- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two dozen U.S. lawmakers from California, Washington and Oregon are calling for funding of an earthquake warning system designed to give residents a few seconds of notice of imminent shaking after a quake occurs.

An alert system exists in Japan, Mexico and several other quake-prone countries.

The West Coast representatives sent a letter Thursday to the Appropriations Committee calling for $16 million a year to build, operate and maintain an alert system.

The move comes days after a magnitude-5.1 quake rattled the greater Los Angeles region. The shaking caused scattered damage, but no serious injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey has partnered with three universities to test a prototype warning system. The system can’t predict earthquakes and people at the epicenter won’t get any warning, but those farther away could benefit.

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