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Wildfires make life unbearable in Oregon, but nowhere in the U.S. is safe from Mother Nature’s wrath, now more than ever.



Oregon is burning, more than usual during the fire season, and some Oregonians have had enough. They are starting to wonder if it is time to pack up and move on.

But to where?

there is a problem. We cannot go south. Like Oregon, California faces annual droughts, wildfires, and a potential major event. Former Golden State Governor Jerry Brown told fellow Californians this week to stop thinking about turning away and get used to it.

“Tell me: Where are you going?” Brown said. “You might say, ‘We’re getting out of here – we’re going somewhere else. “No, there will be problems everywhere in the United States. This is the new normal.”

Brown talks about the consequences of global warming, but climate change isn’t the only reason why Californians – or Oregonians – have nowhere to avoid disaster. The truth is, the new normal was also the old normal. Natural disasters have always been a common occurrence – and always will be. There is no place in this big country to hide from them.

Florida, for example, is slowly being flooded by oceans. The phenomenon of “tides” regularly flows into Miami, as roads and homes inundate with floods, and salt water seeps into the aquifers there, putting drinking supplies at risk. Even a former mayor of a small city near Miami has called on the state to launch a “managed withdrawal” from South Florida.

Hurricanes affect Sunshine and the surrounding states every year. Hurricane Sally currently threatens Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

A burning car parked in Mill City, Oregon, on September 13, 2020 (Brooke Herbert / The Oregonian / OregonLive) Brooke Herbert / The Oregonian / OregonLive

A recent study by the First Street Foundation showed that much of the southeast coast faces “significant flood risks” in the coming years. Even New York City at the northern end of the East Coast is at risk of flooding, as 14% of its buildings are “currently at risk”.

Hurricanes are experienced in the Great Plains regularly. A wide area stretching across parts of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, and Dakota is known as Tornado Alley. Oklahoma experienced 149 hurricanes in 2019, the largest number recorded there for a single year. Since 1950, Texas has been struck by more hurricanes than any other state.

Hurricanes do not stick to Tornado Alley. Alabama, for example, has experienced more than 60 hurricanes this year. Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida also see many destroyed air plumes.

The nation’s deadliest tornado was to crash in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana in 1925. Tri-State Tornado killed 695 people and injured nearly 2,000 others.

We all know that California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska are at high risk of a major earthquake. But one of the largest earthquakes in US history struck Missouri. Yes, Missouri. In 1811-12, three large earthquakes struck near the small town of New Madrid. “The area of ​​strong vibration associated with these shocks is two to three times larger than the 1964 Alaska earthquake and ten times the size of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,” according to the US Geological Survey.

Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964 after a violent earthquake.

Do you think the West Coast’s tendency to natural disasters is bad? Texas is worse. The Lone Star State “has.” [had] Highest frequency of extreme weather events “over the past 40 years, a 2018 study concluded. This includes floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms and ice storms. We are talking about damage of at least $ 250 billion during that period.

The result: things are really bad in Oregon now, with fires and smoke wreaking havoc on homes and lives. But nature can turn against humans almost anywhere and at any time, and this is happening now more often. 2018 saw 14 “billion dollar climate and climate disasters” in the United States, according to FEMA. The annual average over the past four decades has been 6.2.

So where are you going? Maybe down to the cellar.

Just be sure to check your radon.

Douglas Berry

[email protected]

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