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What is the deal with your inconsistent use of the accent in the city name?
It would be nice to say we're simply following convention, but in truth content contributors also find it a bit of a hassle always putting them in. Wikipedia gives a decent overview of where you'll find the accent: "On April 3, 1979, the San Jose City Council adopted San José, with the diacritical mark on the "e", as the spelling of the city name on the city seal, official stationery, office titles and department names. Also, by city council convention, this spelling of San José is used when the name is stated in both upper- and lower-case letters, but not when the name is stated only in upper-case letters. The accent reflects the Spanish version of the name, and the dropping of accents in all-capital writing was typical in Spanish. The name is still more commonly spelled without the diacritical mark as San Jose. The official name of the city remains City of San Jose with no diacritical mark, according to the City Charter. However, the city's website uses San José."
I am very familiar with severe weather alerts and know the
drill for when tornado warning sirens go off, but what is the protocol for earthquakes?
The short answer is “Drop, cover, and hold on,” but if the shaking is mild and lasts a short time you are unlikely to see anyone doing this. In any event, there won’t be a warning. Locals get earthquake information from a variety of news sources, agencies, and levels of government. A good place to start is the website of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program, where many go check for the latest data after perceiving an event or to file a report in response to Did You Feel It? For a general overview try the USGS Handbook for the San Francisco Bay Region. Relatively small seismic events are recorded in the Bay Area almost every day, but they are infrequently strong enough to be felt; on a short visit to San Jose you are unlikely to experience one.
How far away is the beach?
The Pacific Ocean is about 35-40 miles west of San Jose and travel through the coastal hills that protect the Santa Clara Valley is best accomplished by car. If you are limited to or prefer public transportation you’ll find that going to Santa Cruz (VTA Hwy 17 Express Bus.will leave you at the SC Metro Center, an easy walk from the ocean) or San Francisco (SF Muni Metro Lines L and N will leave you at Ocean Beach) are your best options. Dress warmly and bring a wet suit if you intend to go in.
There are plenty of hiking trails in San Jose. If you’re looking to walk along the water you’ll need to settle for a creek or lake, as the SJ extension of the Bay Trail--a regional trail planned to encircle San Francisco and San Pablo Bays with a continuous 250-mile network of bicycling and hiking trails--is not yet complete.