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Officials hope ice storms get people prepared for earthquakes

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Officials are expected to reveal today (Monday) how much they think this month's ice storm cost city and county overnments in Missouri. The figures will be based on surveys conducted last week by the state's Emergency Management Agency

The recent storms left area residents struggled without electricity for days and weeks. But the New Madrid Seismic Zone is the most active earthquake area east of the Rockies, and state officials say Missourians should be prepared for a much more significant catastrophe.

"The problem is that when one is going to occur it won't just be a small part of Missouri or a small part of Illinois that will be affected," noted Jim Palmer, a geologist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. "It will be parts of seven states and a New Madrid sourced earthquake would disrupt transportation and commerce that flows through the middle Mississippi Valley."

Palmer says the state will hold a series of seminars and workshops across the state next month designed to help residents and businesses prepare for the aftermath of a major earthquake.

"After one happens, it's too late to decide you needed to strap your water heater down and have some other supplies and things you might need to be without power and water for several days," added Palmer. "It could be longer than several days."

Palmer says the latest estimates indicate a 10% chance of a magnitude 7.5 or higher earthquake in the New Madrid Zone.

The possibilities jump to 30% for a magnitude 6 quake.

February is earthquake awareness month in Missouri.


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