Sunday, September 17, 2006

More worries

These are from a list of potential disasters in Wave magazine. It goes beyond the usual suspects (earthquakes in California, hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida).

1. Indian Point Meltdown: A nuclear reactor is 35 miles away from Manhattan. If evacuation orders come, Manhattan will be hard to leave since half of the city's dwellers don’t have cars. Likelihood: Medium. People affected: 21 million.

2. Earthquake in Missouri: In 1811, New Madrid, Missouri saw the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the lower 48. St. Louis and Memphis lack effective earthquake building codes. Likelihood: High. 90% chance of a magnitude of 6 or 7 in the next 50 years. People affected: 3.7 million.

3. Eruption at Yellowstone: Yellowstone is one of the world’s most active volcanic systems. Previous eruptions buried most North America from Arkansas to Oregon, Canada to Mexico. The next one could do the same. Likelihood: Low, but not zero. People affected: Depending on the size of the eruption, anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions.

4. Tornadoes in Dallas: The National Weather Service is worried about a tornado cluster over Dallas at rush hour. Likelihood: Medium. People affected: 5.7 million.

5. Landslide at Mt. Rainier: Mt. Rainer presents the “greatest volcanic hazard” in the Cascade Range because there are so many people in its shadow. The US Geological Survey says an eruption could melt Rainier’s glacier, sending rivers of volcanic mud an ash–a moving wall of cement–toward Puget Sound. Likelihood: Medium. Such slides occur once or twice a millennium. It’s been 550 years since the last one. People affected: 2.4 million.

Gilda RadnerTo quote the late Rosanne Rosandanna (a/k/a Gilda Radner), "it's always something."


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