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Friday's Earthquake Even Bigger Than The 6.4 Quake Just A Day Before In Southern California; State Of Emergency Declared In Kern County. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 6, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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DIONISIO MITCHELL, BATTALION CHIEF, KERN COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: They did not report any significant structural damage from the air but that's from the air. As soon as we start getting ahead of the calls with house editions (ph) and utilities and life safety issues we may have, we'll start transitioning to doing an organized search of the city grid, looking for structural damage of that nature.
We do have our USARs and rescue task force in place for that kind of need along with mutual aid that is being sent this way. Currently we have the city broken up into two branches and we're breaking out the city into the north and south branch and addressing issues from that nature.
At this point, we're starting to catch up with the hazardous condition calls and an abundance of calls to 9-1-1. We'll start transitioning at that point to the overnight search and assessing for structural damage.
On top of that, the EOC, Emergency Operation Center, is open. So we are in command with our OES personnel and also our command staff from the county side.
As far as other operations, we do have people coming to work back from the stations. And at the current moment we have adequate staffing and personnel, addressing issues of Ridgecrest City. We have been experiencing some aftershocks. Nothing new reported.
But currently we're waiting to stand by for that and waiting to transition to the structural grid search. That's all we have at this point. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Chief Mitchell.
Now we'd like to give our attention to a subject matter expert. We have Ken Hudnut here from USGS to speak with us.
KEN HUDNUT, USGS: I want to say first of all thanks to the Navy base for allowing us access there today and also for the city for their support here. The mayor, chief of police. We had just had briefings as we came out of the field today, we being myself and Janis Hernandez from the California Geological Survey.
With support from the California Highway Patrol, we were able to do aerial reconnaissance for what we call the surface fault rupture. When an earthquake happens, our center network picks that up and, of course, we automatically locate and get that information out to everybody immediately.
We also then follow that up and in larger earthquakes like the 6.4 and now the 7.1, we look for fault surface rupture. This is how we confirm which fault the earthquake occurred on. So we'll see a pattern of aftershocks and have a hunch which fault that's on but until we get eyes on it, that's when we confirm.
So today we were out by air and also on the ground, looking for surface fault rupture on a previously mapped fault. We did find fault surface rupture both out of the base on Highway 178, where you had seen images from last night, and also that rupture continues -- from that point on Highway 178, it also continues to the northeast and to the southwest.
This is a somewhat atypical type of earthquake in Southern California. We've seen these before, though. These are on what we call these are on what we call crossfaults. They're against the grain of the main San Andreas fault system.
The San Andreas fault is running from northwest to southeast through the state like a big diagonal cut. And against it, perpendicular to it are this other set of faults in some places and we call those crossfaults.
What's typical is to have your bigger earthquakes on the faults that are oriented like the San Andreas fault, that are moving right laterally. What's less typical is a crossfault rupture that is left lateral. So when the 6.4 occurred, that rupture was on a cross fault as well as a portion of the main fault and now the 7.1 is on the main fault.
We've seen that main shock is northwest of that intersection. So we know rupture went towards the northwest. It also went towards the southeast. Our geologists have been out in the field this evening and confirmed fault surface rupture farther to the east on 178.
So we know that that fault broke where we're seeing the aftershocks along it. Tomorrow we're hoping to get in the air again to do reconnaissance and look for surface faulting associated with the new main shock, the 7.1. That's about it. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Mr. Hudnut. Now we would like to turn our attention to the city of Ridgecrest, Mayor Breeden.
MAYOR PEGGY BREEDEN, RIDGECREST: Thank you all for coming. I would like to say a few words to our own citizens. Many of them have experienced something that is very traumatic, somewhat unknown --
BREEDEN: -- to most of them and many of them are sleeping outside tonight.
I know that it is a difficult situation but they're fearful to be in their homes and we are offering any services as noted earlier. We have places for people to shelter here but many are choosing to just be with their neighbors, both in their sidewalks and in their driveways and some of them are in the streets.
We're asking everyone to drive safely, be careful. Look, watch for these people and understand that we are doing the very best we can. It is not an impossible task to take care of all this. But it is going to be a longer task than we thought the other day.
So I thank you all for coming. I appreciate the consideration that you're going to give to the citizens of our community. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mayor Breeden. We also have with us today Kern County 1st District supervisor Mick Gleason, who will be able to speak with us well.
MICK GLEASON, KERN COUNTY 1ST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: Thanks. Thank you all for being here. Special thanks to the first responders, all of them that have performed so brilliantly in the past day or two. It's been a phenomenal experience to watch these guys and gals get together and work together and with such dedication and such devotion to helping this community out.
I had a lot of conversations in the past couple of days. I've talked with the White House. I've talked with Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris. I've talked with the governor. Everybody is fully engaged in what we're doing and understands our situation and is trying to give us as much support as they possibly can.
