A natural disaster is defined as a natural event that causes great damage and loss of life. Natural disasters include all types of severe weather that have the potential to pose a significant threat to human safety, property, infrastructure, and homeland security.
Natural disasters can occur seasonally and without warning. Natural disasters can subject a population to insecurity, disruption, and economic loss. Natural disasters include: winter storms, floords, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes.
Because of the United States’ size and varying geography and climates, different regions of the country are subject to different types and frequencies of natural disasters. For example, the Southeast and East Coast of the United States are more prone to hurricanes than other regions of the country. This is because hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere form at tropical and subtropical latitudes and tend to move west-northwest. This means that storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean will move towards the United States East Coast. Although hurricanes do form in the Pacific Ocean, such a motion will bring the hurricanes out to sea and away from the U.S. West Coast.
Another example is that wildfires occur more frequently and intensely in the western United States, especially in California. Western states receive most of their moisture in the fall and winter, making summer very dry. The West Coast has a lot of droughts recently, and combined with high heat, allows the fires to burn longer and more intensely. Wildfires do happen all around the United States, but the West Coast gets more attention for the size and intensity of the fires.
If you’re looking to move to a new state, natural disasters are something to consider. Anyone who has experienced mother nature’s wrath can attest to the stress and fear that can come from natural disasters and the cost and devastation of their aftermath. Luckily, states that are prone to natural disasters often have the proper infrastructure to handle these events and there are preventative steps you can take to protect your home, your loved ones, and yourself.
When assessing natural disaster risk in a state, you should consider the common types of natural disasters than occur there, the type of home you’re buying, and the insurance options related to covering these events and the damage they cause.
The states that are the most prone to natural disasters are California, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Florida, New York, New Mexico, Alabama, Colorado, Oregon, and Louisiana. California has experienced over 280 federally declared disasters since 1953, usually wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. Texas has had over 250 federally declared disasters since 1953, most of which have fires, floods, and hurricanes.
Located in the Midwest, Michigan is one of the safest states from natural disasters as shown by data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Michigan is generally safe from hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Events are still possible as the state has seen some earthquakes and tornadoes but of less severity than other parts of the country.
Also located in the Midwest, Minnesota is unlikely to see events such as hurricanes. Minnesota has been subjected, however, to tornadoes and flooding in recent years. Minneapolis-St. Paul is considered to be one of the safest places from natural catastrophes.
Illinois is unlikely to experience natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, or tornadoes, or droughts. The state, however, does still experience heat waves, extreme cold, and flooding on occasion.
Part of New England, Vermont is situated at the northern border of the United States. Vermont is a forest landscape with many mountains. Its location and topography defend it from many natural disasters. Additionally, the state is known for its financial position to take care of its people in the event of a natural disaster and is one of the top-ranked states for emergency preparedness.
Another Midwest state, Ohio is known to be relatively safe from natural disasters. The cities of Cincinnati, Dayton and Cleveland are among the safest cities in the country for natural disasters. Because of Ohio’s proximity to tornado alley, it sees a few tornadoes per year.
Ranked one of the most beautiful states in the country, Colorado has a ton of forests and mountains, mostly covered in snow during the winter months. Threats such as hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, and tornadoes are minimal. Wildfires, however, can be frequent and intense.
Maryland is generally safe from natural disasters, with storms and blizzards being the most common events. Maryland can experiences floods, however, they are not as frequent or as serious as in other parts of the country/
Maine is the northernmost and easternmost state on the East Coast. The state is far enough north where it does not experience the wrath of hurricanes that the rest of the East Coast can experience below it. Maine, however, can experience intense snow events and summer storms that include thunder, lightning, and flooding.
Vermont and Maine’s neighbor New Hampshire is also relatively safe from natural disasters. New Hampshire is far enough north that hurricanes generally lose their intensity before reaching the state. Flooding and snowstorms are the two major events to look out for in New Hampshire. The state is also one of the best ranked for emergency preparedness.
Situated in the west and along the Canadian border is Montana. Montana features both the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains and is one of the safest states from natural disasters. It is generally safe from hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, however, it does experience flooding. With that said, there have only been five significant floods in Montana in the past century.