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Hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes in the USA: how to stay alive

Tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, forest fires, floods, drought. On 10, millions of square meters of US territory, which covers 11 climatic areas, everything happens. ForumDaily studied in which states you can face a natural cataclysm, what to do if you were in a disaster zone, and also talked to people from the CIS who experienced the violent temper of American nature.

In which states can a natural cataclysm await you? Illustration ForumDaily

In which states can a natural cataclysm await you? Illustration ForumDaily

Louisiana and Florida: the birthplace of hurricanes

Hurricane season lasts from early June to late November. The period from mid-August to early October is considered the most dangerous. Along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and Hawaii, the most devastating hurricanes sweep.

The most unlucky state in this regard is Louisiana. It has experienced more than 10 shocks in the past 20 years, including 2 tropical storms and 7 devastating hurricanes. During this time, insurance companies have paid more than $ 32 billion to homeless residents. Hurricane Katrina, which swept through Louisiana in 2005, caused some of the worst damage in US history.

More powerful but less devastating was Hurricane Andrew. In August 1992, he hit south Florida and southwest Louisiana. And in the spring of this year, Louisiana flooded. Under the water were dozens of settlements, thousands of residents had to be evacuated.

In late summer, another state suffered from hurricanes and tropical storms. This is Florida. Over the past 10 years, more than 10 hurricanes of varying degrees of destruction and 3 tropical storms have been recorded here. Insurance companies had to part with $ 30 billions.

In addition, the central part of Florida is called the American capital of lightning. It is here that the brightest and most dangerous flashes are recorded that lead to fires.

Texas: Snowstorms and Tornadoes

At least 1200 tornadoes are recorded in the United States every year. The favorite time of this natural phenomenon is spring. And one of the favorite states is Texas, then Kansas and Oklahoma.

Over the past 10 years, Texas has experienced 50 tornadoes, snow storms and hurricanes. Insurers paid out over $ 25 billion. Local residents have to put up with heavy downpours, tornadoes and hurricanes. The windiest cities are Galveston and Houston. Last year, 9 tornadoes swept through Texas at once, and more than a dozen people became victims.

The entire central part of the USA - Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois - is even called "Tornado Alley." For decades, about 90% of tornadoes have been formed here. The alley collected the saddest statistics in 1965, when more than 30 tornadoes with a crater height of about 10 km were recorded here. In the states of this "Alley" that year, more than 300 people died and went missing, and more than 2000 people were injured.

These states have special requirements for the construction of buildings. Stepan Perfilyev knows what it is like to live in anticipation of a tornado. In 1996, he changed Moscow to the state of Texas, and the wind blowing at a speed of 200 km / h became the norm for him.

“Tornadoes have become a part of our life and have already become commonplace. You hear a siren, grab the children and run to the shelter, ”says Stepan.

A refuge is a large bunker that, as they say, does not burn in fire, does not drown in water and is not afraid of a tornado. “This is a large box that is bolted to the floor and can withstand the maximum wind pressure,” explains Stepan. “I put it in the garage 3 years ago, and this shelter has already saved our lives: 5-6 times, my wife and children took refuge here from a tornado.”


Stepan's family is hiding in the bunker during training alarms, and the children have already turned it into a small playroom. Photo by Stepan Perfilyev

The children of Stepan, by the way, treat these gifts of nature calmly. They are accustomed from birth, like all residents of Addison and other cities in Texas, where tornadoes drop in.

“There are drills in the city once a month, so the children know what to do and where to run. They even equipped the shelter with everything they personally need - toys, pencils - so there is even a supply of entertainment in case of a tornado. In addition to toys, of course, food and water are stored there - that is, all the necessary emergency supplies, ”says Stepan.


The family of Stepan Perfilyev is already accustomed to the fact that tornadoes have become constant companions of their lives. Photo by Stepan Perfilyev

Those who do not have special shelters, during a training or real alarm, take refuge in rooms without windows - such, according to the building rules, should be in every house.

Oklahoma and Illinois: at the heart of Tornado Alley

The best rescuers in the United States would come from the inhabitants of this state. Over the past 10, Oklahoma’s population has had to endure 39 tornadoes of varying degrees of severity. Therefore, it is not surprising that people cope with natural disasters as professional lifeguards.

The state of Illinois, which is also located on "Tornado Alley", is "lucky" not only for tornadoes and hurricanes. In winter, powerful snowstorms and storms arrive from the Great Lakes region, which completely paralyze the life of the local population.

