Napa earthquake hastens calls for warning system

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Napa earthquake hastens calls for warning system
A mailbox is all that remains of one of four mobile homes which were destroyed in a gas fire Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A Napa firefighter inspects one of four mobile homes that were destroyed in a gas fire Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Napa firemen douse the remains of a mobile home Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
The remains of one of four mobile homes smolders after a fire engulfed it Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Napa Fire Captain Steve Becker inspects mobile homes which were destroyed Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A gas fire at the park is being blamed as the result of a 6.0-magnitude earthquake which struck California's northern San Francisco Bay area this morning. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Steve Brody inspects damage to the interior of his mobile home after an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Nina Quidit cleans up the Dollar Plus and Party Supplies Store in American Canyon Calif. after an earthquake on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Quidit and her husband were woken up in the early morning hours by the store's alarm company and immediately drove in to begin clean up. The 6.0-magnitude quake caused six significant fires, including at four mobile homes, Napa Division Fire Chief Darren Drake said. (AP Photo/Alex Washburn)
A youngster rides his scooter over a sidewalk buckled by an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left at least three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
RT @WillKane Firefighters are doing their best to control the blaze, calling for an ambulance. http://t.co/WMGqnrfwZq #earthquake
People walk past a tumbled mannequin and broken storefront window on First Street following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A broken mannequin and storefront window are on First Street following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Bricks are in the street after a building was damaged during an earthquake in Napa, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, knocking out power to thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Ellen Knickmeyer)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A man surveys a destroyed building following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Bricks and rubble cover the sidewalk in front of a heavily damaged building following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Two men on bicycles ride past the Vintners Collective tasting room and look at damage following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage and left three critically injured in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, igniting fires, sending at least 87 people to a hospital, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
I just escaped the #Napa #earthquake. Everything fell around me and not on me. http://t.co/TF4uhxhfmA
Earthquake at @SilverOak http://t.co/uSfHX2WzBk
1st pics of #earthquake damage in Napa MT @acr What that looked/felt like for in laws in Napa. #earthquake http://t.co/PDoWfwHssx
Will be barrel pickup sticks #napaearthquake http://t.co/4WRYxfJ2vs
Police tape blocks the entrance to the damaged main post office following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Jorge Sanchez looks over damage to the main post office following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Water flows out of McCaulous's department store past a broken storefront window following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Alan Mathison works at cleaning up a broken storefront window following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Jorge Sanchez, left, and Rob Doughty, right, look over damage to the main post office following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
People watch as water flows out of McCaulous's department store following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Gurbir Bhandahl, an employee at a 7-Eleven store, cleans up after an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in American Canyon, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Cans and bottles litter the floor of cold box at a 7-Eleven store after an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in American Canyon, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Jean Meehan looks over the damage to her JHM Stamp and Collectibles store following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake caused significant damage in California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, sending at least 70 people to a hospital, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Gurbeer Singh cleans up merchandise which fell due to an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at a 7-11 store in American Canyon, Calif. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A Safeway employee cleans up merchandise which fell due to an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in American Canyon, Calif. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Gurbeer Singh cleans up merchandise which fell due to an earthquake at a 7-Eleven store Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in American Canyon, Calif. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
This photo provided by Lyall Davenport shows damage to a building in Napa, Calif. early Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area. (AP Photo/Lyall Davenport)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A building is seen destroyed following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3 am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: People wearing bathrobes walk down a street following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3 am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A building is seen destroyed following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3 am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A journalist documents a destroyed building following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3 am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A reporter surveys the scene of a building collapse following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday morning causing damage to buildings and sending at least 70 people to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: Glass from a business litters the ground following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: Glass from a business litters the ground following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: People survey a destroyed building following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A man takes a picture of a destroyed building following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3am on Sunday morning. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Rubble covers the sidewalk in front of the Vintners Collective multi-winery tasting room following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Will Wright, left, and Joe Pfeifer, right, clean up the broken windows of a restaurant following an earthquake Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, igniting fires, knocking out power to tens of thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: Workers clean up piles of bottles that were thrown from the shelves at Van's Liquors following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday morning causing damage to buildings and sending at least 70 people to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: People survey a damaged car following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday morning causing damage to buildings and sending at least 70 people to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: Police officers prop up a fallen door in front of a damaged buillding following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday morning causing damage to buildings and sending at least 70 people to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - AUGUST 24: A section of the Napa County Court house is seen damaged following a reported 6.0 earthquake on August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. A 6.0 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday morning causing damage to buildings and sending at least 70 people to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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BY ELLEN KICKMEYER AND SUDHIN THANAWALA

NAPA, Calif. (AP) -- The earthquake that jolted California's wine capital may have caused at least $1 billion in property damage, but it also added impetus to the state's effort to develop an early warning system that might offer a few precious seconds for residents to duck under desks, trains to slow down and utility lines to be powered down before the seismic waves reach them.

