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The editors at Homeland Security Degrees decided to research the topic of:
Coping With Extreme Weather: A Survival Guide
Natural disasters have been around long before mankind built condos on shifting sandbars called barrier islands. Long before cities were built on active fault lines. Long before quaint towns in beautiful valleys, were built near rivers that flooded.
A quick history of Disasters:
65 million years ago: An asteroid hit Earth. Dinosaurs rendered extinct.
A few million years later...
4990 B.C.: The great flood covered the Earth, according to the Bible, Old Testament. Noah survived by building an ark.
A few thousand years later...
1775: Earthquake devastated Lisbon, which was then Europe's fourth-largest city. 60,000 people killed out of a population of 275,000.
A few hundred years later...
The Summer of 2012: 1,039 tornadoes reported in the U.S. Of the 81 fatalities from tornadoes worldwide in 2012, 68 of those were in the United States. The worst of these tornadoes outbreaks occurred April 13 and March 3, where 94 tornadoes were sighted in one day.
Why Worry About...
Cause an average of 60-65 fatalities and 1,500 injuries a year
Can produce wind speeds in excess of 200 mph
Can be 1 mile wide and stay on the ground over 50 miles
Day of the Killer Tornadoes: April, 1974
1. Paths of destruction stretched for more than 2,500 miles the longest trail of tornado violence ever recorded.
2. Across the Midwest, 315 people died and 5,484 were injured.
What’s being done now to protect people from tornadoes:
1. People encouraged to build a storm cellar or safe rooms
2. Some states and the federal government have begun to use financial incentives to encourage more resilient construction in tornado zones
3. Learn tornado warning signs. Although tornadoes vary greatly in their appearance and can offer little or no warning, it can be helpful to be aware of signs that a tornado could be imminent.
A dark, often greenish sky.
A wall cloud, particularly if it is rotating.
Large hail. Although not always, storms that produce tornadoes frequently produce large hail as well.
A loud roar, similar to the sound of a freight train.
Tornadoes may occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm and be quite visible. They may also be embedded in rain and not be visible at all.
4. Get the official Tornado Warning App from the American Red Cross. Available now on iPhone and Android devices from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.
Myth or Fact:
"When a tornado warning is issued, open all the windows in the house."
FACT: This is totally unnecessary and wastes valuable time in getting to your storm shelter location. If a tornado is going to pass close enough to do damage to your house, there's nothing you can do to minimize it.
"Tornadoes do not hit big cities."
Fact: Tornadoes hit large metropolitan areas with a high relative frequency.
Tornadoes are not diverted by any structure or terrain.
"Tornadoes have picked up objects and people and set them down withoutdamage or injury."
FACT: There are multiple reports of objects, animals, and people being transported up to a quarter mile without serious damage or injury rare.
"Tornadoes won't cross over rivers or other bodies of water."
Myth: It doesn't matter what's in front of it - a tornado will pass over or through it."If you're in your car on the road when a tornado is approaching, hiding under an overpass is your safest bet."
Myth: This is probably the worst tornado myth. Taking shelter under an overpass is one of the most dangerous things you can do when a tornado is approaching.
Every second, a large hurricane releases the energy of 10 atomic bombs.
A typical hurricane can dump 6 inches to a foot of rain across a region.
The planet Jupiter has a hurricane which has been going on for over 300 years. It can be seen as a red spot on the planet. This hurricane on Jupiter is bigger than the Earth itself.
What can be done now to protect you from hurricanes:
1. Ask, does your home meets current building code requirements for high-wind region
2. Move anything that can become flying debris inside your house or garage before a storm strikes
3. Become familiar with your community's disaster preparedness plans and create a family plan.
4. Identify escape routes from your home and neighborhood.
Myth or fact:
Myth: Coastal regions are the only places that will see flooding during a hurricane. Fact: The risk of flooding depends not just on your proximity to the shore, but also the prevalence of bodies of water near you, how low-lying your street or yard is, and also where storm runoff drains are located relative to your property
Myth: The windows are the most vulnerable part of my home during a hurricane.
Fact: Yes, windows are liable to break under pressure from extreme wind or upon impact by wind-drive debris, but windows are far from the only part of your home that could easily be breached during a hurricane.
Myth: You need to crack the windows for a hurricane.
Fact: You should always keep your windows locked tightly during a major storm to best protect your home from wind and especially airborne debris.
Myth: A mandatory evacuation really only applies to people living in trailers and along the coastline.
Fact: If you live in an area that has been deemed a mandatory evacuation zone, that means you need to leave no matter the type of home you live in or its location.
Flash Floods and Floods...
Are the #1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms; more than 90 fatalities a year
What can be done now to protect you and your property from floods:
1. Raise community awareness about the flood zone
2. Conduct risk assessments. If you live in a flood zone, insurance is a must.
3. Have a good early warning system in place
4. Build dams, dikes and levees and flood walls that may reduce flooding
Myth or facts about floods:
Myth: Flash floods only occur in the eastern half of U.S.
Fact: They can occur in all 50 states.
Myth: SUVs and pickups are safe to drive through flood waters.
Fact: Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
Myth: Flash floods occur only along flowing streams.
Fact: They can occur where there are creek beds. They can happen in cities.
Several thousand shocks of varying sizes occur annually in the United States,
70 to 75 damaging earthquakes occur throughout the world each year.
The largest earthquakes felt in the United States were along the New Madrid Fault in Missouri, where a 3-month-long series of quakes from 1811 to 1812 included three quakes larger than a magnitude of 8 on the Richter Scale.
What can be done now to protect you and your property from earthquakes:
1. Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
2. Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
3. Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
Myth or facts about earthquakes:
Myth: Use a doorway for protection
Fact: Doorways can provide protection, but not all doorways are built into the physical structure of the building.
Myth: Good building codes mean safe buildings.
Fact: The best building codes do nothing for buildings built before the code was enacted.
Myth: Scientists can predict earthquakes.
Fact: No scientist or university has successfully predicted an earthquake's time within days, nor do they expect to be able to do so in the near future.
Top 10 Deadliest Natural Disasters in U.S.
1. Sept. 8, 1900: Category 4 Hurricane hits Galveston. 8,000 people dead.
2. Aug. 9, 2005: Hurricane Katrina smothers Louisiana coast, killed at least 1,836 people and inflicted damages estimated at around $125 billion.
3. Early 1930s, the Dust Bowl. Half a million Americans homeless.
4. April 18, 1906: Great San Francisco Fire and Earthquake ,3 000 lives lost. Approximately 225,000 people found themselves without a home.
5. Sept. 16, 1928: Okeechobee Hurricane: 2,500 lives lost.
6. Summer 1980: Heatwave. Agricultural damage tallied an estimated $48 billion due to a massive drought, and 10,000 people died from heat and heat stress-related ailments.
7. Summer 1988: Heatwave. Between 5,000 and 10,000 people succumbed to health complications stemming from the sweltering heat.
8. May 31, 1889: The Johnstown Flood. The flood leveled 1,600 homes and killed 2,209 people.
9. Oct. 8, 1871: Peshtigo (Wisconsin) fire. By the time the inferno subsided, it had scorched 12 towns and left roughly 1,200 dead.
10.Mar. 18, 1925: Three states tornado. lllinois, Indiana, Missouri. The tornado demolished more than 15,000 homes. Of the nearly 700 people killed, 613 were from Illinois.