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"EARTHQUAKE WARNING" Issued For Parts of Texoma

The USGS & the OGS recently took the unprecedented step of issuing an "Earthquake Warning" for Oklahoma.
Recently, May 5, 2014 to be exact, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) issued an "Earthquake Warning" for the state of Oklahoma including our counties in the state of Oklahoma.

This obviously raises many many questions; lets start with the words.

According to the organizations an "Earthquake Warning" is issued and means that a risk of a damaging earthquake - one larger than magnitude 5.0 - has significantly increased; in this case in Oklahoma.

As with all earthquakes the specialists at the USGS and OGS don't know where the next big quake will hit.  And, they did not put a number on the chances or risk increase for the region.  The statement stands on its own; a significantly increased risk of a 5.0 or greater.

There have recently been more earthquakes per mile in Oklahoma than in the state of California.  That takes a moment to absorb.  It's a very sobering thought.

When one goes back to the year 2012 and totals the number of temblors in OK the number goes over 2,500.

Most have been small and barely felt unless the epicenter was directly below you and even then it would be just a small shaking.

Many folks say, those quakes aren't strong, they get those in California everyday.  And the statement has some merit but think of this.  The state of California has a building code for strong earthquakes so that buildings can withstand a certain strong magnitude.  In addition, some city and county laws require furniture items such as cabinents, shelving, pictures, entertainment centers and dressers be bolted to the wall so that they can not come lose or fly around during the shaking.

If we take two earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 and compare the damage potential in California and Oklahoma there will be a large difference.  The damage in California will be minimal as most buildings and items in a building have to be built to withstand that magnitude of shaking.  However in Oklahoma the shaking of the same magnitude could create substantial damage that would not occur in California.

The city of Prague, OK was near the epicenter of the largest Oklahoma quake ever.  And, the city sustained moderate damage.  The temblor measured a magnitude 5.6 in November 2011.  When that earthquake struck, 14 homes were destroyed and two people were injured.  In addition the quake was felt in Wichita Falls, Lawton and nine other states.

Today, we are under the "Earthquake Warning" and at any time a magnitude 5.0 or greater, maybe a 6.0 or even a horrible 7.0 could shake us.  And, if it does it will shake the entire Southern Great Plains and Midwest.  It won't be good.  And then again, it might never happen.

One more thought.  The USGS says this is the first time they have ever issued an "Earthquake Warning" east of the Rocky Mountains.

For more information click the link at the top right of the story.

KFDX Meteorologist Bryan Rupp.
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