By Joe Vazquez


SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The San Francisco Bay Area could be just months away from getting a ShakeAlert earthquake early-warning system which alerts users via a smartphone app that an earthquake has occurred and gives warning that shocks are headed their way.

“The Bay Area is essentially ready to go,” said Robert De Groot of the U.S. Geological Survey. “As long as the testing goes to plan, the end of the year is sounding promising for good things to happen.”

RELATED: USGS Earthquake Preparedness Items

Thursday’s 6.4 Kern County event showed the app is still on shaky ground with some users.

Since users of the ShakeAlert Los Angeles system were about 170 miles from the epicenter of the Ridgecrest quake, the intensity diminished as it spread outward. By the time it reached Los Angeles County, it felt like it was less than a 5.0 earthquake and since the ShakeAlert app’s threshold is 5.0, it did not send an alert to users.

The City of Los Angeles later announced officials would lower the threshold on the current Shake Alert L.A. app.

Because so many residents across Southern California expressed concern about not receiving the ShakeAlert, the USGS put out a tweet clarifying why Los Angeles residents were not alerted on their app saying, “The @LACity #ShakeAlertLA app sends USGS ShakeAlerts to people in @CountyofLA at M5.0+ for areas that could experience potentially damaging shaking.”

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