A research grant announced Tuesday will allow seismologists to take the first steps toward an early warning system for earthquakes in the Northwest. An operational system is still a long way off, but it could eventually resemble the computerized warnings pioneered in Japan.
Back in March, some Japanese residents got an alert via cell phone or a TV screen pop-up. The alert warned them that severe shaking would begin within seconds.
Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network director John Vidale says an early warning, even of less than a minute, gives time to prepare.