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Posts Tagged ‘tornado

“Disasters are called natural, as if nature were the executioner and not the victim”*…

 

The United States is an enormous country, spanning mountains, deserts, forests, prairie, tundra, and more. This varied terrain is also home to many natural hazards spawned by air, water, fire, and forces beneath the Earth’s surface.

Some of these threats are dramatic; the United States and its territories have the greatest number of active volcanoes of any country except Indonesia, as well as the most tornadoes. Other hazards, like heat waves, are less flashy but can still kill you.

Different regions of the country face very different hazards. But which part of the United States is the most dangerous? It turns out there’s no simple answer, although the south does have a particularly generous share of hazards…

See how the country’s natural menaces differ by geography at “Where in the United States is nature most likely to kill you?

* Eduardo Galeano

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As we calculate our odds, we might recall that it was on this date in 1899 that New Richmond Tornado– an estimated F5 storm, formed in the early evening, and went on to tear a 45-mile long path of destruction through St. Croix, Polk and Barron counties in west-central Wisconsin, leaving 117 people dead, twice as many injured, and hundreds homeless.  The worst devastation wrought by the tornado was at the city of New Richmond, Wisconsin, which took a direct hit from the storm.  In all, more than $300,000 ($8,825,000 in today’s dollars) in damage was reported.  Still, it ranks as only the ninth deadliest tornado in United States history.

The ruins of New Richmond Methodist Church after the tornado

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Written by LW

June 12, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice”*…

 

“Average Dates of Last Killing Frost in Spring,” William Reed Gardner, Charles Franklin Brooks, and F.J. Marschner, 1916.

Published in a 1936 Atlas of American Agriculture, put together by the United States Department of Agriculture, these 1916 maps of the average dates of first killing frosts in fall and last killing frosts in spring were initially intended to help farmers plan their planting schedules. Now, the maps offer a rough gauge showing how much these dates have shifted over a century…

The whole story– and larger versions of both maps– at “100-Year-Old Frost Maps Show How Climate Change Has Shifted the Growing Season in the United States.”

* Robert Frost

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As we cover our fragile plants, we might recall that it was on this date in 1927 that a tornado wiped out the town of Rock Springs, Texas, killing 72 persons and causing $1.2 million in damage. The tornado, more than one mile in width, destroyed 235 of 247 buildings, in most cases leaving no trace of lumber or contents. Many survivors were bruised by large hail which fell after the passage of the tornado.

Rock Springs, Texas after the 1927 tornado

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Written by LW

April 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

Out of harm’s way?…

The online real-estate service Trulia has crunched federal-disaster data to create a series of local maps and a collection of national maps showing the worst cities to live in for weatherphobes and quake-haters – stay out of California metropolises if you fear having your home burnt down, for instance, and Oklahoma City is a terrible place to hunker if you don’t want EF-4 twisters knocking at your door. The Trulia team warns:

Most metros were high risk for at least one of the five natural disasters [hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires and earthquakes], even though no metro area is high risk for everything. Earthquakes and wildfires tend to go hand-in-hand, with California and other parts of the West at high risk for both. Hurricanes and flooding also tend to strike the same places, particularly in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Tornadoes affect much of the south-central U.S. What parts of the country are left? Not the Northeast coastal cities, which – as we all know after Hurricane Sandy – face hurricane and flood risk. Instead, the metros at medium-to-low risk for all five disasters span Ohio (Cleveland, Akron, and Dayton), upstate New York (Syracuse and Buffalo), and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest, away from the coasts…

Where should one head to avoid the next great storm? Here are the top 10 large housing markets in America that are most removed from “nature’s wrath,” according to the company’s risk assessment (the prices refer to the average home-asking price per square foot):

  1. Syracuse, New York* ($89)
  2. Cleveland ($80)
  3. Akron, Ohio ($81)
  4. Buffalo ($93)
  5. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Maryland ($174)
  6. Dayton, Ohio ($72)
  7. Allentown, Pennsylvania-New Jersey ($109)
  8. Chicago ($113)
  9. Denver ($129)
  10. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan ($94)

* Syracuse: Trulia says the “data on flood risk, which comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], is incomplete for Syracuse and for several other metros not on the ten lower-risk list.”

Read the whole story at “These U.S. Cities Are the Safest Refuges From Natural Disasters“; and explore the Trulia maps here.

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As we dream of Oz, we might recall that it was on this date in 1834 that Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Again.

Vesuvius famously erupted in 79 CE, destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum; but the volcano had erupted many times before, and has again, many times since.

The last major eruption was in March 1944. It destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano.  At the time of the eruption, the United States Army Air Forces 340th Bombardment Group was based at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, just a few kilometers from the eastern base of the mountain. Tephra (rock fragments ejected by the eruption) and hot ash damaged the fuselages, the engines, the Plexiglas windshields, and the gun turrets of the 340th’s B-25 Mitchell bombers; estimates were that 78 to 88 aircraft were completely destroyed.

Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby

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Written by LW

August 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

Coded references…

Readers will recall the role that Alan Turing and the team at Bletchley Park played in cracking the German Enigma code; some analysts and historians reckon that their work may have shortened World War Two by “not less than two years.”

That code was generated by– and thus cracking it turned on deconstructing and understanding– an Enigma Machine.

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Understandably, there were few such machines ever built.  And equally understandable, those that survive are extremely expensive collectables.  But readers need fear not!  Now, thanks to our friends at Instructables, one can convert a “Kid’s Game to an Enigma Machine“:

Step-by-step instructions at Instructables.

Readers might also want to visit Cabinet Magazine‘s wonderful “How to Make Anything Signify Anything,” a profile of American code breaker (and code maker) William Friedman:

By the time he retired from the National Security Agency in 1955, Friedman had served for more than thirty years as his government’s chief cryptographer, and—as leader of the team that broke the Japanese PURPLE code in World War II, co-inventor of the US Army’s best cipher machine, author of the papers that gave the field its mathematical foundations, and coiner of the very term cryptanalysis—he had arguably become the most important code-breaker in modern history.

As we reach for our decoder rings, we might recall that it was on this date in 1884 that the states of Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, with (at least) 50 tornadoes.  Known as “The Enigma Outbreak,” it did an estimated a total of $3–4 million in tornado damage (in 1884 dollars; plus an unknown amount of flood and other damage), destroying over 10,000 structures.

Photo: © D. Burgess / NOAA (source)

 

 

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