An earthquake early warning system being tested in California gave seismologists in Pasadena up to 30 seconds to prepare for Monday morning’s temblor in the desert of Riverside County.-- LA Times
“It was right,” said Kate Hutton, a seismologist with Caltech. “I sat really still to see if I could feel it and it worked.”
This system can't predict earthquakes, but it can transmit an "Earthquake... incoming!" signal out from the epicenter faster than the ground waves propagate, giving people more than 20 miles away enough seconds to drop and cover, hit the brakes on the train, move away from the window, etc. Japan has had a national system like this for several years, and California is looking into implementing one.
By the way... for those of you who don't live in earthquake country, this is Dr. Kate Hutton:
She is southern California's Earthquakes SpokesExpert. Whenever a quake triggers news coverage, whether it be national TV or a local radio broadcast, chances are we'll hear the reassuring tones of Captain Kate explaining it all to us.
Outside of entertainers, she's probably one of the most visible out lesbians in the world. Unsurprisingly, she is a dyke icon in California.