Z is for Zone

I came across this article: Alaskan villages try “climigration” in the face of climate change. The subhead is “When a town turns to a perpetual disaster area, it might be time to move it.”

I was thinking about this in following the Oklahoma tornadoes in May; the picture is from the aftermath. How DOES one live in tornado alley? There was an intense storm in Moore, Oklahoma in 1999, after all. There have been a few articles about why there are few underground shelters in the area; Dustbury linked to one.

This led me to muse on other disasters; repeated flooding on parts of the Mississippi River, e.g. A couple towns, I’ve read, moved to a safety zone several miles away from the river, but others get sandbags together for a near annual threat of the town being swallowed up.

I recall after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, there was lots of chatter about someone could be so crazy to build a city, New Orleans, that actually below sea level. It’s a major port, that’s why, and the government is building walls that – likely – will protect it from another storm.

Wildfires and earthquakes and the occasional avalanche in the western US, hurricanes in the southeast. What is the zone one can go to that is immune to the ravages of Mother Nature? Those of us in the northeast US felt pretty secure about avoiding the remnants of hurricanes until Irene and Lee in 2011 and Sandy in 2012 roared through. Sandy made a left turn; it’s not supposed to do that! The American meteorological models didn’t even predict that path, though the European models did.

So where in your country, or part of the country, are the danger zones, the safety zones? Of course, one cannot be 100% safe anywhere, but there are greater and lesser risks.

I’m still convinced that my locale in upstate New York is still a relatively safe zone to live. That IS subject to change…

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

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23 thoughts on “Z is for Zone

  1. There was talk in New Zealand that Christchurch should be re-built in a place less susceptible to earthquakes. Of course, that didn’t happen. Despite living in a potential volcanic zone, I think that Auckland is relatively safe. Well, at least in terms of odds, which are that nothing major will happen in my lifetime. I like those odds.

  2. I guess no place will be perfect this side of heaven. That’s why I will always have a basement to go to in “tornado ally”! At least with hurricanes, towns in its path have days of warning.

  3. This migration argument has been used a lot by Global Warming deniers, like after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. This gives the argument a bad taint. But as far as flooding goes, people who live in flood prone areas may simply be forced to move by reality and circumstance as “100 year flood zones” turn into yearly flood zones, or simply disappear under water.

  4. I think where I live is the best – Vancouver, BC Canada. We’re protected from tsunamis by Vancouver Island and we don’t get forest fires because it’s so mild here. In the interior of the province, they get forest fires nearly every summer and I’d never live there! We might get the odd tremour from an earthquake but it’s seldom serious. We also don’t get floods, except sometimes out in the Fraser Valley where the farms are. Exception: major storm back in 2006 I think it was almost leveled Stanley Park.

    Leslie
    abcw team

  5. Such a potent question. I asked this after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy…why are we rebuilding where we know there will be recurring disasters. And yet these are homes and communities, many of whose residents have lived and prospered all their lives. And, where is safe? Difficult questions. Yeah, I bet Albany is pretty safe :-)…I hope.

  6. Hi Roger! Half of my country is below sealevel, so potential a danger zone. We have good dikes and a team of dike-watchers and workers. You are right, that it’s better to move to safer places if you live in an area where there are constantly tornadoes or other disasters occuring. Well let’s be alert. Have a peaceful week.
    Wil, ABCW Team

  7. I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes we had a few earthquakes but most of the time it is a temperate and quiet zone.
    Now I live in the Greater Sacramento area of California.
    It does get hot but that’s about it.
    Happy where I live…

  8. Well we live in tornado alley, just 100 miles from Joplin, MO. I don’t think we could pick anywhere where they were no dangers. We just have to been aware of the safest part in our homes and have a plan.
    Ann

  9. A great question! I am away from flood hazard, but near bushfire possibility but near water for safety. I feel that I have an alternative in a crisis. And then there is a possibility of earthquake. We have had tremors but not a full earthquake. Just nearby, this year, a house property was struck by the incidence of a sink hole – for no apparent reason. Is there really a completely safe zone?

  10. I’m in a tiny island of Singapore, which is sheltered by the bigger countries of Malaysia and Indonesia, so we don’t experience earthquake, or tornado. Except for the occasional flash flood, we thank God for that. But whenever there are earthquakes in Indonesia, we can feel the very slight tremor for just moments when it strike.

  11. Climigration – very interesting. A few hours ago I read an article about a group of language specialists putting together some new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. I wonder if climigration will be showing up sooner or later.

  12. Considerations worthy of a post – next to having a z-word:) I have no right of speaking living for almost 30 years in California after several earthquakes, fires and a tsunami warning. My only excuse is that I like the climate:)
    BTW your Dutch joke about the 4th of July made me smile -never heard that one before!

  13. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere that is 100% safe. There are always risks of some kind or other, but frequency and intensity are a factor. Here I live in an earthquake prone area, but not as prone as places less than 100 miles away from us. But just because our area is not as bad some areas not far away doesn’t mean we are immune. The possibility is always there. Possibility of wildfires surround us also but they can be somewhat controlled. And now we have purchased a home in a flood plain beside a creek. Are we crazy? Well it is supposed to be susceptible to the 100 year flood. So the odds go down a little. But the city has put in major drainage and other precautions. Even if all these climate problems could be eliminated, I think I have more concern about crime and “man’s inhumanity to man”.

  14. The trouble is that today we know all catastrophes in the world as soon as they happens. To my grandma’s time, they didn’t even know the weather in the neighbor town. I think it has always happened. Look at Pompei in Italy or sunken towns. It’s since ages that Venice should disappear under water and is still there !

  15. These days it appears that more and more serious disasters are happening, not necessarily weather/land related either! Being prepared is the most important thing. I have to be grateful that I’ve never experienced and life threatening disaster, my heart goes out to all those that have.

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