California’s New Early Warning Earthquake App Features a Shaking Countdown

Screenshots of QuakeAlertUSA, an earthquake early warning app by Santa Monica-based Early Warning Labs. (Credit: Early Warning Labs via Los Angeles Times)

Screenshots of QuakeAlertUSA, an earthquake early warning app by Santa Monica-based Early Warning Labs. (Credit: Early Warning Labs via Los Angeles Times)

A new earthquake early warning app for smartphones has been released, offering users across California the ability to see a countdown before shaking arrives.

Available for iOS and Android phones, QuakeAlertUSA also offers the ability for phone owners to individually tailor when the app is triggered — for weak, light or moderate shaking.

The app by Santa Monica-based Early Warning Labs uses the same data source as the other two apps that have been available — the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert system, powered by hundreds of earthquake sensors across California. Two other apps are available for earthquake early warning but don’t offer countdowns or the ability to ignore warnings for weak and light shaking; they are UC Berkeley’s MyShake app, which offers statewide coverage, and the City of Los Angeles’ ShakeAlertLA app for users physically in Los Angeles County.

California authorities have also begun to issue alerts via text message, through the Amber Alert-style Wireless Emergency System. Those alerts do not require downloading an app or having a smartphone to receive the apps, but that system may be slower than the apps and is set to go off for only more relatively stronger shaking than the smartphone apps.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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