Earthquake Early Warning System Worked, Gave Heads-Up Before 5.3 Temblor Hit Off SoCal Coast: Officials

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Officials said the 5.3 magnitude temblor that rattled Southern California area Thursday proved another successful test for the state’s nascent earthquake early warning system.

Some received about a 10 seconds heads-up ahead of Thursday's 5.3 earthquake. (Credit: KTLA)
Some received about a 10 seconds heads-up ahead of Thursday’s 5.3 earthquake. (Credit: KTLA)

John Vidale, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said the earthquake early warning system worked. At USC, he and others heard the alarm go off before they felt the shaking, “maybe 10 seconds ahead, enough for us to puzzle about it before the shaking hit.”

“It was pretty widely felt across the USC campus. We only felt about 3 to 4 seconds, kind of a vibration, kind of long enough for it to sink in that it was an earthquake before it stopped,” Vidale said.

The earthquake early warning system is under development by the U.S. Geological Survey and is available now to a limited array of testers, but it is expected that more people will be eligible to test the system later this year.

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