The strongest earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years has dealt a damaging blow to California’s famed wine country and many of its businesses, residents, and historic Gold Rush-era buildings.
The magnitude 6.0 quake was centered near the city of Napa in northern California, “an oasis of Victorian-era buildings nestled in vineyard-studded hills,” as The San Francisco Chronicle described it, and occurred at 3:20 Sunday morning. Over 200 people were injured as Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for southern Napa County. Roads buckled, cracked and were driven aloft, and some local businesses estimated their individual losses to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – while many were grateful the impact wasn’t more extensive.
“All I could hear was just a rumbling,” one resident told a local TV station. “Then when we turned on the light, everything was on the ground – everything was destroyed.” Said one wine warehouse owner, “We’re wading around in a sea of Cabernet.”
Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), said California is forecast to experience a much more damaging earthquake than this one, though experts don’t know when and can’t predict its strength. “Usually when people talk about ‘The Big One,’ they [mean] something on the order of a magnitude 9, which is tremendously more powerful” than this weekend’s earthquake, he told Reuters.
The Fiscal Times put together some of the key numbers associated with the quake as many buildings are now cordoned off for damage assessments and many area residents remain without power:
$50 billion: Annual economic impact of Napa Valley’s wine industry and related businesses on the U.S., according to Napa Valley Vinters, a trade group
$13.3 billion: Annual economic impact of the region’s wine industry, according to the same group
$1.3 billion: Amount of annual taxes generated by the region’s wine industry
46,000: Full-time jobs or equivalent in the region’s wine industry
$1 billion: Economic impact of the quake on Napa Valley, according to USGS
$656 million: Value of Napa County’s grape harvest in 2013
174,000 tons: Napa County’s grape harvest that same year
800: Approximate number of Napa Valley wineries
90-100: Number of homes and buildings in the area that are now inhabitable
33: Number of buildings in the city of Napa that are “red-tagged” or deemed unsafe; this includes “older un-reinforced masonry and newer constructions, some of which have had recent retrofit work done,” according to Napa’s community development director
41: Number of buildings in the city of Vallejo that reported damage
$5 million: Damages to buildings in the city of Vallejo
208: Number of injured people treated at Napa’s Queen of the Valley Hospital between the time of the quake and 11 p.m. Sunday (people continue to arrive)
17,000: Number of PG&E customers who lost power in Napa city, now reduced to about 150
Up to 70: Number of aftershocks expected in this next week, according to USGS, with at least 50 reported so far
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: