Southern California took a one-two from Mother Nature. On the same day that Southern California was pounded by its first tropical storm in decades, an earthquake in Ventura County sent shockwaves throughout the area.
Southern Californians were caught off guard by the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit at 2:41 p.m. on October 31, just as they were bracing for the remnants of Hurricane Hilary, which had already dropped hours of torrential rain to the region during its driest month of the year. At least a dozen aftershocks with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher were felt.
The epicenter of the quake was located around 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, or more specifically, about four miles southeast of Ojai.
Ventura, Camarillo, Oxnard, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, Malibu, Porter Ranch, and Manhattan Beach were all reportedly shaken.
The Tres Hermanas restaurant in Ojai was recorded violently shaking on a surveillance camera. Located about 12 miles north of Ventura, the picturesque town of Ojai is home to a thriving downtown village area with art galleries, boutiques, and pubs.
There were no reports of serious damage right away. The city of Ojai and the dams at Lake Casitas and Matilija were surveyed from the air by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, who found no damage.
All 106 of Los Angeles’s fire stations went into Earthquake Operation mode to assess the damage after the quake.
“This location is interesting to have it there,” said Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist. A magnitude five has not been recorded in this area, or even in the Ventura basin, since 1932.
According to Jones, a quake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale occurred to the west of Sunday’s epicenter in 1941. It was in this general area that some tremors from the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 were felt.
At the same time as the earthquake, the Los Angeles area was pounded by a tropical cyclone, the first one in decades. Rain is forecast to continue into Sunday night in Southern California, where a tropical storm warning has been issued for the first time. Much of Los Angeles County is also under a flash flood warning.
Since September 25, 1939, when a system lost its hurricane strength shortly before making landfall in Long Beach, no tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California. The end effect was disastrous.
Millions of people in Southern California were issued simultaneous emergency notifications on their phones on Sunday, the first for a flash flood warning and the second for an earthquake in Ventura County.