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USGS Forecasts 400 Fires, 20,000 People Trapped in Elevators, 400,000 Homeless in East Bay Earthquake.

At 4:18 p.m. today, a M=7.0 earthquake will tear across the East Bay. The quake’s epicenter will be just east of downtown Oakland along the Hayward Fault. Shaking will be felt across the entire Bay Area, and in many areas, it will be strong enough to destroy buildings, and render many vital lifelines useless. Up to 400,000 people will be unable to use their homes, 22,000 people will be trapped in elevators, more than 400 gas and electric fires will start, and East Bay residents could lose tap water for up to 6 months. In total, losses will likely exceed $100 billion, and aftershocks will shake the region for years.

Fortunately, this earthquake is not real, but rather a USGS scenario, dubbed HayWired, that will be presented to the public today, coinciding with the release of the scenario’s second volume, on the impacts of a large magnitude earthquake on the Bay Area.

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