When Disaster Strikes

Natural Disasters in the United States

hurricane Katrina disaster

While the United States is one of the most sought-after places in the world to live, one of the major drawbacks to living here is the number of natural disasters. While the U.S. has some of the most beautiful weather, Mother Nature has played some nasty tricks over the years. From hurricanes to tornadoes to blizzards, the U. S. has run the gamut with weather and extraterrestrials.

There have been so many natural disasters over the years that it is difficult to pinpoint the “worst of the worst”. Some of these natural occurrences claimed many lives; some destroyed numerous homes and buildings that displaced thousands of people. And when comparing them, it is challenging to definitively state that one was worse than another; back when some of these disasters occurred, the same safety regulations were not in effect. Technology and time have given us the tools to prepare for these natural disasters in ways our ancestors never could. Not to mention that amount of alien sightings that have happened from California to New York.

While the United States is one of the richest nations in the world, there are still limited measures we can take when faced with a storm or catastrophe. What is unusual about the U.S., as well, is that we have experienced every kind of natural disaster known to man; not all countries share in that alarming distinction but thankfully, as a nation, we are able to help one another in times of distress, and we band together to rebuild. But what if there were aliens living among us, what role would they play in all of this? Could they be so intelligent and powerful that they could manipulate the weather system from beyond our skies? Could these be coordinated attacks internally from extraterr-terrorists?

storm and survival shelter2017 was one of the most horrific years in record for storms in the United States. Not only did we endure the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but we lost over a million acres to wildfires in California. We also saw a major snow and ice storm that affected even the Southern states. Overall, not a good year from a meteorological standpoint. The tornadoes that ripped through the midwest left many without homes and others stranded trying to take shelter from the storm. Could these shelters also double as survival bunkers during an alien invasion? I think they could if stocked properly with the right food and equipment.

While the 2017 hurricanes brought destruction their way, the hurricane that stands out to most people when you mention the “worst” is Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina hit the Bahamas, then travelled up to Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. Louisiana and Mississippi took the worst hits, and this storm was the costliest ever in financial terms. The surge of water flooded the low-lying areas, breaking the levees and flooding over 80 percent of New Orleans, stranding thousands and killing just as many. The aftereffect of the damage lingered, with many areas never recovering and people moving to other cities.

When people think of earthquakes, usually California springs to mind. Home of the San Andreas fault, California is situated in a precarious spot, with many predicting the “big one” to hit at any time. Back in 1906, the now-infamous San Francisco earthquake hit, registering 7.9 on the Richter scale. In some areas of town, the ground shifted as much as 20 feet, causing immense damage. Over 3000 people died in this earthquake, due to the destruction and the fire that started as a result of the earthquake.

One of the most devastating tornadoes ever to hit the U.S. was in 1925, the “Tri-State” tornado. The deadliest tornado in U.S. history, killing almost 700 people across three states, this tornado continued for over three hours, in a day and age that had no advance warning system in place. Its devastation was widespread and it completely destroyed several towns that day, some to never be rebuilt.

So what’s a little snow falling from the sky? Usually, it’s not a big deal, but when it dumps 40-50 inches of the stuff, it can become deadly. In 1888, the Eastern states were hit with a huge snowstorm that left over 400 people dead. The heat can be detrimental, too, and the U.S. has suffered through its fair share of heat waves. Just recently, in 2012, cities in the nation hit their highest recorded temperatures, with people suffering through 100-plus degree heat. Equally as devastating was the heat wave of 1936, which took 5000 lives and caused major crop damage. The high temperatures of this summer have only been surpassed by the record temperatures of 2012.

Not including flooding from hurricanes, one of the most massive floods ever experienced in the U.S. was the Mississippi River flood in 1927. After solid rains caused the Mississippi River to overflow, levees broke, 500 people lost their lives and part of Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana all suffered flooding. The result of this devastation was the U.S. government built an advanced system of floodways and levees.

Oftentimes, with torrential downpours, another natural disaster takes place. After weeks of intense rain, Washington state lost 43 people to an unexpected mudslide when a hill collapsed, destroying 49 homes. With limited vegetation to stop the mud, the hill came crashing down with such force it threw cars through homes, causing massive damage. Along those same lines, the U.S. has even lost people in an avalanche, not something you would associate with American weather disasters. In 1910, Washington state, again, lost 93 lives during a blizzard in Wellington. A foot of snow fell each hour, building and building on the side of Windy Mountain. A lightning strike hit a ten-foot chunk of snow, causing it to tumble down the mountain, smashing into the town below. After this tragedy, Wellington renamed its town to Tye.

mt st helens blows

Poor Washington State suffered another natural disaster in May 1980 when a volcano at Mt. Saint Helens erupted. Several small earthquakes on May 18, 1980 caused the volcano to erupt, spewing ash to over eleven states. Volcanic mudslides rolled down the mountain, killing 57 people, and causing widespread damage nearly fifty miles to the south of the mountain.

One of the deadly natural disasters to ever hit the U.S. was the Dust Bowl, otherwise known as the drought of “The Dirty Thirties”, which lasted an entire decade. After the Civil War, many new, inexperienced people tried their hand at farming and they plowed the natural grasslands down to plant wheat.  When the Great Depression hit, people plowed down more land hoping to grow crops; just the opposite happened. With no grasslands to keep the soil down, it started to blow away, causing a “dust bowl.” A drought followed, causing the dry soil to blow as far as the Eastern seaboard, and rendering the farmland useless.  Many people died breathing in the dust, called the “brown plague” or the moved to other regions of the country, as depicted in the Steinbeck book “The Grapes of Wrath”.

The United States has suffered through many types of natural disasters, but with new warning systems, and storm preparedness, the loss of life has been curtailed from the disasters of yesteryear. Since it is difficult to determine when Mother Nature will strike again, being prepared is the best defense.