Throughout earth, the life of an average person can change because of one day’s events. Communities that had been established over numerous decades, can become a pile of rubble in a matter of hours and even minutes. The effect of a natural disaster can change a community forever. A natural disaster is anything that causes harm or damage from nature. Natural disasters can strike any part of the world, sometimes predicted others not (”FEMA”) . The disasters that cause the most damage are: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Floods are the top weather related killer in the United States each year. The majority of the deaths due to the flooding are because of people driving through flooded areas. One foot of water can move up to 1,500 pounds. Two feet of water can move most average size automobiles. A flood can destroy a road way, tearing apart the concrete surface from the ground. In flood prone communities, people are advised to find out from a Red Cross chapter if their home is above or below flood water level. Valves in homes and buildings are installed to prevent sewer water from backing up into basements. After a flood, a community can be destroyed, and many people can only keep a small amount of possessions left in their home. A hurricane, unlike other disasters, only occur along the coastline. Hurricanes are powerful wind storms measuring 200 to 300 miles in diameter. (”The Weather Channel “) Hurricanes develop from tropical waves in the warm waters of the ocean. The strongest ever wind gust recorded from a hurricane is 200 miles per hour. Hurricanes force shoreline communities to evacuate before the storm strikes. Approximately 90 percent of the damage and lives lost is because of storm surge. Residents in high risk areas and mobile homes should leave before mandatory orders are given. Evacuation can sometimes be impossible because of heavy traffic. After a storm, communities can sometimes be unrecognizable. Residents must have valid identification to show where their home is located. This procedure helps prevent looting. Hurricanes are the most costliest disaster to recover from financially. It can take years for a community to recover back to its old ways after a hurricane. Tornadoes are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds of 200 to 300 miles per hour are common with most tornadoes. A community can not do anything to prepare when a tornado approaches. The best advice given by the National Weather Service is to go to the lowest possible level of the building that is near by. If a structure is not available, lying flat in a ditch is the next best secure place. The National Weather Service has a system for issuing watches and warnings for the community. A watch is issued when tornadoes are possible
in an area. Communities are to remain alert to the sky and the radio for further developments. A warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. A community has several ways of knowing if a tornado will strike. A funnel cloud or hail in a thunderstorm are the two common advance warnings. In areas commonly hit by tornadoes, sirens will blast if there is oncoming danger. Tornadoes need to be taken more seriously by some people that try to out run them. An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden breaking and shifting of large sections of the earth’s outer shell.(”Severe Weather Guide”)Earthquakesstrike suddenly, violently, and without warning. Earthquakes never kill people directly. Deaths and injuries resulting from an earthquake are due to any buildings or structures in a community that collapse. After the earthquake hits, people have to be prepared for aftershocks. An aftershock can cause additional damage to a community. The behavior of pets can change dramatically. A normal, quiet, and friendly cat or dog may become very aggressive. Earthquakes are probably the most dangerous natural disaster because a community has no way to prepare for one. Natural disasters leave many people puzzled on how to start their life over again. There are several organizations that can help a community in time of need. The American Red Cross can provide a source of water and shelter for a community that was destroyed.(”Severe Weather Guide” ) FEMA stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA controls which community gets money for a disaster that has caused severe damage. The public outside of a community hit by a natural disaster can help salvage that community. Many people across the United States contribute financial aid to the victims of a community affected by a disaster. Relief workers across the nation do not get enough credit for the work they do, helping a community start rebuilding from scratch. Specific disasters have caused the most damage on the United States. Hurricane Andrew cost hundreds of millions of dollars in South Florida. All that was left of the communities was a pile of rubble. It has taken them five years to completely restore the communities that once stood there. An earth- quake that struck San Francisco was a national televised event. The whole world was watching the World Series, when the stadium shook. The Bay Area had moderate damage. The double-decker Bay Bridge was also de- stroyed. The bay area is dangerous to live in because it is prone to earth- quakes. The Great Flood of 1995 affected much of the Midwest. Several feet of rain covered much of the area. The only way people could get around was by boat. Communities along the Mississippi River were completely damaged by the flood waters that took weeks to recede. Today, communities can be more prepared then in the past. They will know when a disaster will strike, and what to do in order to survive. There are numerous organizations to go to for help. People do not have to worry everyday about a natural disaster but they should remain reminded that the effect of a natural disaster can change their community forever.