Natural disasters are a very real and present danger in this country. We built our cities and their entire infrastructure networks over the tops of massive faults, subduction zones, active volcanoes, and in the paths of hurricanes. Maybe we were a little short-sighted?
Today millions of American lives are at risk in the Pacific Northwest alone — where the Cascadia subduction zone has a one in three chance of sending Oregonians and Washingtonians back to the dark ages (and throwing a potentially devastating tsunami all the way to Japan, Russia, and Indonesia). That’s not to mention Mount Rainier being overdue for a major eruption that will certainly ice the sh*t-cake of disaster for Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland.
The Midwest is prone to devastating tornadoes that seem to be growing stronger and more frequent as we continually dismiss our effect on the climate. Meanwhile, the Madrid Fault is overdue for a major seismic event. That fault last jolted to life with thousands of quakes between 1811 and 1812 — one of which caused the mighty Mississippi to run backwards for hours.
San Andreas may be a worry for many in California, however, the real danger is the Hayward Fault that runs along the East Bay through Oakland. This is a fault that’s had a major earthquake every 140 years since 1315. As of right this moment, Hayward is eight years overdue for its quake.
And don’t get too comfy on the East Coast. Almost every major city on the inner Gulf and Atlantic coast are statistically overdue for a major hurricane. The deepest concern in the Midwest and East coast is that almost all their infrastructure was built in between natural disasters and are therefore completely unprepared.
We’ll wait here while you pour a very big whiskey and take a slow and deep breath.