I toured the base today in the city with Congressman McCarthy, who is fully engaged, Senator Grove and Senator Fong (ph). So everybody is engaged and we're all over this thing. We're looking forward to its rapid conclusion. As soon as Mother Nature stops hounding us, I guess we'll put this to bed. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Supervisor Gleason. And as he mentioned, we have representatives here as well from Senator Shannon Grove's office. We have representatives here from Bakersfield City Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
So there are many resources that are pouring in to help this community. So at this time, we would like to go ahead and open it up to questions briefly before we go to the breakout on the one-on-ones.
QUESTION: What are we calling the epicenter?
We were on 171 when the quake hit. We had just passed a fissure. We felt the ground move. We went about eight miles east and we were about (INAUDIBLE) to the town of Trona. And if the ground shook, the hills came alive.
Were we on the epicenter?
Will we know where the epicenter is?
There were geologists out there. They were analyzing that first fissure and then the ground broke where we are driving.
Is that a new fault?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) but in essence, where was the epicenter?
Is that something we can state officially that we know at this point?
Yes, let's go ahead and do that then.
HUDNUT: Ken Hudnut, U.S. Geological Survey. The information about the epicenters gets updated continuously, so people are checking the automated locations and that gets updated through time.
And also you notice the magnitudes bounce around just a little. So that's just normal. So the epicenter of the main shock, when I was doing this before, the 6.4, where it intersects the northwest- southeast oriented fault, the epicenter of the main shock is just about here. It's in a remote part of the base. I don't have any place name to give it a name right now. We're not going to call the name of the fault that it's on until we get eyes on that, hopefully tomorrow. We'll confirm which fault ruptured.
As to information source, CalTech is the definitive Southern California seismic network operator and U.S. Geological Survey works in partnership with them in Pasadena. The Pasadena. The website you want is scsn.org, Southern California Seismic Network.org.
Also earthquakes.usgs.gov. So those maps allow you to interact, zoom in, zoom out put satellite imagery, topo, you know, and you can get all the information right there.
QUESTION: And for all the people listening tonight in front of their homes or in their homes, what reasonably can they expect in the way of seismic activity over the next 12 to 18 hours?
QUESTION: What should they be suspect expecting, anticipating or be concerned about in that time?
HUDNUT: I'm going give a quick sketch of the basics but also point you in the direction of the official USGS aftershock forecast. If you search on that, you'll find it for details.
But basically, for a 7.1, people should be expecting at least one 6.1 magnitude or higher and at least 10 5.1 magnitude or higher. And you've been feeling them roll through. We're getting plenty. I don't know the stats on how that breaks down as to how it matches up with expectation.
But we'll be also adjusting the official aftershock forecast as we go through this. QUESTION: Chief, if you would, based on the information you just got from USGS, what would you advise people to do and prepare in their homes and what they're doing to get through this next period, with all these shocks that probably will be coming in the next 12 to 18 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So the question that has been posed is, what is the safety message for the residents of Ridgecrest?
What should they be preparing to do?
JED MCLAUGHLIN, RIDGECREST POLICE CHIEF: Well, obviously, there are concerns. Children, small children obviously are frightened with these. So making sure that they're safe. I would probably start taking some stuff off of the walls if it's not already down. In high places, make sure that you're not sleeping under something that is still hung up.
And we can't forget about the pets. The pets are extremely nervous during this timeframe. And then make sure that you have plenty of supplies when the stores are open and things like that. Make sure that you're stocking up just in case that we have something bigger than we had today.
And it's, you know, stuff starts crumbling and these stores can't get back open, we need to make sure that -- and if we can't get to you right away, you have to be able to take care of yourself for a period of time.
So I know that we all preach that we need to be prepared and I know it's difficult. We always say we will. But now is the time. So prepare yourself, especially for the next, I would say, week, two weeks. This isn't going to stop in the near future as we know.
The aftershocks, they haven't slowed down since the 7.1. There for a period of time, it seemed like it just kept -- there was a constant vibration. So be prepared.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) we were on our way to Trona and people told us that they had little water, that their tank was not filling up for the city and they only had a day worth of water for their children, for themselves. Now that road there that we were on is buckled, it's shut down.
How are they going to get water?
What are they going to do (INAUDIBLE)?
Some of them don't even have power (INAUDIBLE).
MCLAUGHLIN: Actually, we had just put out on Facebook, we were currently working that issue, trying to help them. It is a different county. But they are our neighbors and we care about them. Many of our men and women work out there. So we do care. There is a stack of water sitting over there that people have donated
that we can't get to them now. So it is an issue. We can't get there, obviously. I do know that they have crews en route. I can't speak a lot about what's going on there, because I don't know.
