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Is Palo Alto prepared to deal with the Big One?

Original post made on Nov 18, 2012

BANG! The entire house went dark. I stumbled around my room, disoriented, not knowing what had happened. I looked out the window and stared at the pitch-black block in front of me. The power had gone out.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 26, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (6)

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Posted by Divya
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Check out the second column at: Web Link

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Posted by Serafine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

We have actually been told that the Bi One will hit the East Bay Hills, not here.

But Palo Alto is NOT prepared for a quake on the San Andreas Fault, despite the fact that a number of houses here had damage after the 1989 earthquake.

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Posted by You'll Manage
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm

We all managed to survive the Loma Prieta earthquake OK. Loosing your electricity is no big deal. If it's off for two or three days you may loose your frozen food.

In the late 1970's I was living in Los Altos Hills when a huge winter storm came through. Our electricity went out for 10 days because a power pole came down on Natoma Road. Power had to be restored in urban areas first, we were considered rural. It was Winter, and I had a baby.

Somehow we managed with a wood burning fire place and Jack-in-box takeouts. But then I lived in Europe through WWII, when we only had electricity for 4 hours a day.

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Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

maguro_01 is a registered user.

It's possible that Washington and Sacramento can't really back up this area as they might with financial constraints and that effort may now be politicized - recall Romney wanted to abolish FEMA and flip-flopped after Sandy.

If there are funds that can be constructively spent on earthquake resistance they might be. A reinforced school building and an ordinary bike bridge is preferable to a bridge that's an architectural wonder as a minor example.

I believe that Mountain View still has a few of those apartments on stilts over a parking area - why is not clear.

Oakland, I understand, has a lot of brick buildings made of salvage brick from the San Francisco earthquake.

More and more businesses are just computer terminals in function and we will increasingly be dependent on the Cloud. Some gas stations after Sandy apparently couldn't function even with power because communications weren't up - bad idea. In 1906 BA did business on wooden tables in front of the bank. Not very likely now. A bank branch is just a computer terminal.

I hope emergency plans take many such matters into account and suspect more work could be done.

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Posted by bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

You'll Manage: Remember the Loma Prietta epicenter was more than 80 miles south of here and was about 6.9 on the Richter scale. We don't what the strength of the next one will be or its epicenter.

Serafine; I don't think any earthquake expert can predict where the next "big one" will hit, where its epicenter will be, nor whether nearby faults will also be triggered.

It is possible that many if not most will not have power for many days. The loss of frozen food will be the least of our worries. Gas stations, banks, food distribution, hospitals and first responders will be overwhelmed. Each family should make every effort to plan to be self sufficient to the greatest extent possible for at least seven days.

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Posted by Bi Ones
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm


"But Palo Alto is NOT prepared for a quake on the San Andreas Fault, despite the fact that a number of houses here had damage after the 1989 earthquake."

PA can't keep the lights on during the morning of a beautiful, uneventful Thanksgiving morning. What are ya worried about?

"We have actually been told that the Bi One will hit the East Bay Hills, not here."

The Bi Ones prefer a more urban setting, like downtown, from what I'm told.


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