5 Cities That Could Be Wiped Off the Map by Catastrophic Natural Disasters (Videos)

Environment, Uncategorized

(N.Morgan) No matter how technologically advanced our society becomes, we will always be vulnerable targets to Mother Nature’s unrelenting fury.

There are some people who chose to live in the high risks areas of just such disasters, knowing each day they may be up against a devastating natural disaster.

5. New York Is Due for a Hurricane Stronger Than Sandy or Irene

New York has become rather notorious in its high crime, seedy streets and most unfortunate, terrorist attacks.

However, there is another danger no one ever mentions, the high probability of a massive hurricane.

Many people were unaware that New York in a hurricane territory, until suddenly the city was slammed by hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

The devastation flooded subways, collapsed several buildings and left billions of dollars in damages. Yet, these hurricanes will pale in comparison to what may be down the road.

Both hurricanes were only Category 1 when they hit, meaning that they were not that powerful — even though they still left the region in shambles. Some of the damage still lays in disrepair.

New York City stands a very good chance of being hit by a category 3 Hurricane this decade. A Category 3 hurricane is defined by the phrase “Devastating damage will occur.”

We’re talking demolished houses, damaged skyscrapers, and destroyed infrastructure.

JFK airport would be left under 19 feet of water, according to experts.

Because of New York’s unique geography, Northeast New Jersey and Western Long Island form a bottleneck for hurricanes to pass right into. Essentially, any storm with great intensity has a decent chance of a direct hit.

This subjects the city to far worse things than just a “mere” Category 3: New York’s near future can very well see a full-on  hurricane of the Category 5 classification.

Destruction wise, this storm would be a dozen times worse than a Category 3.

What Can Be Done?

New York authorities are fully aware of the risks facing the city and have taken the appropriate precautions to deal with any impending disaster.

Using a Category 4 hurricane as a scale for comparison, authorities have calculated that a massive hurricane would do about $500 billion worth of foreseeable damage — that is, four times as much as Hurricane Katrina managed.

A Category 2 would turn the subway into an aquarium in 40 minutes, with Grand Central and Penn Stations flooding as well.

There is also the 15-foot wall of water that is expected to hit three of the five N.Y. boroughs with all the havoc a mini-tsunami.

In conclusion, the best course of action to survive this sort of event it to evacuate to a safe location.

4. Amsterdam Lives in Constant of Massive Floods

Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

It is a beautiful city that boasts hundreds of years of history and wonderful art museums.

Amsterdam is also well known for its lacks marijuana laws and hash bars.

The city also faces the unpredictable risk of being gobbled up by the ocean.

Most of Netherlands resides below sea level, and if anything, anywhere, goes wrong, Amsterdam will take an entire ocean right in the face.

Subsequently, the map of the Netherlands would look a little something like this:

See the black blip labeled “Amsterdam” that’s right in the middle of the blue?

That’s what happens if just one of the various, intricate fail-safe barriers and dams surrounding the country goes down.

Not only the city (highest point: seven feet above sea level), but in fact much of the entire country (lowest point: minus 23 feet) is at constant risk of being claimed by the sea.

The good news is, Amsterdam is an old hand at battling the ocean and the authorities have actually set up the elaborate network that is keeping them safe.

The bad news: They absolutely blow at keeping said network up to date.

In fact, only 50 percent of the defenses are somewhat capable of handling their task of keeping people’s feet dry.

The Netherlands had their latest hazardous flood defense failure in 2010, and rest assured there will be more:

Many experts are not even sure some of the dams will hold if they get just the tiniest of hairline cracks.

In this disaster scenario, the odds are too insurmountable to attempt to ride out the storm, evacuate the area and seek safe shelter elsewhere.

3. Greater Seattle Will Be Devoured by a River of Hot Mud

Seattle already faces challenges such as being prone to giant earthquakes, but the entire Greater Seattle Area also faces the risk of being buried under a sea of mud.

The area lies downstream from Mount Rainier, which is known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in existence.

However, this particular danger doesn’t come from soot and magma — the true danger would be a lahar, whose nerdy name betrays its potential for destruction.

