New Reporting Highlights Risk of “The Big One” Striking on the Hayward Fault at Any Time

Loma Prieta_USGS

Damage to Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge by Loma Prieta in 1989 (Source: USGS)

Bay Area residents are unilaterally aware that earthquakes pose a real risk to California and the Bay Area. Many of us were here when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck in 1989, killing 63 people and causing severe damage throughout the region, and we remember what a powerful and unnerving event it was. As a result, we teach our children how to “duck and cover” and keep canned food and candles in our spare closets “just in case”. But there is new evidence that as a region we are horrifyingly underprepared for the even larger major earthquake we are sorely overdue for.

In a cover story last week about the risk of a major earthquake occurring on the Hayward Fault in the coming years (or even just in days), the East Bay Express reported that, “A Hayward Fault shaker will be way, way worse than 1989’s Loma Prieta quake,” and, by some experts’ estimates, kill thousands of people and leave over 100,000 people homeless.

To show the urgency of the risk, the Express shared information it gathered from scientists, including that, “the average time frame in which a large tremblor occurs on the Hayward Fault is about 140 years. And that period lapsed in 2008.” But it is the location of the Hayward Fault that we should find most concerning – running right through the heart of majorly populated urban areas and, the article reminds us, within striking distance of more than 50 hospitals or clinics “likely to collapse or be irreparably damaged in a large earthquake”.

Bay Planning Coalition and its members are becoming increasingly involved in regional earthquake planning and preparation efforts. Register today for our upcoming Expert Briefing focused on the Bay Area’s earthquake risk and its impacts on goods movement.

“The Bay Planning Coalition is a non-profit organization well known for its advocacy and credibility in the San Francisco Bay Area corporate and environmental community. When we speak about an issue, legislators and regulators listen.” – John A. Coleman, CEO