Alabama and Tennessee: storms and storms

Snowstorms, tropical storms, tornadoes and hurricanes are something that the residents of Alabama and Tennessee have to put up with. In the first state, the cities of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham suffer the most from the elements. Well, the entire state, without exception, gets a portion of tropical showers, which the Gulf of Mexico generously supplies them with. In Tennessee, residents have already come to terms with the fact that their state is hit by the most powerful series of tornadoes.



Indoors, if there is no special shelter:

Close all windows and do not approach them.

Turn off all electrical appliances.

The safest place is the doorway.


Do not approach bridges, trees, billboards, poles, cars.

The best place to hide is an underground passage. Or find a depression in the ground, lie down and cover your head with your hands.

Move away from flammable objects - gas stations, power lines.

In car

Park near the wall in the wind or in a ditch.

Ohio: sweeps snow and shakes

It is difficult to say what time of year is calm in this state. In winter - snow storms, in spring the center and the south of the state suffer from tornadoes, and earthquakes occur in summer and autumn. Over the past 10 years, there have been more than three dozen shakes.

Natalia Oruil left Ohio after the divorce precisely because she could not cope with the winter domestic difficulties. “There is so much snow that sometimes you just can't leave the house. You can't cope without masculine strength, ”she says. photo

In winter, snowstorms paralyze Ohio. photo

The first serious snowfall after her divorce from her husband became a real catastrophe for her: “I was trapped at home, I could not dig out the car, it was very difficult to cope with life. It was necessary for 2-3 of the day to sit in the house before the rescuers helped to get out into the street. Houses always needed to have a supply of food, batteries, flashlights. ”

Natalia, without hesitation, decided to move. “Having survived one winter, I realized that I could not live in this state. I found a job at a bank, had a Skype interview, and moved to Arizona. The biggest attack now is the heat. But after the snowstorms for me it is not torture, but rest, ”she admits.

Missouri: great floods and tornadoes

If we study the history of the most powerful floods in the United States, several states will appear in all of them (because if they are drowning, then they will be big) and Missouri will definitely be among them. The most devastating "Great Mississippi Flood" occurred here in 1927 year. 85 people died, more than 1000 were injured. Almost 18 hours were continuous downpours, the river overflowed and broke through the dam. In some places, the water rose to 10 meters, and the Mississippi River itself spilled into 97 kilometers. Besides Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were flooded.

This year in Missouri, there was also a strong flood that killed more than 20 people.

Missouri was also notorious as a state in which a tornado-killer rushed in, killing people from 1986 to 250 in the 500 year. The exact number of victims could not be named, because many bodies were carried into the river.

But this nature was not enough. In the 1992 year, heavy rains poured in Missouri throughout the fall, a lot of snow fell in winter, and in the spring of 1993, it flooded in such a way that the flood of 1927 in its power seemed not such a big disaster. Flooding lasted six months: from April to October. Tens of thousands of houses were destroyed, fifty people died and went missing. Material damage amounted to more than $ 15 billion, not including insurance company payments.

California, Alaska and Nevada: Ring of Earthquakes

There are several seismically active zones in the USA. About 90% earthquakes occur in California, western Nevada and Alaska. The most devastating earthquakes occurred in San Francisco in the 1906 year and in Alaska in the 1964 year.

In San Francisco, a natural disaster killed about 3000 people and destroyed 80% of buildings. The 9,2 magnitude earthquake in Alaska was the most powerful in US history. Then more than 100 people died, and most of them were due to the tsunami with 20-meter waves, which covered the state after the earthquake.


The first sign of a tsunami is change (rise or fall) of sea level along the coastline.

When approaching a tsunami, go to an elevation, as far as possible from the coast.

If there is no hill, move away at least 3 km from the coast.

Do not approach and do not approach the sea to look at how the tsunami goes to the coast: when the wave is in sight, you will not have time to hide and escape.

Never go down to the sea to look at the bottom exposed during a tsunami or to look at a tsunami. When you see the approaching wave, it will be too late to save.

Remember that a tsunami is a series of waves, the break between which can be up to several hours. Only special services can clear the alarm.

The cause of these earthquakes, like most tremors in the United States, is called the movement of the Pacific and North American plates, between which the famous San Andreas Fault is located. Every 120-140 years, earthquakes of more than 8,5 magnitude occur here. Earthquakes with a magnitude of about 8 occur more often - once every 10 years. Also included in the Pacific Rim is the state of Washington, where earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 8 are recorded once every 20 years.