I do know they have help en route and let's hope they get the help that they need. And obviously, we would provide what we can. But right now our concern is here.
QUESTION: Chief, I don't know if this would be best addressed to the fire chief or the supervisor. If both of you can step forward for a minute.
Do you have any kind of a clue or timetable on what we might expect for additional resources from the state of California or from supervisors form Washington, perhaps FEMA, or anything else?
Have you been apprised of any kind of a timeline?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the question that has been posed, is there a timeline and what is expected to be received by way of resources from neighboring jurisdictions as well as further jurisdictions, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to comment on that?
MITCHELL: So to answer your question, sir, our chief reached out almost immediately once that 7.1 happened. So (INAUDIBLE) involved with that request and we had at least (INAUDIBLE) from Region 5, Region 6, Fresno, L.A. County, L.A. City and Orange County are all sending us (INAUDIBLE) task force engines. We already have people here on scene from that county --
MITCHELL: -- that is currently taking place. We do have more coming, I would say within the next couple of hours, we should expect mass quantities of those people being here.
But we've already received outside help almost immediately. And they're already here and they're already in the form of getting ready to complete that grid search I was talking to you about from earlier.
So as far as the fire side of things and mutual aid and support from the state, we have an abundance of people coming. We currently have a lot of staffing in Ridgecrest ready, prepared and we're just standing by, waiting to address those issues.
QUESTION: In terms of resources, we spoke with county officials earlier today in Kern County. They were talking about how you guys really assess when your resources are going to run out and that's when you guys tap into that mutual aid program.
So if you could maybe bring in for our viewers in Bakersfield right now in terms of what your resources are looking like, what are people going to expect for the next 24 hours.
MITCHELL: As far as the staffing levels and things like that, as I stated, it's almost immediately following the 7.1, essentially our entire battalion on the desert side was engaged on that. So we had engines already engaged from that. Our chief had already made the phone calls to OES to get that started from outside resources, mutual aid.
And then our department, Kern County Fire Department has already started staffing our stations and callback procedures. So already immediately we've had stuff already filled, backfilled and ready for the current mission we have going on.
So due to fast actions on part of our command staff, the chief and also our mutual aid entities behind us, we're adequately prepared. It does have to do with the fact we just had a major quake earlier. So we actually had resources nearby as a result. So we're ready to go on staff.
QUESTION: So food, water, the essentials that the evacuees have been talking about being back here for them?
MITCHELL: Yes, that stuff has trailed in, like the chief has stated. We do already have stuff here. But as the incident is progressing and as things digress and get bigger, our primary focus right now is Ridgecrest. That's where our focus is right now.
As soon as we start addressing that, we start branching out and start to identify those secondary resources that may need assistance. So as far as logistical needs like water, ice, food, stuff like that, that is happening. It's being set up. But right now our focus is in Ridgecrest (INAUDIBLE) population here.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) there may be an evacuation out of Trona?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hold off on that for one moment. The chief of the Ridgecrest Police Department has something that he would like to interject here real quick.
MCLAUGHLIN: As far as resources go for -- on the law enforcement side, we were already staffed. We had a large presence already with the Kern County Sheriff's Department and California City PD. They were here. So we were -- we were at a level that we felt comfortable with.
And, however, when the quake happened, Bakersfield PD immediately sent a team, as well as California City sent additional officers. And then the Kern County Sheriff's Department had a wave come in as well. So law enforcement was -- we are -- we're sufficient right now and now it's preparing for the future.
What was your other question?
QUESTION: We're hearing that there may be an ammonia leak. We're hearing that there may be an ammonia leak near Trona from some people who were in contact with there. They say they've been evacuated. They're on the side of the road because there may be an ammonia leak.
GLEASON: I have not heard that yet. So your information is probably more updated than mine.
MCLAUGHLIN: (INAUDIBLE) mobile home park fire earlier.
What kind of damage was done?
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. I have not been out there.
GLEASON: I have.
MCLAUGHLIN: Mick has been out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we have a question about the actual specifics of damage that may have occurred in one of the residential areas here in Ridgecrest. To speak on that, we'll have the battalion chief from Kern County.
MITCHELL: Yes, ma'am. So as far as the structure fire that we had, we actually had units that were en route due to a hazardous condition but one of our officers reported a heavy smoke column. They diverted to that; we had a working fire. They got on it quickly.
Normally we're looking at a five-engine response. But due to the nature of the mass calls we had going on, we actually diverted two engines to it. Had units on scene, aggressive fire tapped on it. Got knocked on it quickly. We were able to confirm that people inside were OK and we had all accounted for. There were no injuries.
They were able to protect exposures right by it as well. So as a result, they kept it to --
MITCHELL: -- the building of origin. So instances with structural fires, it was -- damage was held to the building of origin. No reported injuries, civilian or fire side.
