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1949: ‘Damage in City Reported Light’

How an early earthquake warning works

California is expanding an early earthquake warning system that could give people as long as a minute to prepare for a disaster.
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California is expanding an early earthquake warning system that could give people as long as a minute to prepare for a disaster.

If you wonder how Whatcom County fared after reading “It’s been 70 years since the earth shook for an entire minute. Are we due for a repeat?” ...

... from The Bellingham Herald’s history files, Wednesday, April 13, 1949:

“Bellingham, quivering helplessly as were many other Northwest cities a few minutes before noon Wednesday, seemed to have escaped damage and injury, a check-up revealed during the afternoon.

“Buildings trembled, lights swayed and telephones began to ring within seconds as a major tremor started news wires humming throughout the region. The phenomenon was being reported at The Herald newsrooms from Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma and Oregon points before the motion had completely ceased here.

“Local citizens reported much the same sensation all over town. At offices of the Washington State Patrol, on Sunset Drive, at the main fire station, on Prospect street, and in the Southside hill district residents estimated the rolling and rocking lasted 30 seconds to a full minute.

“Many phone calls

“Police reported many calls crowding the headquarters switchboard, but mainly from curious people. No damage or personal injuries were called to their attention.”

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