Scale earthquake intensity

1 score (imperceptible) - marked only by special devices;

2 points (very weak) - only felt by very sensitive pets and some people in the upper floors of buildings;

3 points (weak) - only felt inside certain buildings, like shaking from a truck;

4 points (moderate) - earthquake is noted by many people; possible oscillation of windows and doors;

5 points (quite strong) - swinging of hanging objects, creaking floors, glass rattling, shedding whitewash;

6 points (strong) - slight damage to buildings: thin cracks in the plaster, cracks in the furnaces, etc .;

7 points (very strong) - significant damage to buildings; cracks in the plaster and the breaking off of individual pieces, thin cracks in the walls, damage to chimneys; cracks in wet soils;

8 points (destructive) - destruction in buildings: large cracks in the walls, falling eaves, chimneys. Landslides and cracks up to several centimeters wide on mountain slopes;

9 points (devastating) - collapses in some buildings, the collapse of walls, partitions, roofs. Collapses, debris and landslides in the mountains. The rate of advancement of cracks can reach 2 cm / s;

10 points (destroying) - collapses in many buildings; in the rest - serious damage. Cracks in the ground up to 1 m wide, landslides, landslides. Due to the blockages of river valleys there are lakes;

11 points (disaster) - numerous cracks on the surface of the Earth, large landslides in the mountains. General destruction of buildings;

12 points (severe disaster) - relief changes in large sizes. Huge landslides and landslides. The total destruction of buildings and structures.


In Alaska, an 7,1 magnitude earthquake was recorded this year, and in San Francisco, the last powerful earthquake with a magnitude 6,1 occurred in August of the 2014 year. Then more than 100 people were injured. Nearly a hundred people were also injured in nearby Napa, and water and gas supplies were interrupted.

Mikhail Buznik well remembers the events of 2014 of the year, because it was his first week in San Francisco. He and his family won the green card. Everything was sold in his native Novgorod, an old point was put on his old life. The family moved to San Francisco, where Michael lived relatives. And the very first week in a new place brought an unpleasant surprise.

Mikhail recalls that his first reaction was a feeling of helplessness: “When the walls are shaking and you don’t understand what will happen to you and your children, when you wake them up in the middle of the night and don’t know where to run, it’s very scary. The house was shaking, vases fell, a TV set fell from the wall. I grabbed the children, my wife took the documents, and we ran out into the street. I remember how my hands were shaking, and I didn't even think about how to hide my panic. Fortunately, that night, with one jolt, it was all over and never happened again. We are not going to leave California. There is no place on earth that is 100% safe. Fear for your life will be everywhere, wherever you are ”.

In the same year, California almost lost the championship to another state. In Oklahoma in July 2014 there were 7 earthquakes at once. The magnitude of the tremors ranged from 2,6 to 4,5. Seismologists have already drawn the authorities' attention to the fact that in recent years in the oil and gas producing states - Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, New Mexico - the number of earthquakes has increased several times. For example, in the same Oklahoma from 1980 to 2010, 2 earthquakes more powerful than 3 points per year were recorded, and last year more than 200 strong tremors were counted.


If you are indoors, hide under the table or stand in the corner of the room.

Get away from windows and heavy objects.

If you are standing on the street near high-rise buildings, stand in the doorway.

Do not run out into the street if an earthquake caught you in the house, so as not to fall under the rubble of crumbling structures.

Do not use the elevator and the stairs: the elevators will stop, as the emergency sensor will work, a traffic jam may form on the stairs.

If you are in a car, move away from bridges and high voltage lines and stay in the car.

Do not leave the shelter after the first shock, it may be followed by new (so-called aftershock) earthquakes, which follows the first shock.


Authorities warn and help

In order for US residents to be prepared for emergencies and to know how to behave, the government created portalwhere you can find information on how to prepare for an emergency in order to protect your home and family.

Regardless of which state you live in, it is recommended to have a set of emergency facilities in your home: a flashlight, a portable radio, spare batteries, blankets, a first aid kit, a 3-day supply of canned food and a supply of water for 3 days. This stock is asked to be stored compactly and in one place so that in the case of a state of emergency a kit can be easily found.

For those affected by the disaster, an Emergency Relief and Resource Center has been created. To contact the Center you can go to broker or call: 1-800-621-3362. Room for the hearing impaired: 1-800-462-7585.

Interactive maps have been created to control the elements and natural disasters. You can receive real-time information about tornado, earthquakes and about the weather in all US states.

Read also on ForumDaily:

10 things worth having in the house so as not to be afraid of the hurricane and the flood

Russian scientist at the time of Irma provided his home in Miami with electricity and television

Like a coin frozen in a cup of water can help during a hurricane

State Department provides free travel service for US citizens

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