What If The San Francisco Quake Happened Again?--Updated!
The WaPo lays out the disaster possibility
:The worst-case scenario? As many as 3,400 dead, mostly crushed by buildings; up to 700,000 people displaced or homeless; 130,000 structures extensively damaged or destroyed; and immediate losses exceeding $125 billion -- a forecast that rivals the mayhem unleashed by Hurricane Katrina and the breaching of the New Orleans levees.
Of course they miss the obvious: It would be blamed on Bush. Update: I was basically kidding here, but frequent commenter Paul reminds us that everything can be blamed on Bush:
Until Bush funds studies looking at the effect of removing all that oil from below ground on earthquakes, we have to assume the worst. People in SF will rightfully blame Bush for the next Big One.
An aside here. I lived in SF from 1981-84. We only had a few minor quakes while I lived there; the most notable was the Coalinga quake. I was sitting in my office talking to a friend across town when it hit. I noticed that the filing cabinet across the room was swaying back and forth and I said, "What the heck's going on?" And my friend said "It's an earthquake--pretty big one too!" And for a second I was just marveling at it, before I realized enough to dive under the desk.
The only other one I was remember was when I was out at lunch. I was walking along the sidewalk back towards the office when I noticed this parked station wagon rocking back and forth. My first reaction was that an amorous couple were inside, but it was the middle of downtown, and a busy street. My second thought was that somebody had slammed the door a little hard, but there was nobody nearby. My third thought was right: earthquake.
I have also marveled at the extraordinary good fortune
of the Bay Area in the 1989 quake. As many of you remember, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's were about to play a World Series game that late afternoon, and as a result there were far fewer cars on the Nimitz Freeway than otherwise would have been. I was stunned when I saw the photos of that highway, because I knew during a normal rushhour thousands of cars would have been crushed.