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How likely will the ‘big one’ occur in our lifetime?

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 5:58 PM

What To Do If An Earthquake Hits

Editor's Note: This story first appeared July 16, 2015 and answers questions inspired by an article written by The New Yorker's Kathryn Schulz. Her story, "The Really Big One," was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing on Monday. The Pulitzer Prize is considered journalism's highest honor.

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Some in the Northwest have admitted to losing sleep after the New Yorker's terrifying article on how the "big one" will devastate Seattle and everything west of Interstate 5. 

"If the entire [Cascade Subduction] zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2," wrote Kathyrn Schulz. "That’s the very big one."

People are calling into the Seattle Emergency Management Office asking what they can do -- and if Seattle is prepared. 

Debbie Goetz with the department said the city is prepared for the "big one."

She says the best advice for people living here is to have an emergency plan: Discuss with your family where and how you'd meet up in the event of an emergency that knocks out cellphone service.

Local experts -- from Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Seattle Emergency Management Office, and The Seattle Times -- weighed in on the Cascadia earthquake during an Ask Me Anything on Reddit

John Vidale, director of the PNSN, wrote in the AMA, “ Overall, it was a well-written and documented article. The scenario left an impression of much greater devastation that is anticipated to occur, however."

As the science in Schulz's article is correct, below are seven questions and answers that may bring a little calm. 

1. You say the average frequency of such an event is 1 in 300 years. Do you know if the distribution is roughly uniform? My guess is that it would tend to decrease over time -- but I've also just googled and found articles that suggest continental drift is actually speeding up. Or is the distribution of big earthquakes something that we don't really have a good handle on at the moment? 

Good question. At the highest magnitude, the magnitude-frequency distribution is no longer exponential. The Gutenberg-Richter distribution is recast as the truncated or doubly-truncated Gutenberg Richter distribution, which reflects approaching a physical limit on the possible size of earthquakes.

I think the global limit is thought to be somewhere around 10. But remember, breakage of Cascadia has a small chance of triggering the Queen Charlotte fault, which has a small chance of triggering big faults along the Aleutians. So in the case of very, very, very rare and large events, one is not limited to just one fault.

2. Will Seattle (or anywhere in the PNW, really) ever implement earthquake early warning systems as mentioned in the New Yorker article about Japan?

We [PNSN] are currently testing earthquake early warning in the Pacific Northwest, in fact I have it on my phone now.

It needs more testing and full funding before it is ready to be released to the public, however. 

3. How would a major earthquake affect the nearby volcanoes? 

The same process of subduction - where one tectonic plate dives under another - is responsible for both our earthquake risk and the creation of our volcanoes. In other places, like Chile, volcanic eruptions have followed major earthquakes. Several of Japan's volcanoes became more active after their M 9 quake and tsunami in 2011. But I haven't heard of any good evidence that Mount Rainier or other Cascade volcanoes erupted in a serious way in 1700, the year of our last megaquake. 

4. Any chance of a NW quake setting off the Yellowstone caldera? 

Zero. And a Yellowstone eruption is so unlikely and so prevalent among questions from the public that it is a major source of irritation to many scientists. 

5. Did you see inaccuracies in the New Yorker article or was there anything about it that bothered you? 

Overall, it was a well-written and documented article. The scenario left an impression of much greater devastation that is anticipated to occur, however. 

6. What are the chances "the big one" will never come in our lifetime? How much do most of us not understand about probability and statistics when it comes to natural disasters like earthquakes?

If the chance it will come is 15%, the chance it won't come is 85% (if we're expecting to live another 50 years). However, there are plenty of "pretty big ones" to worry about as well, so you're overwhelming likely to see some action in the PNW.

Statistically, we're more likely to have another deep source quake like the Nisqually, that occurred in 2001. Chances for another one are above 80% within the next 50 years.

7. How realistic is it that 3 days' supplies (the minimum recommended) will enable my survival of the Very Big One in Seattle? And how many days' supplies do you personally have in your home ready for an earthquake?

We recommend people prepare themselves for 7 to 10 days vs. three. For a major quake, life won't be back to "normal" after just three days. I've got enough at home to make it through a week, and also keep a stash of stuff in my car as well as at work.

Beyond supplies, I always encourage people to talk about their plans - 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? 

(Getty file photo OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)(OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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San Diego police shooting: 2 officers injured, suspect dead

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 4:37 AM
Updated: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 3:24 PM

Suspect Dead After Injuring Two Officers in San Diego Shooting

Two police officers reportedly were shot and injured late Saturday in San Diego, California. 

 

Here is the latest information:

Update 12:24 p.m. PDT June 24: Homicide Capt. Mike Hastings said at a news conference that investigators were waiting for a search warrant so they could enter the condominium where the shooting occurred, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. 

The names of the officers injured have not been released. Investigators also have not released the name of the suspect who was killed, the Union-Tribune reported. Police also did not confirm whether the man was a resident of the unit.

Update 1:43 a.m. PDT June 24: KNSD’s Omari Fleming reports that investigators are unsure whether the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was killed by officers. 

KSWB’s Andrew Luria tweeted that “hundreds of rounds may have been fired” in the shootout.

