OAKLAND, Calif. - There hasn't been a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault for years. Scientists are now saying an earthquake at the center of that fault line could be more severe than previously thought.
Here in Northern California, Dr. Anne Wein from the United States Geological Survey looked at Bay Area earthquakes and is making some connections to what USGS has dubbed the HayWired Scenario.
This scenario starts with a magnitude 7 earthquake and looks at the cascading impacts on things like critical infrastructure systems.
Obviously, these connections do mean death, damage and disruption, not to mention potential fires from after the earthquake.
"We went the extra mile on this scenario to try and help people know what to expect and think about how to prepare," said Wein.
While, ‘drop, cover, and hold on’ remains the best advice for what to do when you're in an earthquake, Wein elaborates by saying weaker buildings are more likely to hurt us in these worst case scenarios. Have things like extra water, a fire extinguisher, backup batteries, including back battery power for your cell phone.
As for this shift in the science that suggests an earthquake at the center of the San Andreas Fault could be more severe than previously thought, Wein simply said, "I'm sure it's scary for people to hear this. We've built these scenarios to get people to prepare for these events. I hope that people will do that and use the information to plan."
Wein reminds that in order to change the story on how much damage and destruction the next earthquake brings that we can all download the ShakeAlert app to our mobile phones.
"The big ones don't happen very often, but the moderate earthquakes do," said Wein. "So whatever you do for the big ones, it will work really well for the smaller and more frequent earthquakes."