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Californians Take Note As Magnitude 7.4 Quake Rocks Mexico

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Map shows 7.6 earthquake epicenter in Guerrero state, Mexico on March 20, 2012. (CBS News/Google)

Map shows 7.6 earthquake epicenter in Guerrero state, Mexico on March 20, 2012. (CBS News/Google)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A major magnitude 7.4 earthquake that hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Tuesday served as a grim reminder that California is vulnerable, state officials said.

The powerful earthquake that struck shortly after 11:20 a.m., centered near Acapulco, knocked out electricity and lines of communication and left thousands of families in California unable to contact their loved ones in Mexico.

RELATED CONTENT: CBS SF Special Earthquake Section

Nearly two dozen aftershocks as powerful as magnitude-5.2 followed, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey told KCBS Radio, but no major damage or serious injuries were immediately known. Later, wire service reports indicated there were homes damaged — and some even collapsed — in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

PHOTOS: Mexico Earthquake 2012

Federal officials said any threat of a tsunami off the California coast as a result of the Mexican quake was very unlikely.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“A strong earthquake has occurred, but a tsunami is not expected along the California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, or Alaska coast. No tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect for these areas,” the West Coast Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.

San Francisco International Airport officials said there was no word of any flight delays to Mexican destinations following the quake.

Officials at the California Earthquake Authority took the opportunity to warn residents that the Golden State is also susceptible to quakes like the one that occurred in Mexico – and urged homeowners to purchase earthquake insurance.

The two costliest earthquakes in U.S. history both happened in California: the Bay Area’s 1989 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake and Southern California’s 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake in 1994.

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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