Magnitude 5.4 earthquake shakes Northern California, sets lights swaying in Sacramento

The earthquake occurred 35 miles from Magalia, Calif.
The earthquake occurred 35 miles from Magalia, Calif. (U.S. Geological Survey)

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook portions of Northern California just before 4:20 p.m. Thursday, knocking out some California Highway Patrol communications.

The earthquake was centered in Lake Almanor in northwestern Plumas County, about 40 miles from Chico and 50 miles from Oroville. It was felt at least as far away as Sacramento.

The CHP Yuba-Sutter station reported that its cellphone 911 lines were down as of 4:40 p.m. The station advised anyone who could not reach 911 through their cellphone to call (530) 332-1200.

The quake rattled Sacramento, though only as a minor tremor. Workers on the upper floors of downtown high-rises felt it most, with swaying lights causing consternation in a city unused to shaking.

In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 6.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample.

The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Find out what to do before, and during, an earthquake near you by signing up for our Unshaken newsletter, which breaks down emergency preparedness into bite-sized steps over six weeks. Learn more about earthquake kits, which apps you need, Lucy Jones' most important advice and more at

A portion of this article was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.