QUESTION: What about the base?
Are there any --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we have a question about the base and we don't have a representative here from the base. We wouldn't be able to speak on actually what's occurring on the base. At this time, though, we are going to conclude the press conference. All the individuals here will be available for one-on-one breakouts.
So feel free to go ahead and speak to them on whatever individual questions you may have.
At this point, we don't have another exact time planned for the next press conference but we will notify through social media. We will let out a press release as soon as we identify when the next press conference will be held. Thank you for your time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You've just been hearing from the emergency services, law enforcement services and fire department, both on a county level and on a state level before that.
And before we go to our correspondents on the ground in Ridgecrest, I want to sum up what they've been saying.
It looks like first of all the best piece of news all day in this earthquake situation is that there are no reported fatalities. Nobody has died from this earthquake.
A reminder, 7.1 magnitude earthquake felt shortly after 8:00 pm local time in California. It is now -- that was about four hours ago, as it is now shortly after midnight local time in California. So no fatalities.
However, there were some injuries. We don't have an exact number from those officials who were just speaking. We're just told there were some injuries, particularly in Ridgecrest and I am assuming in surrounding areas.
And there were many, many calls about gas leaks. We know and we've been told from the beginning that this is always a danger in these earthquakes, ruptured gas systems, ruptured gas lines. Now that was the priority for emergencies.
They worked on two reported structure fires. We understand that those have now been put out, that the gas leaks, when those were reported -- and there were numerous phone calms, that those gas lines were shut off. The authorities said they're still answers emergency calls.
But as those begin to die down as they have already, then during the night, emergency services will start looking for structural damage across Ridgecrest and surrounding areas. So that's where we stand so far.
I want to go to our correspondents on the ground now. Alex Field is in Ridgecrest. She has been there for more than 24 hours. She experienced the aftershocks after Thursday's earthquake and she experienced this big one here now, the main event. It's after midnight now.
Give us the lay of the land, Alex.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are not hearing the volume of sirens that we were hearing earlier in the night. There does seem to be a slowdown in response to emergency calls. I would think at this point people have a better handle on their surroundings. They may have determined at this point the safety of their friends and family members.
There are the structural concerns. It's going to take daylight to get a better handle on that. And there was the major concern about the gas leaks that was something that we could smell almost in the immediate aftermath as we made our way around the neighborhood here. We saw that heavy black smoke and then you could smell some natural gas.
We pushed back to this hospital where we've been positioned for a lot of the evening. They did have this triage center set up here. No reported fatalities at this point. But yes, like you say, we know there are some injuries. We don't know the extent of injuries at this point.
What we do know is that people are left really badly shaken by this. I can attest to that personally. This was an experience that very much rattles you in every way. It really resonated with me to hear the mayor speaking a little earlier about the fear that people have this evening, the fact that so many people will go ahead and sleep out outside of their homes tonight. They will sleep in their lawns or on the sides of the street.
She was urging people out in their cars to be mindful because there are so many people that do not feel safe to step into their homes. I want to bring in our colleague, Paul Vercammen. He has been out. He has been driving around. He is a veteran of these earthquakes.
First of all, Paul, we've talked about it a little bit. This was the biggest one I've experienced.
How did this compare to you for others that you've covered?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've covered a lot of earthquakes in California. I covered the Northridge earthquake, 6.7. But of course, in an urban center in Reseda. On a personal level, I had transferred from the New York bureau. I was living in temporary housing.
The television went hurtling across the room. Glass shattered everywhere but was safe and sound. So went into reporting mode and Northridge was marked immediately by what we saw --
VERCAMMEN: -- a little bit of tonight and that's those gas fires.
You get a gas main in that case that ruptured and all of Ventura Boulevard in some parts of Los Angeles on fire. Massive damage, calamitous garage collapses, building collapses, 57 officially dead, almost 9,000 wounded.
Now let's take a deep breath here. This was absolutely nerve-racking for all of us to be through this, that 7.1. It was stronger in a way. In this instance, I was outside. We were in my car. We went to the middle of the street. We were trying to avoid power lines. The (INAUDIBLE) was also on the other side of this camera. I should note he's covered lots of quakes. Instinctively, to his credit, he drove to the middle of the street.
FIELD: So given what we felt here, given the intensity of it, now that you've had a chance to take a look around, does the damage meet what you expected after feeling what you felt?
VERCAMMEN: No. I feel this tremendous sense of relief. This is of no solace to somebody who might have lost their home. But we did not see mass casualties as we drove through the checkerboard of light, these neighborhoods in Ridgecrest.
This sits in a high desert valley. We did not see something that we witnessed in other earthquakes, where you have unreinforced brick masonry buildings and you see a lot of that come tumbling down. Of course, California has been extremely aggressive in its quest to have buildings retrofit.
