Governor OKs plan for earthquake early warnings

Doug Given, earthquake warning coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey, discusses the development of the earthquake early warning system in California, as Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, center, and Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, look on during a news conference Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Rancho Cordova. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to develop a statewide earthquake early warning system in California, after devoting $10 million to the program in the state budget he signed this year.

Brown announced Thursday that he signed SB438 by Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo.

The legislation sets up the early warning program, called "ShakeAlert."

Seismic early warning systems are designed to detect the first shock waves from a large jolt, calculate the strength and alert people before the slower but damaging waves spread. Mexico, China and Japan are among the countries already using them.

Ultimately, scientists plan to develop apps for mobile phones and computers that would give the public the early alerts.

California officials will submit a plan to the state Legislature by February 2018.

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