The greatest Southern California earthquake in modern history was the Fort Tejon
Earthquake on January 9, 1857 that measured 8.0 on the Richter Scale. Damage
was not nearly as serious as it would be today, mostly because Southern California
was sparsely populated. The effects of the quake were quite dramatic, even
frightening. Were the Fort Tejon shock to happen today, the damage would
easily run into billions of dollars, and the loss of life would be substantial.
The present-day communities of Wrightwood and Palmdale lie upon or near the
1857 rupture area.
On March 10, 1933
at 5:54 p.m., a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the Newport-Inglewood
Fault, causing serious damage in
Long Beach and other communities. The earthquake resulted
in 120 deaths and more than $50 million in property damage.
Most of the damaged buildings were of unreinforced masonry.
At the intersection
of Broadway and Elm Street
in Long Beach, California, March 10, 1933.
Long Beach Polytechnic High School
following the 1933 earthquake.
More recent earthquakes
have caused severe damage, but none would be classified as a "major" temblor.
San Fernando Earthquake hit at 6:01 a.m. on February 9, 1971. It
caused more than $500 million in damage
and 65 deaths.
Narrows Earthquake struck on October 1, 1987 at 7:42 a.m. and registered
magnitude 5.9. It caused
eight deaths and
$358 million in property damage.
The Sierra Madre
Earthquake was magnitude 5.8 and occurred on June 28, 1991 at 7:43
a.m. Because of its depth and moderate
caused no surface rupture, though it triggered rockslides
mountain roads. It caused about $40 million in property
damage and two deaths, mostly in the San Gabriel Valley.
magnitude 6.7 Northridge Earthquake struck at 4: 31 a.m. on
January 17, 1994. This earthquake caused 57 deaths and a FEMA-estimated
$40 billion in property damage. An estimated 12,000 people
were injured, and 100,000 structures were damaged. More than
600,000 individuals applied for disaster assistance.
information about earthquakes? Check out our links page
that was "red tagged" due to damage from the 1994
Los Angeles County is well known as one of the world's
great urban centers, but the county is also home to
National Forest and a large portion of the Santa Monica
Recreational Area. Thousands of homes are located in
foothill communities near these great natural areas, creating
challenges for local
Since 1927, a total of 24 wildland fires have caused the loss of 1,502
homes, 830 other structures, 271,047 acres and five fatalities.
The most recent major wildfires erupted in Los Angeles and surrounding
counties starting in the Angeles National Forest above Altadena
on October 27, 1993. Fires in Altadena and Malibu caused the loss
of many homes.
Floods and mudslides
Los Angeles County contains some of the steepest and most erosive
mountains in the world, the San Gabriels, with elevations reaching
10,000 feet above sea level. Below steeply walled canyons lie
large coastal plains with a high population density. When heavy
there is a significant potential for floods and mudslides.
In 1914, when the population of the Los Angeles Basin was about
700,000, a four-day storm produced more than 19 inches of
rain in the San Gabriel
Mountains, resulting in floods causing $10 million in damage.
in 1938 caused $70 million in damage in Southern California, and
in 1969, floods caused $400 million in
damage and 60 deaths.
In the 1990s,
serious flooding happened in 1992, '93, '95, and '98.
How can you protect yourself against floods? Consider
flood insurance and home preparedness measures - for
Significant events of civil disorder are uncommon in
the Operational Area, but have occurred twice in recent
On August 11,
1965, six days of rioting began in the Watts section
of Los Angeles. In
the violence, 34 people were killed and 856 injured.
April 29, 1992, just hours after a Simi Valley jury acquitted four
LAPD officers in the Rodney King
trial, civil disorder
in 58 deaths.
see a listing of all State and federally declared disasters in Los
Angeles County since
1950. Information provided the California
Office of Emergency Services.