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Nowhere safe: natural hazard maps
March 14, 2011 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about natural disasters in your area? There's a map for that! For earthquakes, there is an interactive map of the US showing the maximum peak ground acceleration that your area has a 10% chance of encountering over the next ten years (about PGA, worldwide risks), and a map of global tsunamis. For weather, look at all F5 tornadoes in the US, tornado risks abroad, US hurricanes and cyclones (this map can also do hail, floods, drought and other weather hazards), and billion dollar natural disasters in the US. For bonus worries: global nuclear sites and volcanoes. More generally, a PDF of Presidential disaster declarations and Reliefweb's global crises maps. And a big map of all natural disasters going on right now.
posted by blahblahblah (23 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jeez, the F5 zone on that tornado map is way wider than I expected.

Good post though, thanks!
posted by nevercalm at 11:26 AM on March 14, 2011


Yeah, that New Madrid fault is a bitch. Estimates are that the next big one on that fault could leave 60% of Memphis in rubble.
posted by blucevalo at 11:27 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, forgot to include Slate's safest place from a natural disaster: Storrs, Conneticut.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:28 AM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think some people's definition of "natural disaster" is different from mine.
posted by amro at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2011


(Check the Event Description on my link.)
posted by amro at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2011


Thinking about natural disasters in your area?

No thanks, I'm good.
posted by DU at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2011



Yeah, that New Madrid fault is a bitch. Estimates are that the next big one on that fault could leave 60% of Memphis in rubble.

They say that seismic activity around New Madrid is a recent thing, in terms of deep time, in that you do not see morphology (mountains, valleys, etc) associated with long term movement.

But also, such intraplate quakes are associated with old rift zones, such as the one in the middle of the North American Plate, which fused very long before the dinosaurs.

Seems contradictory. If anyone can explain this, please do.
posted by Danf at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2011


Warning: clicking through to the epidemic details on the big board is not good for your mental health.
posted by Iridic at 11:43 AM on March 14, 2011


From blahblahblahblah's link above:

"After much debate, then, we settled on Slate's 'America's Best Place to Avoid Death Due to Natural Disaster': the area in and around Storrs, Conn., home to the University of Connecticut. It lies in Tolland County, which was not part of the 1999 federal disaster declaration for Tropical Storm Floyd. It's a safe 50 miles from the sound and not close to any rivers. It also has relatively easy access to a major city (Hartford) in the event an evacuation or hospitalization becomes necessary."

Speaking as someone who grew up in this area -- the tradeoff is that it is boring as all crying hell.

I've been trying all this time to convince myself that the "omigod nothing happens here ever" fits I had in high school were just teenage drama -- but I keep on coming across all these statistics that somehow scientifically prove that my home county and the people in it are is the most mundane and ordinary ever, and I was right about everything all along.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Aaah yes I remember the map from the last link, from my bird-flu-monitoring days. We called it the Flashing Red Chicken map (thank God they finally turned the flash off). This is NOT a site for the hypochondriacs amongst us.
posted by Quiplash at 12:00 PM on March 14, 2011


Iridic, thankfully some of the "epidemics" are a little more mundane.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2011


A southern Minnesota school is closed for a couple of days after more than a quarter of its students became ill. Flu-like symptoms caused 19 of 70 students - and some staff - to be absent Tuesday at Hollandale Christian School. The school called off classes Wednesday and Thursday to give students and staff a chance to get better. Principal Lisa Vos tells the Austin Daily Herald the school has done a thorough cleaning of desks, chairs, counters and doorknobs. The school plans to reopen Friday. A musical scheduled for Friday has been postponed for a week.

Also, volcanoes, hailstorms, nuclear plant meltdowns, giant asteroids hurtling towards the planet...I can't fault them for being thorough.
posted by gimonca at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2011


I am happy to see the SUPERVOLCANO chart below the map.
posted by fusinski at 1:02 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This winter did showcase a new "natural disaster" that does affect Connecticut and Storrs: excessive snow killing roofs on older buildings. Roof collapses are way more dramatic than I would have thought too: right down the street is a garage that looks like it got hit by a tornado.
posted by smackfu at 1:03 PM on March 14, 2011


"Then the area where the entity is now located [Virginia Beach] will be among the safety lands, as will be portions of what is now Ohio, Indiana
and Illinois, and much of the southern portion of Canada and the eastern portion of Canada; while the western land - much of that is to be
disturbed - in this land - as, of course, much in other lands."


(Edgar Cayce's prediction for 2012)

He also says. . .""As to the changes physical again: The earth will be broken up in the western portion of America. The greater portion of Japan must go into the
sea. The upper portion of Europe will be changed as in the twinkling of an eye. Land will appear off the east coast of America."

I assign no credence whatsoever to Cayce, but it is eerie, the Japan stuff.
posted by Danf at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2011


Tornado map is super interesting, seems like all of the F5's break on one line across Iowa....

...unfortunately I happen to live along that line.
posted by sararah at 2:10 PM on March 14, 2011


F5's also break along a line for Tennessee/Kentucky/Alabama (Appalachians slowing the storm) and then for Kansas/Missouri/Arkansas (Ozarks). I don't know what topographical feature is causing the line in Iowa, however.
posted by sararah at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2011


They say that seismic activity around New Madrid is a recent thing, in terms of deep time, in that you do not see morphology (mountains, valleys, etc) associated with long term movement.

But also, such intraplate quakes are associated with old rift zones, such as the one in the middle of the North American Plate, which fused very long before the dinosaurs.

Seems contradictory. If anyone can explain this, please do.


Most of the morphology you're looking for associated with New Madrid has been buried. Keep in mind that places like Memphis sit on 2500 feet of unconsolidated sediments. The Mississippi Embayment is like a plunging trough from the New Madrid area going south-southwest. That link notes the Precambrian (>542 MY) origin of the Reelfoot Rift that the New Madrid zone is associated with. However, much of what we know about seismic activity in the area does come from evidence that is recent (last 6000 years or so).
posted by pappy at 2:25 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a lifelong Midwesterner, clicking on the dates on the tornado map brings back memories of very specific evenings spent in the basement glued to the TV with baseball size hail hitting the roof and the dog hiding behind the couch. I'm very thankful it's never gone beyond that.

(Always wear closed-toed shoes whilst hiding in the basement from the tornado, says my mother, in case you have to wander through the debris of your house later. This is a terrifying prospect when you're eight years old.)
posted by sararah at 2:30 PM on March 14, 2011


Let's not talk about F5 tornadoes in Wisconsin, ok? My wife might stumble into this thread and I don't want to spend the entire summer barricaded in the basement any time a good wind kicks up.

She seriously dislikes tornadoes.
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on March 14, 2011


If our governor had her way, she'd probably lobby to have "Mexicans" listed as an Arizona Natural Disaster. That said, ours looks like a great state to place a datacenter, assuming Palo Verde doesn't go anywhere...
posted by disillusioned at 3:32 PM on March 14, 2011


I still have my tee shirt from the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.
posted by HGH at 3:39 PM on March 14, 2011


This one has been pretty bad.
posted by one_bean at 1:43 AM on March 15, 2011


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