Double whammy as California rattled by 5.1 earthquake and tropical storm Hilary

It was followed by a dozen aftershocks of magnitudes ranging from 2.6 and 4.0

Storm Hilary Strong winds and rain are seen from a residence as Tropical Storm Hilary approaches, in Cathedral City, California | Reuters

An earthquake of 5.1 magnitude rattled California on Sunday, the same day Hilary, the region's first tropical storm in 84 years, unleashed furious flash floods in the US state after barreling through Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

The earthquake occurred at 2.42 pm local time near Ojai City, according to US Geological Survey, and it was followed by a dozen aftershocks of magnitudes ranging from 2.6 and 4.0. The US Tsunami Warning System said there was no threat of a tsunami from the quake.

"There are no immediate reports of damage at this time however the quake was felt extensively throughout Ventura County," read a statement on Ventura County website.

Meanwhile, Hilary wreaked havoc in east and west of Los Angeles on Sunday after punishing Mexico's Baja California peninsula with deadly force. One person was killed in Mexico flash flooding. Some roads in the peninsula were swept away and social media showed torrents gushing down city streets.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is on a tour of Southern California, declared a state of emergency for much of region that is more accustomed to drought. The last time a tropical storm made landfall in the region was in Long Beach in 1939.

Newsom said Palm Springs, a desert getaway in Riverside County about 160 km east of Los Angeles, was dry when he left on Sunday but an hour later it had received "the most significant rainfall over a 60-minute period any time in the history of Palm Springs.”

“That's how quickly this system is moving. Take nothing for granted," Newsom told a news briefing in Los Angeles after he said he updated U.S. President Joe Biden, who ordered federal agencies to move personnel and supplies into the region.

Hilary sparked flooding in the San Gabriel Mountains, east of the city and coastal areas to the northwest in Ventura County, reported Reuters.

North America has been plagued by extreme weather and calamities recently. July 2023 was the hottest month, according to Nasa. A deadly wildfire in across Hawaii on August 8 killed at least 111 people and the situation was deteriorated by hurricane winds.

Meanwhile, Canada reported widespread wildfires in the British Columbia province, where tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their burning homes.

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