California governor says earthquakes are a 'wakeup call'

Victor Abdullatif mops inside of the Eastridge Market, his family's store, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Saturday, July 6, 2019, photo provided by the Cal OES, Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Gov. Gavin Newson, center, arrives with state leadership on the ground in Kern County, on his way to assess damages and meet with local responders on the series of major shaking in the city of the Ridgecrest, Calif. Officials in Southern California expressed relief Saturday that damage and injuries weren't worse after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years, while voicing concerns about the possibility of major aftershocks in the days and even months to come. (Cal OES Governor's Office of Emergency Services via AP)
A crack is seen in a gas station's driveway in the aftermath of an earthquake Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Trona, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Rose Ann Austin, top left, walks past an earthquake-damaged brick fence on her family's property Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Trona, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Katherine Johnson-Coates walks outside of a neighbor's burned down mobile home in the aftermath of an earthquake Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Ron Mikulaco, left, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by an earthquake on highway 178 Saturday, July 6, 2019, outside of Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Ridgecrest Mayo Peggy Breeden, center at podium, is flanked by officials from various agencies including Gov. Gavin Newsom as she makes a statement regarding earthquake damage to her town Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin, right, makes a statement as California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, at podium, makes a statement after touring the town Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Eugene Johnson, right, looks at the chimney collapsed by an earthquake Saturday, July 6, 2019, at his home in Trona, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In this Saturday, July 6, 2019, photo provided by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Gov. Gavin Newson, right, inspects earthquake damage inside a Sears Hometown Store in Ridgecrest, Calif. Officials in Southern California expressed relief Saturday that damage and injuries weren't worse after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years, while voicing concerns about the possibility of major aftershocks in the days and even months to come. (Cal OES Governor's Office of Emergency Services via AP)
Katherine Johnson-Coates stands outside of a neighbor's burned down mobile home in the aftermath of an earthquake Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seismologist Egill Hauksson briefs the media at the Caltech's Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, July 6, 2019. Authorities say Friday night's shaker was centered about 150 miles from Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest, which was still recovering from a 6.4-magnitude preshock that hit the region on Thursday. The two earthquakes caused widespread structural damage to roads, waterlines and gas lines, which resulted in some structural fires in the areas. No fatalities or injuries had been reported. (AP Photo/John Antczak)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, at podium, makes a statement after touring the town Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Carmen Morena sits with her dogs on a mattress she pulled out of her home onto the lawn in Ridgecrest, Calif., Saturday, July 6, 2019. Morena says she feels safer sleeping outside than she does inside following the two earthquakes. Officials in California expressed relief Saturday that damage to buildings, roadways and water and gas lines wasn't worse after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted a remote stretch of country from Sacramento to Mexico. But they were also bracing for aftershocks predicted to go on for months. (Maureen Strode/The Bakersfield Californian via AP)
An earthquake-damaged street is seen Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Trona, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Ron Mikulaco, right, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by an earthquake on Highway 178, Saturday, July 6, 2019, outside of Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Eugene Johnson, right, looks at the chimney collapsed by an earthquake Saturday, July 6, 2019, at his home in Trona, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bottles of wine are strewn in the middle of an aisle as Victor Abdullatif, background center, mops inside of the Eastridge Market, his family's store, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Ridgecrest, Calif. Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

RIDGECREST, Calif. — The two major earthquakes that hit Southern California should alert people across the nation of the need to be prepared for natural disasters, the state's governor said as officials expressed relief that the damages weren't worse.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that governments must strengthen alert systems and building codes, and residents should make sure they know how to protect themselves during an earthquake.

"It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation, frankly," Newsom said at a news conference to update the public on the state's efforts to help the region hit by earthquakes on Thursday and Friday.

Friday's earthquake was the largest one Southern California in nearly 20 years. Officials voiced concerns about the possibility of major aftershocks in the days and even months to come.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported after the 7.1-magnitude quake, which jolted an area from Sacramento to Mexico and prompted the evacuation of the Navy's largest single landholding, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Mojave Desert.

The quake struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles (18 kilometers) from Ridgecrest, the same area of the desert where a 6.4-magnitude temblor hit on Thursday. It left behind cracked and burning buildings, broken roads, obstructed railroad tracks and leaking water and gas lines.

The light damage was largely due to the remoteness of the area where the earthquake occurred, but Newsom cautioned after touring Ridgecrest that "it's deceiving, earthquake damage. You don't notice it at first."