So because a lot of the new buildings seem to be newer, more flat, no high-rises, we didn't see anything that would happen in an urban center, where you might have people injured from glass falling from a 10-story. That just doesn't exist here in Ridgecrest. I think the population is about 27,000.
Now let's talk a little bit just for a second about what we did see. We saw that immense fire, not far from here. Black smoke going up. We actually were just wrapping up. We went over there. The firefighters hadn't even arrived.
The suspicion it's another one of those -- we call it a one-two punch. Somewhere in the water heater, in the garage perhaps, you get a rupture and a gas-related fire starts.
FIELD: That is what we're hearing from officials, that the gas- related fires are certainly something to be concerned about. Paul, thank you for your perspective, what you saw tonight.
Cyril, I think at this point Paul does give us a very good sense of what he's seeing out there. We do know from officials that it will take daylight to get their arms around this entirely.
But really, the message that we heard here, even after the 6.4 quake on Thursday, was that, overall, they felt that the community had fared better from that one than you might have expected in a more populated area. We're going to have to wait to hear from them, how they see the community as having fared after this one, that 7.1 much more powerful.
VANIER: Yes, and, Alex, I'll just say this. You've got more aftershocks coming your way, I'm afraid. The USGS was asked, after this earthquake, what should people expect and he said for what you experienced, a 7.1 or higher, expect at least a 6.1 magnitude in the following 12-18 hours.
So stay safe. Do brace yourselves for that. Make sure you're taking all the safety precautions. Alex, thank you. You're doing a fantastic job. So is Paul. We'll speak to both of you again and take a short break for now.
VANIER: Our continuing coverage of the earthquake in Ridgecrest, California, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake felt shortly after 8:00 pm local time on Friday.
Joining me now is Jessica Weston from Ridgecrest. She is at the epicenter. She has been going through the Thursday quake, the Friday quake, all the tremors in between. She is the city editor for "The Daily Independent" in Ridgecrest.
Jessica, you've been an absolute trooper. Thank you so much for spending part of your evening with us. And what an evening it has been.
JESSICA WESTON, EDITOR, "THE DAILY INDEPENDENT": Yes.
I know it's shortly after midnight. Tell us what is going on.
WESTON: OK, there was just an aftershock a minute ago, right before I came on. Other than that it's pretty quiet.
VANIER: How strong was it?
WESTON: Not that strong.
VANIER: You know, I was listening to the USGS officials give their update, during their latest update. They were feeling the aftershocks as they were speaking and you can hear the alarms go off where they were.
VANIER: Help us understand how frequent it is and what it feels like on the ground.
WESTON: It's fairly frequent. Obviously, especially since the big one hit this evening, it just feels like a tiny little earthquake. If you have ever felt an earthquake, that's what an aftershock feels like.
The distinguishing thing about the really bad ones is they seem more severe and they go on longer. Usually with a mild earthquake, by the time you even register that an earthquake is even happening and maybe stand up, it's over.
With the bad ones, obviously, it's worse than that. But the aftershocks are kind of mild. But everybody is on edge obviously because as soon as you feel that little rumble. I notice you usually hear a rattling of first. Of course, we're all wondering is this another big one. Do I need to duck under the desk or whatever.
VANIER: Help us understand that feeling, because I spoke to you earlier. I think I asked you whether you were afraid. You said, no, you were pretty cool, calm and collected about it when the big one hit.
But at the same time, there is always this fear, right?
There is always this tension.
WESTON: Yes, I was actually ironically more relaxed that I've been since the one yesterday, because I was with my mom and we were in her car. And there was kind of a foreshock. And the car just kind of bounced up and down. It kind of rode the wave, you know.
So when the big one hit, we were in her car. And she just pulled over, which perhaps isn't the best thing to do and the car kind of bounces up and down. In my experience, it's the least scary place to be. It's way scarier when you feel the floor pulling out from under you and you wonder what's going to fall on your head.
Or if you're on the second story of a building. But, yes, it was like the car was bouncing up and down.
And then, of course, you're thinking, is this it?
Is this the really bad one?
We were watching people out the window. People literally falling over and hanging on to fire hydrants and stuff like that avoid falling over. And then we kind of thought maybe, wow, maybe this is it.
VANIER: So relatively speaking you're lucky because you still have power. You didn't have a ruptured gas line. Your water is working, correct?
WESTON: I believe so. Yes, yes, it is.
VANIER: I know you're indoors now but have you stepped out to see what it's like in the neighborhood?
WESTON: Yes. I'm actually in my office right now. I live with my mother. We did go by her house. Her house was intact with power. The office where I work, it's just quiet outside. There was actually another news crew out there until a few minutes ago.
But it's quiet. I think everybody is kind of -- they're like scared little animals. They're kind of huddling.