California's senior senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, joined a chorus of renewed calls on Monday for the quick deployment of a quake activity alert system such as the ones already in operation in Mexico and Japan.

"Officials in Washington and along the West Coast should partner with the private sector to make an interoperable earthquake early-warning system a reality, and we should do so as soon as possible before a much larger earthquake strikes," Feinstein said.

Such a system may be closer to reality than most Californians realize, though it's still years away. A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year ordered his Office of Emergency Services to develop a comprehensive statewide system and by 2016, identify sources of funding for it. An early-warning system would cost an estimated $80 million.

The office's director, Mark Ghiladucci said Monday that he pictures a network, financed with both private and public money, made up of a government "backbone" and supplemented with data from private sources in more remote areas.

"This is sort of the last mile out of the 20-year effort for scientists that have been working on this for us to pull it all together," Ghiladucci said. "California is unique. It is a long, complicated, highly populated state, and we have to have a system that is 100 percent reliable so that people can count on it."

Richard Allen, director of the University of California, Berkeley, Seismological Lab, said his lab received a 10-second advance warning of light shaking when the seismic waves from Sunday's quake arrived there. Allen is among the researchers testing the earthquake warning system that is not yet available for public use, but is envisioned as the basis for the state's system.

The magnitude-6.0 temblor was centered near the city of Napa and caused several injuries, left four mobile homes destroyed by gas-fed fires and damaged wineries, historic buildings and hotels. The area has experienced dozens of aftershocks since, the largest of which was a 3.9-magnitude quake that struck at 5:33 a.m. Tuesday about 7 miles south of the city of Napa.

There were no calls reporting damage or injuries, but the quake did rattle already frayed nerves.

"That's not just an aftershock. That's another earthquake to me," Krisha Reed told KTVU-TV after running out of her apartment. She suffered injuries in Sunday's quake.

Allen, of the UC Berkeley Seismological Lab, said though Berkeley is about 40 miles from the quake's epicenter and did not experience any damage during Sunday's quake, in a more violent temblor, 10 seconds could have made a big difference.

"A few seconds means that you can move to your safe zone, that you can get under that sturdy table; that way you are not going to be injured by falling fireplaces and ceiling lights. We see a large number of injuries resulting from these kinds of incidents."

The systems can't predict quakes, and are not effective at the epicenter, where the tremors go out almost simultaneously. The warning people receive - a few seconds to tens of seconds - depends on the distance from the epicenter.

Napa would have received at most a second of warning if California already had a system in place, said Thomas Heaton, a professor of engineering seismology at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

"It's important for people to keep this in perspective," he said. "It's a new kind of tool, but it's not a panacea."

Business owners in Napa spent Monday mopping up high-end vintages that spilled from barrels and bottles and sweeping away broken glass in the rush to get the tourist hotspot back in shape for the summer's final holiday weekend. Government and tourism officials assessing its economic and structural impact encouraged visitors to keep flocking to the charming towns, tasting rooms, restaurants and spas that drive the Napa Valley economy.

While cleanup will take time and broken water mains remained a problem, they said, the worst damage and disruption was confined to the city's downtown, where a post office, library and a 141-room hotel were among more than 160 homes and buildings either deemed unsafe to occupy or enter. Two hotels and 12 wineries were still closed Monday, as well as gift shops, restaurants and other downtown businesses, Clay Gregory, president of tourism organization Visit Napa Valley, said.

"Clearly, we are concerned that people are going to see that it was a catastrophe, and it certainly wasn't good, but it wasn't a catastrophe by any means," Gregory said as workers at a shuttered downtown visitor's center updated lists of open wineries and surveyed hotels about cancellations. "The real story is that it has impacted a very small part of the valley."

Local officials have an early working estimate that Napa Valley suffered $1 billion in property damage, but they hope the long-term economic impact of the quake to businesses will be modest, Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd said. August, September and October grape harvest represents the busiest time of year for both the valley's 500 or so vintners and the visitors who come from all over the world to see them work.

If people "think Napa is devastated, it's anything but devastated. We're only 24 hours out from an earthquake, and we're on our way back," Dodd said.

The Napa Valley Wine Train, which offers tourists a three-hour journey through 18 miles of wine country, canceled its service Monday but planned to resume trips Tuesday. Other tour operators said they were taking it one day at a time, tweaking their itineraries as wineries and their workers dealt with the damage.

At the famed Robert Mondavi Winery outside Napa, where visitors sat in a sunny outdoor tasting area sipping glasses of wine on Monday, gift shop supervisor Kevin Seeman said there had been only a small number of canceled reservations and that the people who worked there were more on edge than the patrons.

"A lot of the staffers are worried," Seeman said. "Some of them their homes are full of rubble; they are worried because they can't find their cats. The visitors seem not so worried about it all."

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