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The Big Quake in LA is Coming

 San Andreas fault 'locked, loaded and ready to roll' with big earthquake, expert says
San Andreas fault

This simulation by the Southern California Earthquake Center shows the shaking that could be felt by Los Angeles during a possible magnitude 8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault.  (SCEC)
Rong-Gong Lin IIRong-Gong Lin IIContact Reporter

Southern California’s section of the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll,” a leading earthquake scientist said Wednesday at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach.

The San Andreas fault is one of California’s most dangerous, and is the state’s longest fault. Yet for Southern California, the last big earthquake to strike the southern San Andreas was in 1857, when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake ruptured an astonishing 185 miles between Monterey County and the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles.

It has been quiet since then — too quiet, said Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Although the Pacific plate is moving northwest relative to North America at about 16 feet, or 5 meters, every 100 years, the southern San Andreas fault has been quiet for more than a century.  (Thomas Jordan / Southern California Earthquake Center)

“The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go,” Jordan said in the opening keynote talk.

Other sections of the San Andreas fault also are far overdue for a big quake. Further southeast of the Cajon Pass, such as in San Bernardino County, the fault has not moved substantially since an earthquake in 1812, and further southeast toward the Salton Sea, it has been relatively quiet since about 1680 to 1690.

Here’s the problem: Scientists have observed that based on the movement of tectonic plates, with the Pacific plate moving northwest of the North American plate, earthquakes should be relieving about 16 feet of accumulated plate movement every 100 years. Yet the San Andreas has not relieved stress that has been building up for more than a century.

Jordan said it’s important that California focus on becoming resilient to a potential huge earthquake, one as strong as a magnitude 8. He praised Los Angeles’ plan to require earthquake retrofits on apartment and concrete buildings, pushed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“It’s remarkable that this happened,” Jordan said. “We know politically how difficult it is to make these kinds of changes.”

Other areas of focus have included strengthening Los Angeles’ vulnerable aqueduct systems and its telecommunications networks.
Two active Southern California faults may cause a Big One by rupturing together

A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report warned that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault would cause more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and severe, long-lasting disruptions. Among the predicted problems: The sewer system could be out of commission for six months.

Such an earthquake could cause shaking for nearly two minutes, with the strongest shaking in the Coachella Valley, Inland Empire and Antelope Valley, but it also could send pockets of strong shaking into areas where sediments trap shaking waves, such as the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles.

The devastating potential of the fault became clear with a 1857 temblor, which had an estimated magnitude of 7.9. It became known as the Fort Tejon quake. The name is something of a misnomer because it started farther north, way up in Parkfield in Monterey County. The quake then barreled south on the San Andreas for about 185 miles, through Fort Tejon near the northern edge of Los Angeles County, then east toward the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County, near what is now the 15 Freeway.

The quake was so powerful that the soil liquefied, causing trees as far away as Stockton to sink. Trees were also uprooted west of Fort Tejon. The shaking lasted 1 to 3 minutes.

Even though the San Andreas fault does not go directly into Los Angeles — it is 30 miles away from downtown — the city is expected to be heavily shaken by a large earthquake on that fault. For instance, simulations of a possible magnitude 7.8 quake on the San Andreas fault that begins at the Salton Sea and spreads west toward the San Gabriel mountains show seismic shaking waves "bent into the Los Angeles area," Jordan said. One video shows strong ground-shaking stretching from northern San Diego County to Barstow.
ShakeOut earthquake scenario

Simulated shaking from a possible magnitude-7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

Using the world's largest supercomputer at the time, the Southern California Earthquake Center in 2010 unveiled a simulated magnitude 8 earthquake that begins in Monterey County, like in 1857, but travels even farther south, heading toward the Mexican border. The L.A. Basin and the San Fernando Valley would be hit hard because the shaking would be trapped by soft soils in the valley and basin.  
Simulated shaking from possible magnitude-8 earthquake on San Andreas fault

The simulated shaking from a possible magnitude-8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

"You can see that this area of influence by the shaking has now expanded out to huge proportions," Jordan said. "You see that big directivity pulse out in front, as that energy is being shoved down that fault, that directivity pulse leads energy into seismic waves that excite the sedimentary basins, like the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin," and through San Bernardino, Jordan said.

"You'll notice large shaking in the Los Angeles region persisting for long periods of time," he said.

Engineer finds examples of "horrific" construction in Dallas tornado

An engineer who inspected damage across North Texas after Saturday’s deadly tornadoes says he saw “rampant irresponsibleness” in the way many homes and buildings were constructed.

“We saw a tremendous number of improper attachment of the walls to the foundations, which just made walls fall either in or out,” said Timothy Marshall, a forensic engineer and meteorologist who volunteered as part of a damage survey team created by the Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service.

The construction Marshall flagged as faulty included that of a Glenn Heights elementary school that suffered extensive damage.

“We saw problems at [Donald T.] Shields Elementary school that were horrific in my view as an engineer,” Marshall said. “Walls not attached properly, and they’re just falling down like a house of cards.”

The school’s main structure survived, and officials say it will be repaired. But some of its brick exterior walls fell away, exposing the school’s interior to the storm. Inside was a tangled mess of wires, broken glass, drenched carpets and steel girders jutting menacingly from a ceiling.

Had students been inside when the storm hit, they clearly could have been injured.

Marshall said he toured the damaged school with school officials this week, and he was shocked by the lack of proper attachments linking the walls to the rest of the structure.

