Mother Nature delivered a one-two punch to Southern California on Sunday when an earthquake in Ventura County triggered widespread tremors on the same day that the region was drenched by its first tropical storm in decades.
The magnitude 5.1 earthquake at 2:41 p.m. jolted Southern Californians who were already preparing for the remnants of Hurricane Hilary, which had already brought hours of steady rain during the region’s driest month. At least a dozen magnitude 3.0 or greater aftershocks occurred.
The earthquake’s epicenter was approximately four miles southeast of Ojai and about eighty miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The tremor was felt in Ventura, Camarillo, Oxnard, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, portions of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Malibu, Porter Ranch, Manhattan Beach, and other areas.
At the Tres Hermanas restaurant in Ojai, security camera footage captured images and the jarring sound of the building shaking. There were no immediate reports of significant damage.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department conducted an aerial survey and found no damage to Lake Casitas Dam, Matilija Dam, or the city of Ojai.
In Los Angeles, the city fire department entered Earthquake Operation mode, with all 106 fire stations conducting damage assessments.
“This location is interesting to have it there,” said seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. “This is the first time we’ve had a 5 since 1932 in exactly this location, and even within the Ventura basin.”
In 1941, a magnitude-5.1 earthquake was reported west of Sunday’s earthquake, according to Jones. Some aftershocks of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake occurred east of the location.
Jones stated that additional aftershocks are likely in the days ahead.
Dual Disasters Unfold in Southern California: Tropical Storm and Earthquake Alarm
At the same time that the earthquake occurred, a tropical storm hit the Los Angeles area for the first time in decades. Southern California is under a tropical storm warning for the first time, and most of Los Angeles County is under a flash flood warning, with rain expected through Sunday night.
No tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California since September 25, 1939, when a system lost its hurricane status before making landfall in Long Beach. The results were catastrophic.
On Sunday, millions of Southern Californians received back-to-back urgent emergency alerts on their phones, the first indicating a flash flood warning and the second a Ventura County earthquake warning.
Source: NBC Los Angeles