The Drought May Be Over, But Experts Say We’re In A ‘Quake Drought’

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California just got out of an epic drought but seismologists say a new one is here.

They call it an “earthquake drought” because it’s been years since a major earthquake has happened in the state, but experts know this so-called drought will end with some destructive results.

Berkeley florist Jean Lee is as ready as she can be for an earthquake, she wonders when the next big one could hit. Seismologists do too. Some believe California is in the midst of an Earthquake Drought.

It’s been almost five years since the Napa Quake, it’s the last shaker that was magnitude six or stronger. Experts know this so-called drought will end with destructive results.

Dr. Angela Chung says the UC Berkeley seismograph has been very quiet with little quake activity.

“Sometimes there is stress built up in the fault.”

Experts say the Bay Area has been relatively quake free for the better part of a century.

Since the earthquake of 1906 destroyed much of San Francisco, there have been only three quakes magnitude six or higher, including Loma Prieta in 1989. But in the 1800s, there were 14 big quakes.

The Hayward fault, which runs through most of the East Bay, concerns Dr. Chung. One reason she helped develop an alert system which sends warnings to your cell phone, it was tested in Oakland last week.

“We can’t predict earthquakes what we can do is let you know when quake strikes, you’re about to feel the shaking,” said Dr. Chung.

Berkeley structural Engineer Thor Matteson, is seeing a six-month backlog of people wanting to seismically retrofit their houses. He says developed a new method of seismically upgrading homes and apartments, using metal braces.

“What we’re looking to do is keep you in your house and out of tent city,” said Matteson.

Experts urge everyone to be quake ready.

To learn more about how to prepare for an earthquake and get notifications, check out the U.S. Geological Survey.


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