10 Cities Most Immune to Natural Disasters

Source: http://www.bestcollegesonline.net/blog/2011/10-us-cities-most-immune-to-natural-disasters/

America’s abundant natural resources have enabled us to flourish as the world’s most powerful country. Our susceptibility to just about every conceivable natural catastrophe, however, is quite humbling. In an instant, an entire region can be ravaged by an uncontrollable force of nature, leaving thousands of people homeless and hopeless. While things such as insurance can provide comfort after the fact, some people find that it’s best to avoid those regions altogether, as they know they’ll never stop Mother Nature from unleashing her fury. The following big cities rank as the least likely to experience tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and/or earthquakes. Their locations away from Tornado Alley, The Gulf Coast and the West Coast ensure they’re the safest.

  1. Phoenix, Arizona: If you don’t mind the dry heat and lack of precipitation, Phoenix is the place to live for mostly uneventful weather. Located in the Sonoran Desert, the city’s largest natural threat historically has been the lack of water resources. But, with decades of planning and the implementation of an efficient plan, the city is able to consistently meet the 400 million-gallons per day demand from residents ? 250 million gallons of wastewater is treated each day on average during the year ? during the hottest months of summer. Phoenix proves that it’s better to have too little water than too much water.
  2. Cleveland, Ohio: According to the 2010 Census, Cleveland lost 81,588 people from 2000 to 2010 (17 percent of its population), falling to a 100-year low. Its years-long decline has corresponded with the national economy’s de-emphasis on manufacturing, as opposed to the onslaught of natural disasters, which one might think would cause such a significant change. An issue many residents may have with the city’s weather is the frequency at which it snows. Receiving 59.3 inches each year, only Denver gets more of the white stuff on average. The Snow Belt actually begins on the eastern side of the city, extending all the way to Buffalo. Even with the cold weather, many Clevelanders are content with the predictability of the climate in which they live.
  3. Detroit, Michigan: Like Cleveland, the latter half of the 20th century has kicked Detroit in the butt. Many parts of the city, which were thriving six decades ago, resemble an eerie scene from a post-apocalyptic film due to the abandonment of office buildings and manufacturing hubs. As the city attempts to transform itself into something newer and more aesthetically pleasing, it will only have to worry about the time setbacks caused by the cold weather, though it annually receives almost 20 inches less snowfall than Cleveland. Subzero temperatures occur about six times per year, and, as with other Midwestern cities, temperatures above 90 degrees aren’t unusual during the summer.
  4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Aside from variances in snowfall, the climates of the major Midwestern cities are essentially the same. Milwaukee, like the others, has cold and snowy winters, warm and humid summers, and consistent lake breezes from March to June. The MetroMilwaukee website boasts that the city is the No. 1 lowest risk for natural disasters, which certainly helps make it an attractive choice for prospective residents and businesses.
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Extreme weather conditions have wreaked havoc on the U.S. in recent years, and Philly hasn’t entirely been spared. During the 2009-10 season, it experienced its snowiest winter on record, receiving 78.7 inches. The very rare occasions in which it endured a natural disaster include The Great October Gale of 1878, and most recently, Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, which dropped 10 inches of rain over the city. In May, businesses in northeast Philly suffered damages as a tornado with 75 mph winds passed through the area. Fortunately, the region hardly bears the brunt of horribly inclement weather, save for the blizzards.
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada: Both Phoenix and Las Vegas benefit from the steady climate of the desert. Of course, the most extreme conditions involve the heat and lack of precipitation. July and August are the city’s hottest months, averaging 104.1-and 101.8-degree heat respectively. For the entire year, it receives a meager 4.5 inches of precipitation, the least of any major city in the country. Cooling down and managing water resources are the primary concerns of residents.
  7. Chicago, Illinois: See the Milwaukee write-up. During the winter, Chicago’s biggest concern is the major storm that passes through the area once every three years, dropping more than 10 inches of snow. The city isn’t overly susceptible to lake-effect snow because of its position in relation to the prevailing westerlies that absorb moisture from Lake Michigan. During the summer, temperatures routinely reach the 90s ? the hottest official temperature on record is 105 degrees in 1934 ? which can be difficult to endure given the presence of humidity. The biggest weather-related tragedy to hit the city was the 1995 Heat Wave, which caused 750 deaths in just five days.
  8. Denver, Colorado: A tame city in nature, Denver experiences all four seasons, lots of snow and little threat of violent weather ? hail and the occasional tornado cause the most damage. Although it’s not in danger of suffering a massive earthquake, it has been shaken before. In 1967 and 1968, more than 1,500 quakes affected city, the largest of which measured 5.3 on the Richter scale, damaging more than $1 million-worth of property. In 1882, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in the northern Front Range west of Fort Collins damaged a power plant in Denver. Colorado has two major fault lines, and seismologists think one could cause a similarly-powered quake, but the threat pales in comparison to what Californians potentially face, for example, with the presence of the San Jacinto and San Andreas Faults.
  9. San Antonio, Texas: Flooding is considered a natural disaster, but because it occurs so frequently in a number of places throughout the country, we chose not to include it with the big four (tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes). Nevertheless, it’s San Antonio’s biggest threat due to the incredibly fast rainfall rates that occur over the Balcones escarpment. Other than that, the city is too far south to experience major tornadoes and too far inland to be affected by hurricane force winds, the two natural disasters most commonly faced in Texas.
  10. Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Twin Cities metro area rests just above Tornado Alley, so it does endure its fair shares of tornadoes. The area’s most destructive twisters occurred in 1891 and 1965, with the latter killing 13 people and injuring more than 600. In May, two deaths and 18 injuries were reported after a tornado hit Minneapolis. Derechos, large long-lasting windstorms that accompany showers and thunderstorms, also impact the region ? most notably, one caused $1.5 million in damage in May 1998. These problems, as evidenced by the random years they occurred, are infrequent, especially compared to what cities in the Lower Midwest encounter.