Earthquake early warning alerts will become publicly available throughout California this week, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said Wednesday.
The system’s statewide debut Thursday will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that ravaged the San Francisco Bay area on Oct. 17, 1989, as well as the annual Great Shakeout safety drill.
Uses Same Notification System as Amber Alerts
The warnings produced by the ShakeAlert system will be pushed through a smartphone app called MyShake, using the same wireless notification system that issues Amber Alerts.
The state earthquake app, developed at the University of California, Berkeley, is available for download to IOS users through iTunes and through GooglePlay stores for Android phones.
Detects Location and Intensity of Earthquakes
The system does not predict earthquakes. Rather, it detects the start of an earthquake and calculates location, intensity and sends alerts to areas where shaking is likely to occur from quakes of magnitude 4.5 or greater.
The alerts have been in development for years and last year were made broadly available to businesses, utilities, schools and other entities.