20 small earthquakes hit near Kitsap Peninsula

KITSAP COUNTY -- At least 20 small earthquakes hit near the Kitsap Peninsula in less than 24 hours, between Wednesday and Thursday.

A 3.3 magnitude was the first of the swarm, reported at 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday about 1.4 miles northeast of Bremerton.

Kitsap County dispatch said they received a couple calls about the earthquake, but there are no reports of injuries or damage at this time.

Can a swarm of quakes lead to a bigger one?

A big earthquake, nicknamed "The Big One", has been on everyone's mind since a New Yorker article published in 2015 saying a catastrophic earthquake would hit the West Coast soon.

Experts say The Big One would cause so much damage that it would likely leave only the airport at JBLM operational for getting in emergency supplies, food and water.

Some scientists say earthquake swarms are not at all an indicator that something bigger is about to come... but a local seismologist says: it could be a signsomething is about to happen. 

"We are utterly failing to predict earthquakes. The best we can say is if there is some activity, it might be a little more likely there will be more activity. If there had been a magnitude 6.0 or magnitude 7.0 earthquake today then we might be on edge that there would be a bigger one coming," said University of Washington seismologist John Vidale.

Vidale said it takes a much bigger earthquake than we've had recently to cause damage.

Earthquake Weather?

With a mix of rain, sun and thunderstorms this week in Western Washington -- many people might wonder if the weather plays a factor in earthquakes. Scientists say no correlation with weather and earthquakes has been found. The United States Geological Survey says statistically, there is approximately an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, etc.

History of quakes in Western Washington

Just before 11 a.m. on February 28, 2001, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake began shaking Western Washington. It left behind millions of dollars in damage.

16 years later, Washington state has come a long way in preparing for the next big quake. Still, there's a long way to go.

Preparing for an earthquake

Researchers are designing a system to provide people with up to a two-minute warning before they feel an earthquake. ShakeAlert will notify them when a quake hits and give them at least a few seconds notice before they feel the shaking.

University of Washington professor and Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director John Vidale says they are now sharing the alert system with public safety officials to improve how they respond to earthquakes.

He said Wednesday's earthquake was the first time the ShakeAlert app alerted him.

A poll shows the majority of people who live in the Pacific Northwest are not prepared for an earthquake. 

PEMCO Insurance found that three-quarters (77 percent) of Washington and Oregon residents expect they’ll experience a big-time earthquake here, similar to the Nisqually earthquake which shook Washington 15 years ago creating $2 billion in damages and hurting 400 people.

But despite that fear, only half (52 percent) say they’re at least somewhat prepared, and two out of five (39 percent) admit they aren’t prepared at all

The CDC says planning and preparing are critical to surviving a natural disaster.

Experts recommend you prepare an earthquake kit with first aid items, medication, batteries and a cellphone charger, a flashlight, an emergency radio and enough food and water for three days. You should also have a plan in place for what your family will do if an earthquake causes landslides and roads are closed for weeks or months.