Imagine if a huge earthquake hits Washington State but before the shaking starts you get an early warning giving you time to protect yourself. It's called the ShakeAlert System that's now in the works in Washington State and some of the development of the system is underway at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. Central Washington University Geophysics Professor Dr. Tim Melbourne says "when the system is live in 2019 2020 anybody that wants it can get a notification."
And that early warning notification will come on smart phones and computers through a downloadable app. More work is needed before the system is operational by 2019 or 2020. The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded $4.9 million to six universities including Central Washington University to help further develop the system. The grants will help scientists thoroughly test the system and improve its performance. New seismic stations also will be installed to boost speed and reliability of warnings.