22 years after Loma Prieta quake, are we more prepared? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

22 years after Loma Prieta quake, are we more prepared?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Monday's 3.1-magnitude earthquake comes as Northern California residents look back on the 22nd anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake. The 6.9 temblor caused buildings and roads to collapse, gas lines to burst and left thousands of people injured.

It was October 17, 1989 when the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake struck, leaving a trail of destruction stretching from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, injuring thousands of people. It's damage Dr. Pat Abbott says we could see in San Diego if a similar-sized quake were to hit here.

He says areas that sit on loose, saturated sand, like downtown, Harbor Island, Lindbergh Field and the Sports Arena area are especially susceptible.

"That would be a very suspect area. An area where you'd expect buildings to break up, all the sewer pipes that go underneath there, on their way to there to Point Loma would rupture, so that would be one of the areas where the most expectation of damage and problems would be," Abbott said.

While Abbott is quick to point out the great advances in readiness in terms of construction and building codes, he says science is equally quick to show California is long overdue for the "big one."

"The next big segment of the San Andreas Fault, we expect to go 59 percent chance in the next 30 years that that would have one in the magnitude in the high 7s," Abbott said.

Abbott says it's important to study and learn how we can better prepare for when the next natural disaster hits.

"For our mental preparation, to think of ourselves as first responders, protect yourself during the earthquake when you can't do any good, and then get out to help immediately thereafter," he said.

The Loma Prieta earthquake caused $7 billion in damages throughout the Bay Area.


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