Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tests new earthquake warning system

Unlike a hurricane or most tsunamis, earthquakes hit with little, if any, advance notice.

But new technology is changing that. An early earthquake warning system called the ShakeAlert System is being developed and testing is being done here in Hawaii.

It’s based off California’s early warning system, which proved to be successful for the San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend, by giving a 10-second warning before the area got hit with a magnitude 6.0 earthquake.

“We’re hoping to use this eventually, not in a true sense of earthquake early warning — I’m speaking for the tsunami warning center now — to actually get people to duck and cover as it’s designed, but to give people a minute or more head start on responding to a potentially tsunami-genic earthquake,” said Barry Hirshorn of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Hawaii’s version of the ShakeAlert System is in its early stages.

The warning center is one of hundreds of clients testing out the new system.

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