Mother Nature's angry reach is wide and too often simultaneous.
That's the case this weekend. While residents in the Southeastern United States were keeping an eye on what has become Tropical Storm Cristobal, some 3,000 miles diagonally away Northern Californians are reeling from a major temblor.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the "long, rolling 6.0 earthquake shook a wide swath of the Bay Area awake early Sunday [Aug. 24], prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. The temblor damaged buildings, cut off power to tens of thousands, sparked fires, and sent at least 89 people to a hospital, including three who were in critical condition."
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m. PDT: The number of injured has increased to 120, with three still in critical condition. Officials in the city of Napa say 15 to 16 buildings are uninhabitable because of quake damage.
The 3:20 a.m. Pacific time quake was centered about nine miles south of Napa wine country, and felt as far south as Santa Cruz and into Sonoma County.
It's the largest earthquake to strike the San Francisco area since the deadly 6.9 Loma Prieta disaster in 1989, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Californians now are trying to tend to the injured, assess the damage and make immediate repairs.
The earthquake's manitude, however, could lead to a national disaster declaration in addition to the state's emergency announcement.
If that happens, individuals could be eligible for special tax consideration. The Internal Revenue Service could offer filing extensions to taxpayers affected by this disaster.
In addition, in the case of a presidentially declared natural disaster, affected taxpayers could file an amended return to claim the damages on their prior year's return. This could give some a much needed tax refund they could use in their personal recovery efforts.
You can find more on this option and other disaster and tax information at the ol' blog's special Natural Disasters Resources page.
While I hate that anyone ever has to use disaster tax laws, I hope they at least help those who need them, in California and elsewhere.
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