Saturday, March 15, 2014

Early Earthquake Warning System

Early Friday morning we were woken to the house shaking.  It was an earthquake that was centered pretty close to here and was about a magnitude 6.3 on the scale. It seemed to go on for ages - at least enough time for me to find my glasses and race upstairs to see if the kids were okay.  There was nothing broken and there have been zero aftershocks that we have felt, so here's hoping it was just a strange one off occurrence.  I ended up spending the night on the floor of my children's bedroom just in case there were any extra wobbles.  Usually I would just jump into bed with them, but as they are now bigger than me I tend to have all the blankets pulled from me and get pushed out as they try to turn over.
I have no idea if any other countries have the same system, but I am always impressed about the early earthquake warning system they have here in Japan.  I know it is not always accurate, but a minute or so before the ground starts shaking there are big warnings splashed all over the TV that there is an earthquake on its way so please take cover.  All the cellphones in the area also start bleeping out warnings and then send messages to say how big the earthquake was, where it was centered etc. almost immediately after it has occurred.  
The day after the earthquake I was taking a break at lunch time and watching TV when another one of these warnings flashed across the screen.  I diligently rushed under the table and sat there alone waiting for the big one to strike, images of the kids schools falling down, no one being able to get to anyone else etc.  After a couple of minutes of no movement I decided to come out from my safe spot and saw that the TV was showing that an earthquake of approximately 6.3 had just occurred very close to where we live.  I was a little confused as this time I hadn't felt a thing.  Of course it was then that I remembered that the TV program I was watching was one that I had taped and that it was on at the time of the original earthquake.... I guess at least there was no one there to laugh at me and it gave me a little practice of hiding under the table!
Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 18.15.38

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