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Weekly Weather Event -Week of January 11th

January 15, 2021

Early on January 15th, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island. The epicenter of the earthquake was 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) northeast of the city of Majene at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). As of this writing, at least 67 people have died, and hundreds have been injured. Both figures along with the number of missing people are expected to increase as more of the rubble is cleared away. Approximately 15,000 residents have been displaced.

While earthquakes are not weather-related disasters, they are natural disasters that can produce devastating effects. NOAA operates two tsunami warning centers that monitor for earthquakes, as the moving of tectonic plates also causes risk of tsunamis. The National Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska covers the coastal United States and Canada, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center covers the Hawaiian Islands, U.S Pacific and Caribbean territories, and the British Virgin Islands.

Other agencies also monitor for earthquakes. This includes the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program of the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) which is a part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The USGS manages and maintains the National Seismic Hazard Model, and they are working to provide early warnings for high-risk areas of the United States.