California earthquake alerts to become available statewide

October 16, 2019 - 2:11 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services says earthquake early warning alerts will become publicly available statewide starting Thursday.

The warnings produced by the ShakeAlert system will be pushed through a smartphone app and the same wireless notification system that issues Amber Alerts.

The system detects the start of an earthquake and calculates location, intensity and alerts areas where shaking is likely to occur.

The system's statewide debut coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that ravaged the San Francisco Bay area on Oct. 17, 1989, as well as Thursday's annual Great Shakeout drill.

The alerts have been in development for years and last year were made broadly available to businesses, utilities, schools and other entities. The only current large-scale notification system is for Los Angeles County.

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