campus had been canceled.