VANIER: Are you planning to go to bed at some point?
VANIER: Or is that off the table right now?
WESTON: I haven't decided. I was actually probably going to sleep in the back of the car, because I feel safer there.
VANIER: Than in your office? WESTON: Yes. Oh, no, I'm not going to sleep in my office, no. The office doesn't seem to take the quakes too bad, either. My mother's house is two stories and it seems to shake, rattle and roll a little bit more than I like.
VANIER: So what you're telling us is -- because it's remarkable. You're very composed about this. But what you're telling us is you'd rather not spend the night in a building, in a structure. You'd rather spend the might in your car.
WESTON: No. The bed that I normally sleep in has a bookcase collapsed on top of it right now.
VANIER: Yes, yes.
WESTON: I had a wall of built-in bookshelves that kind of collapsed on top of my bed. And I've been working pretty much nonstop since this happened. I haven't had a chance to deal with the books. Plus they're going to have to be rebuilt and everything.
So yes, I just threw a couple cushions on the floor and slept on the floor last night. And I'll either do that again or I'll try to sleep outside. You to understand also it's very warm here. It's desert. And people a lot of times sleep outside at night anyway. So that's not as bizarre of a concept. A lot of people here camp and they do weird things like that.
So it's not a completely bizarre concept to the people who live here but, yes, I have no idea.
VANIER: You know, I think the bookshelf example that you just told us about, I think that speaks volumes. And the emergency officials that we just heard, they were asked, what do residents need to do over the coming hours?
They said if they haven't already, make sure you clear all the shelves. Make sure there's nothing that can fall on you, even if it's a picture frame, anything, make sure there is nothing on the walls that can fall.
WESTON: Yes, absolutely. I think most of us are smart enough to not have pictures above our beds. But bookshelves and stuff like that, yes, good idea. Yes.
And, look, there are more aftershocks coming your way. I know that's not news for you. But the USGS officials were asked what happens in the hours after a 7.1 magnitude quake. They said, in the 12 to 16 hours expect a 6.1 magnitude or higher.
WESTON: Yes, that's great news.
VANIER: I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But these were the same people, as they were making the announcement, it was shaking where they were. WESTON: Yes. No, I'm starting to see the benefit of earthquake shelters and stuff like that now. Never thought about it.
VANIER: And so, look, you're also a journalist. I'm on your website right now, "The Daily Independent" in Ridgecrest. How you balancing, I suppose, your editorial need and desire to cover this and then also your need to protect yourself and ride through this?
WESTON: Well, actually, I think for people who have -- for a journalist and jobs like that, it's actually easier. We're used to being in these situations, a little bit in these situations. I was at the fire right after. That also was right where I was at. So I took some pictures of that.
But I photographed fires before. So I just kind of switch into work mode inside of my head. What's difficult is the not being able to switch it off and go home and just go to sleep. We're all on 24/7 alert, especially after this last one.
But I always think that people who have a job to do are luckier when there is a catastrophe because at least we get to be busy and we get to be productive. You know?
Other people sit around and worry and post rumors online and stuff.
VANIER: But as you mentioned, you don't get to just turn it off at the end of the workday, because this is where you live.
VANIER: And the story is -- you're living in the story.
VANIER: Sorry, go ahead.
WESTON: No, I agree, exactly.
VANIER: Tell me about the ceiling behind you. I can see part of it is gone.
WESTON: Yes, the ceiling, there are these tiles and they're falling.
VANIER: Have they stopped falling?
When we spoke about 40-45 minutes ago, recently you had more that collapsed?
WESTON: There was a couple with the quake yesterday, some of them shook loose. But I haven't noticed anything worse since I've been in here --
WESTON: -- or I wouldn't be here. This building, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to shake that much. I don't know if it's the time that it was built. It was, I think -- I think the paper moved in here in 1985. So I don't know if it was constructed with seismology in mind but obviously the ceilings are having some problems.
VANIER: All right, Jessica, Jessica Weston, the city editor for "The Daily Independent," thank you so much. You've been pacing us throughout the evening, telling us what it's been like. Really appreciate your time. Really appreciate your good nature throughout all of this. Jessica, thank you.
WESTON: Thank you.
VANIER: Now meteorologist Karen Maginnis joins us now.
Karen, I know you're pulling together all the data we have, all the strands that we have. A couple of things I'd like you to touch on as you give us the big picture is how this might spread. Because the USGS people were being asked that earlier. They're saying there is potential for this to spread beyond the immediate Ridgecrest area.
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. And that is a curious question. And typically what you can expect is between two and three times the distance extending from the epicenter. Just because this area is very seismically active, there are all these tiny little faults, some of them intersecting, so they're perpendicular.
