I took a drive through the Napa Valley on Saturday August 30, just 1 week after the 6.0 earthquake that hit this region on August 24, 2014. Apparently this was the largest quake to hit northern California in 25 years. While many people in northern California felt the quake which happened around 3:20 am, the majority of damage occurred in downtown Napa and in many of the wineries in the immediately surrounding area.
Driving north through Napa valley and American Canyon (where the earthquake had its epicenter), you don’t really see any evidence of damage until you reach downtown Napa itself. Upon entering the downtown area, you begin to see detour signs, followed by construction vehicles, followed by entire blocks that have been fenced off to the public. Continuing into the heart of downtown, the sound of construction, demolition and hard-hat workers is everywhere, as are closed stores, broken windows and more than a few cracks and fallen bricks from the various buildings, many of which are older and made of unreinforced masonry. While this wasn’t by any means the “big quake”, it definitely did its share of damage and proves that soil type, quality of construction, and proximity to the quake epicenter are the major deciding factors in determining the extent of damage in any earthquake.
Though Napa was hit pretty hard by this quake, it was good to see the large amount of aid and disaster response that had been brought in. People who live in California are accustomed to earthquakes and while the people of Napa are a bit in shock, they’re still in good spirits and looking towards the future with optimism. Clearly the town is on a quick road to recovery with construction workers everywhere and lots of money is pouring in to repair the damage. While it may be something of a mess right now, I’m sure that Napa will recover quickly and probably come back even stronger than before!
Last modified: October 24, 2014