 

Update 1:07 a.m. PDT June 24: The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the suspect is dead. According to the newspaper, “a police dog went in and bit the suspect on the leg” after a robot searched the apartment. 

“After getting no response from the man, police determined he was dead shortly before 1 a.m.,” the Union-Tribune reported.

Update 1 a.m. PDT June 24: According to KSWB’s Andrew Luria, one of the wounded San Diego police officers “is currently in surgery with a life-threatening injury” after being shot in the chest. The second officer suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder but is “expected to be OK,” Luria tweeted.

 

Update 12:26 a.m. PDT June 24: According to KFMB reporter Steve Price, the shooting suspect “appears to be down” and has “head trauma.”

KSWB’s Andrew Luria reported that the suspect had been “wearing body armor.” Officers sent a robot into the apartment where he had been hiding, police said.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the suspect was “possibly deceased.”

The wounded San Diego police officers’ condition was not yet known, Price tweeted.

 

Update 12:01 a.m. PDT June 24: According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, police said a gunman shot at officers through a wall at an apartment complex off Rolando Court. A SWAT team was at the scene, where the suspected shooter was still inside the building, police said.

The newspaper reported that officers had taken another man into custody about 11:20 p.m. PDT but “ascertained within moments that he was not the shooter.”

Emergency personnel rescued a firefighter from the building after the two wounded police officers “and at least one firefighter were pulled out of the building on a ladder,” the Union-Tribune reported.

  

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Please return for updates on this developing story.

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Toddler dies after 10 hours in hot car while mother allegedly hangs out with friends

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 6:12 PM

Police - Toddler Dies in Hot Car While Mother Allegedly Hangs Out with Friends

A California woman is jailed on charges related to the death of her 18-month-old toddler inside a hot car, according to Mendocino County authorities.

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Deputies were called to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, California, Wednesday afternoon after the death of a young boy identified as Chergery Teywoh Lew Mays.

The child had been taken to the hospital by his mother, Alexandra Raven Scott, Detective Sgt. Andrew Porter with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release on Facebook.

Scott, a resident of Humboldt County, went to visit friends in Willits around 3 a.m. Wednesday, leaving the boy inside the car for hours.

“It is believed the child was left unattended in the back seat of the vehicle with the windows rolled up for about 10 hours,” Porter said.

A mug shot of Alexandra Scott, who is accused of leaving her toddler in a hot car for 10 hours while she socialized with friends. The child died from his injuries.(Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

The temperature was about 80 degrees in Willits when the boy was found around 1 p.m., but officials told KTLA-TV it was more like 130 degrees inside the car. 

Scott is jailed without bail on suspicion of willfully causing or permitting a child to suffer great bodily injury or death.

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WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.
denvit / Pixabay.com
File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.(denvit / Pixabay.com)

A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.

>> Huge cookout held at Oakland park where cops called on black family's barbecue

According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said the incident occurred outside her apartment near AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.

"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin says in the 15-second clip, focusing the camera on a woman holding a phone. "She's calling the police on a 8-year-old little girl."

As the woman, identified by HuffPost as Alison Ettel, crouches behind a concrete wall, Austin adds: "You can hide all you want; the whole world's gonna see you, boo."

"And illegally selling water without a permit? Yeah," Ettel says, pointing to her phone.

"On my property," Austin interjects.

"It's not your property," Ettel replies.

>> Watch the video here

Austin and the girl's cousin, Raje Leeshared the footage with the hashtag #PermitPatty, USA Today reported.

"Make this [expletive] go viral like #bbqbecky," Austin captioned the video, referring to the hashtag used after a different woman was recorded calling the police on a black family for using a charcoal grill at an Oakland park. "She's #permitpatty."

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The posts sparked a debate about whether Ettel's actions were racist.

"For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white [men] that [were] selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay?" Lee tweeted. "Don't answer. Just ask yourself that."

>> See the tweet here

"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin told KNTV.

Ettel told HuffPost that race had nothing to do with it, adding that she didn't really call the police. 

"They were screaming about what they were selling," Ettel said, claiming she had no problem with the girl, only Austin. "It was literally nonstop."

She added: "I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her."

The drama seemed to have a happy ending for Austin's daughter, who received four free tickets to Disneyland from a Twitter user who saw the video, Lee tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here or here.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicked out of Red Hen restaurant in Virginia on ‘moral’ grounds

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that her family was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant on Friday by the owner, who cited
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that her family was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant on Friday by the owner, who cited "moral conviction."(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she and seven members of her family were kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia on Friday night.

TMZ first reported that the restaurant’s owner kicked out Sanders and her family out of “moral conviction.” 

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A waiter posted on Facebook that Sanders was in the restaurant for “a total of two minutes” before being asked to leave.

 

Sanders confirmed the incident on Twitter.

“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”

 

Sanders’ father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, tweeted his support, saying it was an act of “bigotry.”

 

The Red Hen’s Facebook and Yelp pages were bombarded with reviews from people from both sides.

While some praised the restaurant, many others said the owner was being “intolerant.”

This comes after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen bolted from a Washington, D.C. Mexican restaurant after protesters confronted her at her table -- with the blessing of the manager.

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