And that's kind of what we're seeing across this region. They're saying intersecting fault lines. And this particular one, what we have seen is this emanate with a lot of the seismic activity further to the north, near the Naval Weapons Station near China Lake.
And all of these red dots, those are the most recent ones. Those are in the past hour. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these aftershocks. And now some of the foreshocks, we saw a foreshock to the 7.1 magnitude, the epicenter of this earthquake. There was a 5 foreshock. We thought the 6.4 was the earthquake.
And there had been swarms of earthquakes that were taking place before them. But now we know the 6.4 was a foreshock. So what is very curious is that the USGS says there is about a 10 percent chance that, over the next week, we could see another 7.0-plus magnitude earthquake.
That yesterday they were saying, well, we could see about a 5 percent chance, that we could see a 7.0-plus earthquake and we did. Those aren't very high probabilities but now there is an even higher probability that we will.
And with all of these aftershocks and some of these foreshocks from the July Fourth initial event, they're saying that, yes, this kind of swarm of activity is a little exceptional but it's not unheard of.
If you're wondering, why do we see so many of these things?
This is a very seismically active region. All right. I want to take you to State Highway 78 between Bakersfield which is north of Los Angeles, between Bakersfield and you head a little towards the northeast.
There were some rocks on the road. And you can better believe that people who were trying to get emergency equipment in, people who just want to help, had to come across this. They're saying that this is cleared up now.
But these kinds of things, because it's nighttime, you can't see what's going on. So it's very, very dangerous. That and they're saying that these surface eruptions, these surface faults, we haven't really heard that before. But now we're starting to see some of those images where the ground is opening up.
Not with every earthquake do you see the ground open up. But now at the 7.1 magnitude, they're saying the ground is opening up. And by the way, 7.1 magnitude earthquake, it was abnormally quiet for 20 years. Typically, there would be a 7.something magnitude earthquake once every 10 years.
So we might have seen one or two in the last 20 years. We didn't see anything. That's why people were in quiet voices, going, when are we going to see the big one?
When are we going to see the big one?
This is a big one but this was out here, not like the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and that was a 6.7 magnitude but it was in a highly populated area. All these little marks that you see, these are little fault lines. Here is Ridgecrest. There are intersecting fault lines.
By the way, the type of fault this is a strike slip, meaning they run past each other. It's not crunching together --
MAGINNIS: -- it's not pulling apart until we've just now seen that it is. But just the activity that is taking place here is really something.
The initial earthquake that we thought was the major quake lasted for 5 seconds. But the people in Los Angeles will tell you it was 30 seconds. We felt everything shaking and rumbling for 30 seconds.
Well, that's because as this emanates out, it was emanating out from the epicenter, even to Vegas and down here and towards Las Vegas, a little further to the north, it is bumping into rock material. So it keeps vibrating. It's not going to stop immediately. It will taper off. And that's why it felt like it was shaking for so long across this region.
But this last earthquake, the big one, the 7.1, it vibrated. There was rumbling for 20 to 25 seconds. So you can better believe something like that makes everyone very attuned to any kind of shaking that takes place here.
They're saying that these intersecting fault lines now is radiating a little bit further to the north. More towards that Naval Weapons Station near China Lake, which is a huge facility. You can better believe that they're going to be investigating any kind of damage that takes place here.
But this particular fault line is about 25 miles long. And now they're saying in the vicinity of Ridgecrest to the east, that we have seen these surface eruptions. The ground is actually opening up. We saw them in the press conference, that there were actually looked like waves where the asphalt was just kind of broken up as it emanates out from the center of that earthquake. Very fascinating.
They're getting a prime opportunity to study this earthquake, the foreshocks and the aftershocks almost from real-time. But unfortunately, Cyril, for the people in this vicinity and extending out towards the coast, this will be probably a multi-year event, where we start to see these aftershocks.
And people aren't going to be very quick to forget something like this. This doesn't just interrupt their lives. It stays in your psyche. I heard you say that you had been through an earthquake before. It does stay with you. Back to you.
VANIER: You know what it is?
It's really the gut feeling and I only had it once. It is really the gut feeling because there is nothing else that feels like that. When you feel it once, somehow your body just registers it and you don't forget.
VANIER: You mentioned 25 seconds, the Earth shaking, trembling for 25 second. That's explains why Alexandra Field in Ridgecrest, I asked her what it was like. She said she couldn't quantify it. She didn't know how long it lasted but it felt like it lasted a lifetime, she said.
MAGINNIS: People have said and I think you agreed with this, that people have actually felt physically sick because it is unnerving to have the ground move underneath you. I lived in San Francisco. I was very young but I remember feeling a tremor there.
VANIER: You're familiar with this.
MAGINNIS: And you think did I feel exactly -- what was that. I would know the second time around. There was no second time around for me, though.
