Last year 97 natural disasters occurred in the United States. Natural disasters are adverse events that take place, leaving damage, destruction, and loss of lives. Natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, wildfires, floods, or earthquakes, provoke natural disasters.
The causes of natural disasters vary. Some are provoked by human-made activities and climate change, while others occur naturally.
The severity of the natural disaster depends on the type of infrastructure, proximity to the hazard, and disaster prevention or emergency preparedness methods implemented in the area.
The number of natural disasters in a state can be an important factor when choosing a location to live. In this article, we will discuss some states with the most natural disasters, the states with minimal natural disasters, and then reveal the state with the least natural disasters.
Why are some places more disaster-prone?
Some parts of the United States are more prone to natural disasters than others. For example, wildfires are more common in the western part of the country, especially in California. The western states get most of their moisture in fall and winter, so droughts are common in summer. High temperatures along with dry land and air enable wildfires to burn for longer. This combination also makes them harder to control. While wildfires can occur anywhere in the country, the West receives more attention for their fires as they are often more intense and larger.
Another example is the frequency of hurricanes that hit the East Coast and Southeastern parts of the country, particularly in states such as Florida and Louisiana. One reason for this pattern is that hurricanes formed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere normally move from west to northwest.
A second factor favoring hurricane formation in this region is warmer water temperatures. The Gulf stream pulls warmer water through the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast. These water temperatures are around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the West Coast’s ocean temperatures only reach the low 70s.
States with the Most Natural Disasters
The state with the most natural disasters is California. Since 1980, California has experienced 284 federally declared disasters. Other disaster-prone states include Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Florida, and New York.
When considering moving to a disaster-prone state, it’s essential to consider the type of natural disasters that occur, the kind of home you are looking to buy, and the types of hazard insurance available.
States with the Least Natural Disasters
While no state is completely safe or free from natural disasters, the World Population Review declares some states to be more secure based on past disaster trends. Here are the safest states from natural disasters.
Famous for its beauty, Colorado is covered with mountains and forests that receive a white blanket of snow during winter. Due to Colorado’s location in the Rocky Mountains, it can experience some aggressive wildfires and occasional drought in the summer months. However, it's unlikely to see hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes.
Most areas of Maryland are safe from severe natural disasters, as the most common disaster events are storms, blizzards, and an occasional minor flood. In addition, the likelihood of a severe tornado or earthquake in Maryland is low.
As a midwestern state, Ohio is shielded from disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis and generally only experiences a few minor earthquakes. The state can experience some tornadoes as it is close to Tornado Alley, but the probability is much less than in other states such as Texas and Oklahoma.
Vermont is another state with mountainous, green topography. Its many forests and peaks help to protect it from natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, and droughts. Also, Vermont is one of the top-ranking states in emergency preparedness. So while it may experience some storms, floods, and landslides, it is typically ready for these disasters.
Illinois is considered one of the safest states from natural disasters as most of its events are temperature related such as extreme cold or heat waves. It’s unlikely that natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, or earthquakes would occur; however, some parts of the state have experienced ice storms and minor flooding.
Located in the midwest, Minnesota isn’t likely to undergo extreme weather events like hurricanes. Additionally, the Land of 10,000 Lakes does not experience much seismic activity, which results in only some minor earthquakes. Minnesota has suffered some flooding and storms in recent years; however, it is still one of the safest states from severe disasters.
State with The Least Natural Disasters
Michigan has been the state with the least natural disasters since 1953 as it’s located in the midwest and receives natural protection from the Great Lakes. As a result, the Great Lakes State is generally safe from major natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. While Michigan has experienced some tornadoes and earthquakes in the past, they have been minor compared to other parts of the country.No matter where you are in the United States, there is always some natural disaster risk. So be sure to be prepared just in case you're caught in one. Our Grab + Go Box can help you with that!