Beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday, some 40,000 people within a 60 square block radius of Downtown Oakland, West of Lake Merritt are going to receive an earthquake shake alert on their cell phones.
That sound will be the first major test of California's new wireless emergency alert system.
Using data from hundreds of sensors across California, Oregon and Washington, the Shake Alert System can trace and track seismic waves underground and warn vulnerable regions as much as minute before the shaking starts.
In those precious seconds before the shaking starts, controllers can slow down trains, close valves on underground water and gas pipelines, open firehouse doors and broadcast duck and cover alerts to schools and many other places.
In a year or two, if all goes well, shaking from earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or greater will be preceded by alerts to every smart phone or similar device on the West Coast.
Jack and Carolyn talked about it on the air! Listen below: