October 17, 1989 at around 5 pm, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay area causing significant damage and loss of life. Many remember the fact that the San Francisco Giants were playing the Oakland A’s in the Game 3 of the World Series, the “Bay Bridge Series”. For me, the images that stick with me are those of the pancaked Oakland Cyprus Freeway where hundreds were trapped and 42 people were killed. The video below is a documentary produced by the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate.
Also on this anniversary, people are talking about a new earthquake early warning system for California that is being rolled out. Alerts will be sent out via a smartphone app, MyShake, and a more traditional wireless system, similar to how amber alerts are issued. It may give California residents a few precious seconds (reportedly 1 second to tens of seconds) to “drop, cover, and hold on” before a major quake. The system uses a network of seismic sensors to detect the first arrival of seismic waves before the more damaging waves follow. The amount of early warning someone gets will be a function of how close they are to the epicenter.