Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Series of Earthquakes Strike Puerto Rico Early Tuesday Morning


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that Puerto Rico experienced a magnitude 6.4 earthquake at 4:24 am local time this morning, which was followed by a series of strong aftershocks. The last recorded aftershock, reported at a 5.8 magnitude, took place around 7:18 am local time. The City of Ponce is near the epicenter of the earthquake and initial reports indicate that there has been one death and eight injured in the City. Reports also show that the earthquake strikes brought destruction to infrastructure, residences, and natural landscapes.

Earthquakes in the area are common as the Island rests on an active fault line; however, the majority of earthquakes are small and go unnoticed by residents. The National Weather Service (NWS) and news media explain that Puerto Rico has experienced multiple strong earthquake strikes, including earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.8 and  4.7 since December 28, 2019. It is expected that Puerto Rico will continue to experience earthquakes throughout the week; however, these earthquakes are expected to be much smaller in magnitude.

Hagerty would like to take a moment to express our continued support for first responders, visitors, and residents dispersed across the Island.

Following the earthquake and aftershocks, Puerto Rico residents are experiencing wide-spread power outages. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has reported that while one of the island’s main power plants sustained minimal damage during the earthquake, “all of its power plants [have] gone offline after its “auto protection” systems had been activated”, but systems are expected to be back online later today. Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced ordered that the government offices are closed today and schools will remain closed until January 13, 2020, in order to perform damage inspections to the buildings.

There are no active tsunami warnings or watches at this time, but the NWS encourages individuals to know their risk, heed warnings from local authorities, and prepare in advance for events and evacuation.

FEMA Guidance on Staying Safe in an Earthquake

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides pre- and post-storm guidance for individuals impacted by earthquakes. Earthquakes can take place unannounced, anytime and anywhere, it is important that individuals are prepared and remain safe during the incident.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.


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