A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck Southern California as Hurricane Hilary was waning, creating a double natural disaster for residents. Social media platforms were flooded with discussions and shared experiences under the trending hashtag hurriquake.

The earthquake’s epicentre was located northwest of Los Angeles, near Ojai. Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones noted that the hurriquake marked the first magnitude 5 event at the exact location within the Ventura basin since 1932.

More than 100 fire stations in Los Angeles conducted building damage assessments. Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles stated there were no initial reports of significant structural damage or injuries caused by the earthquake.

Subsequent to the initial quake, two aftershocks measuring magnitudes 3.1 and 3.6 were recorded. Dr Jones cautioned that the region should brace itself for more aftershocks in the coming days, potentially prolonging the unsettling atmosphere created by the dual disaster.

Hurricane Hilary transformed into a post-tropical cyclone as it moved farther away from the coastline.

A video captured from inside a local supermarket provided a visual of the earthquake’s impact. Items tumbled from shelves as the ground shook, and a father was seen running with his daughter towards the store’s exit.

When measured in terms of energy output, the recent earthquake paled in comparison to the magnitude 6.7 quake that rocked a northern Los Angeles neighbourhood in 1994. The 1994 earthquake released 125 times more energy than the Ojai earthquake.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Service continued to monitor the rain caused by post-tropical cyclone Hilary. The rains were expected to lead to flooding, mudslides, and landslides.

Declaring a state of emergency across much of southern California, Governor Newsom authorised the deployment of over 7,500 troops to aid in storm preparation efforts.

The National Weather Service issued a warning of life-threatening flooding in Ventura County as nearly two inches of rain fell within two hours, overwhelming drainage systems and inundating roadways. Footage from San Bernardino County depicted rainwater carrying rocks onto roads, with trucks navigating through the muddy conditions.

Death Valley, known for its extreme heat, was also not spared by the deluge. Intense rainfall transformed parts of the arid landscape into temporary waterways.

The storm’s unusual characteristic was the heavy rain it brought to typically arid desert regions. The desert terrain’s inability to absorb such volumes of water heightened the risk of flash flooding. Experts noted that these regions were particularly prone to such disasters due to their lack of water-absorbing capacity, which made them ill-equipped to manage the deluge.