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Major 6.1 earthquake hits Napa Valley destroys wineries and historic buildings

Los Angeles residents woke up this morning, Sunday, August 24, to a familiar chant; a 6.1 earthquake struck the Napa Valley. The news came from friends from Northern California, TVs, radios, and online sites and it send shock waves through many. While common in Los Angeles, earthquakes are rare in the Napa Valley area where the last tremor took place 25 years ago—a 6.9 magnitude shaker located in Loma Prieta.

The site of destruction is declared state of emergency by Gov. Brown
The site of destruction is declared state of emergency by Gov. Brown
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Destruction in the Bay area
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

According to Google, geological sites and news sources such as CBS SF Bay Area, the quake, which occurred at 3:20 a.m., was felt in the entire Bay Area early this morning caused so much devastation that California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

There have been nearly 89 reported injuries that included one heart attack and a few bone fractures, so far. The quake also cause severe damage to historic buildings such as the Sam Kee Laundry, Goodman Library and the Napa County Courthouse and ruptured gas lines and water mains across Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties leading to multiple fires. Many communities are experiencing electric outages. The quake also caused buckling and cracking roadways on Highway 37 and State Routes 12 and 121.

A mobile home park plus dozens of wineries were affected (along with many bottles of wine that broke). There are fires burning around Napa and due to a long drought in California not enough water to put them out.

A story on USA Today online rang familiar to Los Angeles residents who have lived through a few massive earthquakes. The article reported an interview with a Napa local, Douglas Edwards, who was awakened by the quake and said, "It was shaking so hard I was barely able to get myself and my daughter out; when I stood up, the floor moved so much, I fell back down again. I ran outside and you could see the transformers exploding in the sky. It was just flash, flash, flash."

The Napa quake was an eerie reminder of the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake that shook up the Los Angeles area on January 17, 1994, at 04:31 a.m.