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Aftershocks continue; latest is 5.1

Aftershocks from Easter’s magnitude-7.2 earthquake in Baja California were felt in San Diego County today.

As of 4:15 a.m., the U.S. Geological Survey said five earthquakes stronger than magnitude-5.0 and dozens of smaller temblors have been recorded since yesterday’s main event, which was struck about 3:40 p.m. and was centered 37 miles south-southeast of Mexicali. As of this morning reports indicate at least two people had been killed and about 100 injured.

On Sunday, reports indicated minor damage around San Diego County included jammed exit doors, water leaks, cracked walls and broken windows, authorities said.

A Julian resident got a lump on the head when something was shaken off a shelf in a store, and person was hurt when he fell while running out of his Chula Vista home.

Pat Abbott, a professor emeritus of geology at San Diego State University, said San Diegans should brace themselves for perceptible aftershocks for at least 72 hours after the initial quake.

The heads of San Diego relief agencies said it appeared damage in the

heavily populated Baja California capital was not as bad as might be expected,

but word had not come in from more vulnerable and isolated locations closer to

the epicenter.

“What I’m hearing is that some houses have been knocked down,” said Gary Becks of the Carlsbad-based Rescue Task Force, who was monitoring news reports.

Becks said his agency identified members of a potential relief team, but they have not been activated.

Barry LaForgia of International Relief Teams in San Diego was also keeping an eye on the situation.

The Easter Sunday shaker caught people in elevators and swaying high rises.

“It was really freaky — the biggest I ever felt,’' Tyler Luna told television station KUSI. Luna said the earthquake sloshed water out of his pool, a story numerous people shared.

The quake, if the magnitude is confirmed, would be larger than a 7.1 temblor recorded in the Imperial Valley in 1940, and a 6.5 near Borrego Springs in 1968.

The quake appeared to last anywhere from 15 seconds to nearly a minute, depending on the person, but most accounts indicated it was much longer than average.

Abbott told News8 that length is an indicator of a temblor’s strength.

“The longer time it’s moving it’s putting energy out all that time,” Abbott said. “It was a very unique experience.”

In San Diego, the Sheraton Harbor Island towers were evacuated due to structural worries, but an inspection by building engineers determined there were no major problems, said Maurice Luque of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. However, floors 7-12 remained closed because of jammed doors, Luque said.

Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 2 was evacuated for a short time but flights were not delayed.

There was also damage reported at the Nordstrom’s at Fashion Valley, which had a water leak, another waterline break at the Veteran’s Building on San Diego Avenue, a cracked wall at an old apartment building at 4133 Kansas St., and a cracked wall at the county Animal Shelter on Gaines St., Luque said.

Broadcast reports also showed broken windows at the San Diego Sports Arena.

There were two earthquake-related injuries reported. One person was hurt in Julian when struck in the head by something that flew off a store shelf, a Heartland fire dispatcher said.

The other injury was to a 15-year-old boy who fell while running down stairs to escape his home in the 2100 block of Bluewater Lane in Chula Vista, a San Diego Fire-Rescue Department dispatcher said.

He said paramedics treated several people who were hyperventilating in downtown hotels.

Firefighters also responded to numerous ringing alarms and elevator rescues, the dispatcher said.

A California Highway Patrol dispatcher said officers gave a once-over to area freeways, bridges and overpasses, but found no damage.

The situation was different in the Imperial Valley, where CHP officers reported cracks and boulders on Interstate 8 and damage to overpasses.

The San Diego Trolley system had only a brief delay, and drivers traveled slower than usual to inspect rails as they went, said Mike Malloy of the Metropolitan Transit System.

Southern California Edison said employees were inspecting the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, but the earthquake was not strong enough to cause a shutdown. The Unit3 reactor was only operating at half-power at the time.

San Diego Gas & Electric reported that 2,400 customers in Dana Point in Orange County lost power because of the earthquake, said the utility’s Jennifer Ramp. In San Diego County, about 600 customers lost power in Borrego Springs and there were smaller outages in Fallbrook and National City, she said.

Crews were brought in to check substations and respond to calls of natural gas leaks, according to Ramp.