Newsom estimated more than $100 million in economic damage and said President Donald Trump called him to offer federal support in the rebuilding effort.

"He's committed in the long haul, the long run, to help support the rebuilding efforts," Newsom said of Trump.

Only 28,000 people live in the Ridgecrest area, which is sandwiched between more populated areas of Southern California and Las Vegas' Clark County. But seismologists warned that the area could see up to 30,000 aftershocks over the next six months.

April Hamlin said she was "already on edge" when the second quake rattled her Ridgecrest home. She and her three kids initially thought it was another aftershock.

"But it just kept on intensifying," Hamlin said. "The TV went over, hanging by the cord. We heard it break. We heard glass breakage in the other rooms, but all we could do was stay where we were until it stopped."

With the possibility of aftershocks and temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees (38 Celsius) over the next several days, officials were taking precautions.

The California National Guard was sending 200 troops, logistical support and aircraft, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin said. The Pentagon had been notified, and the entire California Military Department was put on alert, he said.

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake said in a Facebook post that nonessential workers were evacuated and operations halted. The epicenters of both quakes were on the base, and officials said they are continuing to assess damage. Officials said most employees live off the base and in Ridgecrest, but they authorized the evacuation so those who live on base can be eligible for reimbursements.

The California Office of Emergency Services brought in cots, water and meals and set up cooling centers in the region, Director Mark Ghilarducci said.

State highway officials shut down a 30-mile (48-kilometer) section of State Route 178 between Ridgecrest and the town of Trona southwest of Death Valley because of a rockslide and severe cracking. The move left Trona temporarily cut off. California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Christine Knadler said crews worked through the night to patch the roadway, but it remained rough and uneven.

Ron Mikulaco, 51, and his nephew, 23-year-old Brad Fernandez, stood on 178 on Saturday looking at the cracks. The pair drove from Huntington Beach, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) southwest of Ridgecrest. Mikulaco, an amateur geologist, wanted to show his nephew "the power of Mother Nature," and they had the epicenter's latitude and longitude coordinates ready.

"We put that in the GPS, and we'll get as close as we can," Fernandez said.

In Ridgecrest, local fire and police officials said they were initially swamped by calls for medical and ambulance service. But police Chief Jed McLaughlin said there was "nothing but minor injuries such as cuts and bruises, by the grace of God."

Two building fires — one involving a mobile home — were quickly doused, McLaughlin said, and natural gas lines where leaks were reported were shut off.

When asked to describe what he has been going through in the past two days, the chief said: "Grief, shock and then, for me, pride in what I've seen from here, my people. It's been a vast range of emotions, and I think the whole community's going through that."

In Trona, a town of about 2,000 people considered the gateway to Death Valley, fire officials said up to 50 structures were damaged. San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood said FEMA delivered a tractor-trailer full of bottled water because of damage to water lines. Newsom declared a state of emergency for the county.

Julia Doss, who maintains the Trona Neighborhood Watch page on Facebook, said the only food store in town is a Family Dollar store that was shuttered Saturday.

"The only way to get food is to drive to Ridgecrest, and with only three gas stations in town I'm worried we may soon run out of fuel," Doss said.

Antoun Abdullatif, 59, owns liquor stores and other businesses in Ridgecrest and Trona.

"I would say 70% of my inventory is on the floor, broken," he said. "Every time you sweep and you put stuff in the dust bin, you're putting $200 in the trash."

But he has stopped cleaning up, believing another earthquake is on the way.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology and a former science adviser at the U.S. Geological Survey, said the new quake probably ruptured along about 25 miles (40 kilometers) of fault line and was part of a continuing sequence. The seismic activity is unlikely to affect fault lines outside of the area, Jones said, noting that the gigantic San Andreas Fault is far away.

Egill Hauksson, another Caltech seismologist, said later in the day that scientists believe the continuing sequence could produce more than 30,000 quakes of magnitude 1 or greater over six months. He said the probability of a magnitude 7 over the next week is about 3%, but one or two magnitude 6 quakes are expected.

___

Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Nguyen reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City, Juliet Williams in San Francisco, Adam Beam in Sacramento, Stefanie Dazio and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles, Tarek Hamada in Phoenix, and Associated Press freelancer Jolene Latimer in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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