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Why didn't San Diego get an alert after July 4's earthquake? It isn't ready

Posted at 2:23 PM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 18:20:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — One of the first questions San Diegans had after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Southern California: Where was the alert?

Exactly one week ago, San Diego phones buzzed in unison for a test of California’s Earthquake Early Warning System, ShakeAlert. The system aims to help alert locals seconds before an earthquake hits to find shelter.

Thursday, no alert went out when San Diego felt shaking.

RELATED: 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattles July 4th for Southern California

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services says the alert system is still in the testing phase. Currently, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services is evaluating the data collected from the June 27 test.

The state hopes to set up the system in the future in the same way Amber Alerts are sent out regionally. Before that can happen, the county says they need to make sure the system works fast enough to alert residents, the county says.

Many San Diegans, however, say they didn't even receive the test message last week. For them, the county asks for feedback to work out the bugs in the system. Those individuals can fill out an online survey here .

Los Angeles County residents already receive a similar alert, but many complained they weren't alerted Thursday either. Los Angeles city officials say their alert didn't go off because the earthquake wasn't recorded above a 5.0-magnitude shake within Los Angeles County. Officials said they now plan to lower that threshold.

USGS seismologist Robert Graves told the Associated Press that the state's new system detected Thursday's earthquake, providing 48 seconds of warning to Caltech's seismology lab in Pasadena, and adding "there were no glitches" in the system.