Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2019

Currently: 92° — Complete forecast

Aftershocks continue in California desert; community remains without water

Teagan Clouse

James Quigg / The Daily Press via AP

Teagan Clouse helps stack sport drinks at the Christian Fellowship of Trona, Calif., on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. The church received a large donation from a cooperative effort from several High Desert charities and businesses after two strong earthquakes struck Thursday and Friday last week. It could be several more days before water service is restored to the tiny town of Trona, where officials trucked in portable toilets and showers.

TRONA, Calif. — Aftershocks of last week's big earthquakes are still rumbling beneath the California desert, but seismologists say the probability of large quakes continues to decline.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the chance of a quake larger than Friday's 7.1 temblor is less than 1% and the chance of a magnitude 6 or higher is down to 6%.

Friday's temblor followed a 6.4-magnitude shaker. Both were centered near the Mojave Desert towns of Ridgecrest and Trona, which suffered cracked buildings, blocked roads and several house fires.

Trona, which has about 1,800 residents, lost power until Monday and remained without water on Wednesday.

That was a major concern of hundreds of residents who gathered at a packed town hall to hear officials update them on the recovery.

Truckloads of bottled drinking water have been delivered. But there's no water for household use, including supplying swamp coolers, a necessity in an area forecast to have triple-digit heat through the week.

"It's 93 degrees inside my house," resident Jonathan Schmid told KCBS-TV.

Trona resident Carl Bates said his water tank has run out.

"But we have a lot of bottled water being sent in to us," he told KABC-TV. "Everybody's been donating quite a bit to our community. So that helps us. We're staying alive with drinking water."

Portable showers and bathrooms also have been brought in, and repair crews have been working around the clock.

Authorities said it will take time for the town to fully recover.

"I certainly think it's going to be a while," said Robert Lovingood, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. "We're going to continue until everything is back and functioning."

Some people still remained effectively homeless because of damage to buildings.

Ronnie Tolbert, 60, told the Los Angeles Times that she sleeps on mattresses in her driveway.

Funding for recovery has been coming in. President Donald Trump on Monday declared an emergency in California because of the quakes, paving the way for federal aid.

"It's steamrolling to where we're starting to get a lot more resources we need to help rebuild," resident Jonathan Schmid told the Times.