Lahars are giant flows of hot mud, trees and water, rolling forward with the consistency of a zillion tons of wet cement and at speeds up to 60mph.

Lahar can be massive: Urban Seattle could be facing a Lahar as tall 600 feet.

This is a known fact because this sort of event has taken place before.

Around 5,000 years ago, a giant lahar called the Osceola Mudflow filled a part of Puget Sound with three cubic kilometers of hot, steamy, gooey mud.

What once was a pristine sea became, in a matter of hours, suddenly 200 square miles of new land.

For comparison, the disastrous 1985 Nevado del Ruiz lahar that killed 25,000 people in Colombia only had 2.5 percent of the volume of the Osceola Mudflow.

What Can Be Done?

A lahar detection system was installed in 1998, but it has proven to be faulty and unreliable. To make matters worse, these mud tsunamis (mudnamis!) are a right bastard to detect: a lahar doesn’t need a volcanic eruption as an excuse to kick in: A sector collapse or some magma leakage could be enough to send a mudnami the size of Godzilla into Seattle.

If just the Puyallup Valley lahar (the purple one in the above picture) sparks off, material damages alone could be as high as $13 billion.

Also, a non-volcanic lahar could easily spread from one to several of the six  Mount Rainer lahar systems, multiplying the destruction.

2. Naples Will Be Just the Latest of Mount Vesuvius’ Casualties

During the year 79, the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculanium were completely and utterly devastated as they were buried by the sudden, violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the Chad of volcanoes.

The carnage was witnessed by almost the entire populace, including the famed statesman Pliny the Younger, who made it his mission to tell everyone about the incident as a warning to never cross Mother Nature.

One could say the town was partically responsible for its fate, since they neglected to investigate the land more closely. If they had dug around before building, they would have discovered ash from an ancient eruption that still had fleeing footprints visible from an ancient bronze age town not too far away.

Despite Vesuvius waking up periodically for a demonstration of what happens when people ignore it, Naples pushes on.

Even when the volcano covered the city in an inch-thick layer of hot, jagged ash in 1906, killing over 100 people and causing enough expensive carnage to actually relocate the Olympics from Rome to London two years later because Vesuvius’ fury had eaten all Rome’s Olympic money.

The citizens of Naples hose to continue living in the hot zone anyway, disregarding all of the impending dangers.

When facing an angry mountain that has decimated populations since the Bronze Age, it is best to evacuate immediately.

Despite Mount Vesuvius having reaffirmed the danger it posed to them with literally dozens of eruptions since the Pompeii incident, well up to the 20th century,the Neapolitans have chosen to remain there.

1. Wellington Will Be Hit by Everything

Nestled in the South Pacific, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and home to over 400,000 people.

In addition to its claim to fame as Peter Jackson’s base in his mission to film all things Tolkien, the city is also notable for the surprising amount of ways it’s citizens can die by natural disaster.

Like Dhaka, the most popular pastime in Wellington seems to be guessing the next major doomsday scenario coming to kill everyone.

The city has managed to grow on a site where all bets are truly off. It sits at the tip of an island, so water is a constant threat.

The last major tsunami hit Wellington in 1946, coming in at a roar that could be heard from 15 miles away.

The chances are slim that the next tsunami will be medium in size.

Authorities warn that a 115-foot massive tsunami can definitely happen in the future.

Which is the constant fear for the residents who still haven’t recovered from the hellish flood that took place in 1984.

Water is only one of the various hazards nature is throwing at Wellington.

The city is also unfortunate enough to be located right by a gigantic fault line, with earthquakes causing damage every so often, triggering those huge tsunamis in their wake.

Add in a variety of volcanoes up north, throwing ash and soot at the city every time they decide to erupt.

What Can Be Done?

Evacuation is the only option in such a scenario.

Sadly, that’s not a possibility for a large portion of the population. Projections of just a medium-sized tsunami show utter destruction of the city’s airport, marina, and local stadium (stadiums being the evacuation shelters of choice during many a disaster), with floods turning the downtown into a Sea World.

The city does have an evacuation plan, most of the evacuation zones are in the worst risk areas, placing roughly half the population in immediate danger when disaster strikes.






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