VANIER: Absolutely. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much for all the information you've been bringing us. Thank you and also to the team at the CNN Weather Center. Thanks.
We're going to take a short break. When we come back, continuing coverage of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Southern California some three and a half hours ago. Stay with us.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VANIER: Welcome back.
As we continue to cover the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Southern California, the town of Ridgecrest in California on Friday night, shortly after 8:00 pm local time, our teams are on the ground. And when disaster strikes, stores often close.
But CNN's Paul Vercammen found one store open and it was a liquor store. Here's what it looked like after the quake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: I'm here inside this convenience and liquor store here in Ridgecrest to get a sense of what happened inside some of these buildings. Just stuff knocked down everywhere, bottles off the shelves, broken here.
The owner, Anton, says in the two days that they've been rocked by this quake inside this store, he believes that they've had more than $100,000 worth of damage.
And you can clearly see strong, knocking things off shelf, boards down, shattered glass and bottles everywhere. It's going to be a long time cleaning up. But to the credit of the people in the store, they've stayed open. We've seen a steady stream of people coming in here to grab whatever it is they need, including vital things such as water -- reporting from Ridgecrest, I'm Paul Vercammen.
VANIER: You also saw the smiles on the faces of the residents of Ridgecrest. That's something we've been hearing, too, speaking to them throughout the evening. They're really putting a brave face on this. Now one man described how he managed to evacuate his father's home as everything around him was shaking uncontrollably.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I experienced it as I'm at my dad's house and I'm standing there and the next thing you know everything is starting to shake. I'm standing underneath the structure. And my only option is just to get out and away from to where there is no gas lines or anything else like that.
And then it just started rattling. Everybody started rattling, it started flinging me around and I literally had to grab the gate to help keep myself at least something stable to keep on ending and even it still shaking really bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: The quake was also felt about 140 miles east of the epicenter. That's in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the basketball games were taking place for the Summer League. Earlier I spoke to NBA TV announcer, Jared Greenberg, who was announcing a game at the time. Take a listen.
JARED GREENBERG, NBA TV ANNOUNCER: About 16 hours before the earthquake struck, I was awake in my hotel room on this trip in Las Vegas and felt at about 4:10 local time, the swaying feeling. And I never had experienced that before.
Once it happened in the first quarter of our game, it was the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs, we felt at the broadcast location we had at midcourt just the swaying, as if someone was taking our platform and moving us left to right.
And it flashed me back to 16 hours earlier in the day, when the first time I experienced my first-ever earthquake. What was interesting about it, the way it is set up is from the NBA Summer League, it's on the campus of UNLV and we have two simultaneous games going on in two adjoining gyms.
They're separated by about 50 yards. And our gym that we were in for the Orlando- San Antonio game --
GREENBERG: -- is considerably smaller. It holds less than 3,000 people. And there were a lot less than that, because the headliner of the entire week was taking place across the hall, which seats around 18,000 fans. And they were sold out tonight.
So that venue right away canceled their game. Meanwhile, during our game, the players and referees on the court, who were running up and down, expressed to me during the next time out that they didn't even feel it. But clearly up to our broadcast location and the fans, everyone was feeling it.
We had some of the light fixtures shaking a bit. But I tell you, it was a very wild thrill feeling to have this for the first time in my life twice in a 16-hour span.
VANIER: Jared, we're looking at the pictures right now of the Pelicans game and it's pretty clear, people are leaving the stands. Especially in the back rows, people are getting up and they're leaving. And that was right around the time when the game was just flat out interrupted.
GREENBERG: Right. And what you're looking at is the Thomas and Mack Center, which is just separated by a hallway from where I was at the Cox Pavilion. That arena right here seats between 17,000-18,000 fans.
Tonight it was at capacity because Zion Williamson, a much anticipated pro debut of the number 1 pick of the draft, was playing tonight against RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks.
Where we were just down the hall, the Thomas and Mack Center, again, a much more intimate feel with less than 3,000 fans. Because so many people were in there, there was way shy of capacity of 3,000 fans with us.
VANIER: Was your game interrupted?
Did your game -- was it suspended?
GREENBERG: What happened was, ours happened at the end of the first quarter. They continued play because players and referees and coaches didn't recognize it was happening. Just the spectators and media recognized it.
They continued playing through half-time. They evaluated the court, recognized there was a small issue with the court. Both teams agreed it wasn't a safety issue. They took all precautions, they continued playing the third quarter but by the end of the third quarter, the NBA deemed that it would be out of precautionary best for everyone to call the game and just cancel it after the third quarter.
VANIER: That was Jared Greenberg, NBA TV announcer, speaking to me earlier.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. We will continue our coverage of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck California yesterday, the main event after a 6.4 foreshock on Thursday. We'll do that after this short break. The news continues with Natalie Allen. You're in great hands.