Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Earthquake experts on ‘The Really Big One': Here’s what will actually happen in Seattle

(Be sure to read the preparedness recommendations. - Lori)
[Geek Wire] This weekend’s New Yorker story about the inevitable earthquake coming to destroy Seattle terrified plenty of people, but a few Seattle-area earthquake experts are assuring people that things probably won’t be as bad as the original article made it seem.
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit today, questions on how Seattle would fare during the Really Big One were answered by three experts: John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network; Debbie Goetz of the Seattle Emergency Management Office; and Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science writer.
One of the scariest aspects of Kathryn Schulz’s New Yorker piece was the idea of a 100-foot wave sweeping through the city. Turns out that’s not the real concern for the Emerald City.
“The tsunami won’t really be a factor in Seattle or Puget Sound,” Doughton wrote. “By the time the swell gets here, it will be pretty small. But the quake could trigger landslides here that cause localized swamping.”
Transportation routes are another major concern. While many bridges have been retrofitted to deal with the effects of an earthquake, hundreds are still vulnerable.
“Washington’s resilience plan estimates it could be months before all major transport routes are reopened, though emergency routes … will open up before that,” Doughton said. Bridge inspectors will be among the first responders, checking for small cracks that could lead to devastating failures soon after the quake.
With transportation down, supplies are going to be tight. Goetz recommends that residents keep a 7-to-10-day supply of food, water and essentials in case of a major earthquake, along with some supplies at work and in their car.
“Beyond supplies, I always encourage people to talk about their plans,” Goetz said, “especially around communication, which we know will be affected. Where will they be? How can they get back together? Where could they meet if not at home?”
She also suggests staying put once the quake starts. Read More