A 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday near Little Lake was strong enough to be felt on the Central Coast as slow rocking motions, prompting emergency dispatchers in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties to run status checks on fire stations and crews.

Emails were also sent to local Cal Fire stations and contract fire stations with directions on reporting earthquake intensity.

The Southern California Earthquake Data Center at Cal Tech reported the temblor struck 11 miles north-northeast of Ridgecrest and 11 miles west of Searles Valley, where a 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33 a.m. July 4 that was felt as far away as Las Vegas.

Dozens if not hundreds of quakes have rattled the Searles Valley and Ridgecrest areas since then, but only nine were reported above 4.0, ranging as high as 4.7, until 8:16 p.m. Friday, when a 5.0 quake hit nine miles west-southwest of Searles Valley, according to the Earthquake Data Center.

That was followed 3 minutes later by the 6.9 quake, which was followed 3 minutes after that by a 4.7 magnitude quake 10 miles east of Little Lake and a series ranging from 4.0 to 4.2 magnitude, the center reported.

Another 5.5 magnitude temblor was recorded at 8:47 p.m. nine miles east-southeast of Little Lake.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.