Someone “tried to nail a steel bottom plate to the concrete,” he said. “There was no connection [between] walls, there was no connection at the roof, and it was simply nailed to the concrete foundation. That’s not going to cut it in my book, and it won’t cut it in any [building] code I know.

“You don’t need to be an engineer to understand this stuff,” he said. “The school officials, they saw this, and they knew immediately that this was a real problem.”

A spokeswoman for Red Oak ISD, Adi Bryant, said the school was built in 2008. In a press release issued Friday, Red Oak ISD named Ratliff Constructors as the construction company. Multiple calls to officials at Ratcliff have not been returned.

“Right now we’re worried about getting our kids ready for next Tuesday,” Bryant said. Shield’s 500 students are to resume classes in the former Red Oak Junior High when they return from winter break.

The National Weather Service sends out assessment teams after major storms, trying to determine where tornadoes started and stopped, what their wind speeds were, and how much damage they caused. A factor in determining wind speeds is the soundness of structures and how much damage they suffered.

That’s where Marshall comes in. He has worked often with the Weather Service and volunteered to help this week.

“He’s pretty much the one that wrote the book and teaches how damage surveys should be done,” said Mark Fox, a National Weather Service meteorologist who led the team. “He’s one of the best.”

Marshall posted a photo of the damaged school on his Facebook page this week, commenting that the walls “were in essence free-standing.” The post drew dozens of comments and attracted notice from experts in his field.

He estimates the wind that buffeted the school was only about 85 to 90 mph. Typical construction codes require methods that should withstand that sort of wind.

Once winds approach 150 or 200 mph, almost no structure will withstand it. If winds at the school had been that strong, Marshall said, the interior structure that supports its roof probably would not have survived.

“I let the Weather Service know that it didn’t take much wind to knock down these walls,” Marshall said.

He also posted on Facebook photos of other damage across the area. In addition to Glenn Heights, he visited Garland, Midlothian and Sunnyvale and found faults in construction in each area.

“The vast majority of houses we looked at did not have proper attachments,” Marshall said Wednesday. “It didn’t matter what size of house. It didn’t matter what city it was in.”

Constructing stronger homes and buildings makes financial sense and is good public policy, says Kevin Simmons, a professor of economics at Austin College in Sherman, who studies the issue.

While it’s not feasible to construct homes to withstand 200 mph winds, he says, such wind speeds are rare. An EF3 tornado, like the one that hit Ovilla and Glenn Heights, has wind speeds as high as 155 mph. But it will also have lower wind speeds in much of its path. Most affected homes experience winds that can be designed for in a cost-effective way, he says.

Florida adopted an enhanced building code after Hurricane Andrew revealed inadequate construction. Moore, Okla., adopted a similar code after the 2013 tornado that caused $2 billion in damage and left seven students in an elementary school among its dead.

Many of the improvements are as simple as attaching walls to structures securely, Simmons said.

“What really drives the cost of damage up is when those walls fall down,” Simmons said. “If you can keep the exterior of the structure essentially intact, you’re going to really reduce your cost.”


Tornado and Hail Damage in Dallas from December 2015

Should your home or business be impacted in any way from the recent tornado and hail storms in December 2015, Please contact our office for a free inspection of your property. We can give you a independent assessment of your damage and if it makes sense you can retain our office to be your public adjuster.

Texas Insurance Regulators Remind Roofers, Adjusters: You Can’t Do Both

June 3, 2014

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has issued a bulletin to insurance companies, insurance adjusters and roofers, reminding them that a roofing contractor who is also an insurance adjuster cannot perform both duties on the same property.

House Bill (HB) 1183, enacted by the 83rd Texas Legislature and effective on Sept. 1, 2013, established prohibited conduct of insurance adjusters, public insurance adjusters and roofing contractors under the Insurance Code.

“Recent legislation protects consumers from a clear conflict of interest. A licensed adjuster cannot serve as both the adjuster and roofing contractor on the same project and vice versa,” said Commissioner of Insurance Julia Rathgeber. “Our goal in issuing this bulletin is to educate both the industry and consumers and ensure compliance with the law.”

The law prohibits licensed adjusters from adjusting a loss related to a roofing claim if the adjuster is a roofing contractor, involved in providing roofing services, or is a controlling person in a roofing-related business.

Likewise, roofing contractors are prohibited from acting as insurance adjusters or advertising to adjust claims for any property for which the contractor may provide roofing services, regardless of whether the contractor holds an adjuster license.

Source: TDI

Major Damage to Orr Family Farms from F5 Tornado in OK

An F 5 Tornado recently devastated a section of the town of Moore in Oklahoma near Oklahoma City.
DIETZ INTERNATIONAL was on the ground helping clients get their lives and businesses back to their pre damage condition.
We  were retained by one of the most famous farms/adventure parks in Moore called Orr Family Farms. This is a 100 acre facility which had many of their buildings were  destroyed.Over 76 horses were killed. The Orr family  attended a pet funeral to include many of the horses that were found after the storm subsided.
Their facility also houses multiple buildings that includes a restaurant, mile long track for a train, merry go rounds, talking hogs, a race track,trampolines, cycle go karts,slides and a large lake for excellent bass fishing. Of the thousands of visitors every week, some of the most popular rides are the zip-line and a building housing a maze which was totally destroyed.
This is a beautiful facility with red and white barn style structures many of which have been destroyed by the forces of nature and 200 mph winds.
With our assistance in their complex insurance claim, the rebuilding  began shortly thereafter and just  8 months later, Orr Family Farm has been  completely  restored and better than ever. Visitors  can now once again  enjoy this wonderful local Oklahoma landmark.

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