Today's news about the horrific Tsunami in South Asia reminds me of the question I was pondering during our recent spate of hurricanes in Florida: Where should paranoid people live? What parts of the globe are least likely to have a natural disaster, be it earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, forest fire, mudslide, or the like?
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by Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
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England. “Extreme weather warnings” are issued here for 2 inches of snow. To make sure, we employ the failsafe of engineering incompetence: a little snow, rain or a few too many autumn leaves and the transport network shuts down thus ensuring that no one gets in much trouble. However, the same device is biting back increasingly hard as we concrete over flood plains and gardens and skimp on railway maintenance – flash floods and train crashes seem to be on the up.
Some place very flat and in-land. Western China, Mongolia, select parts of the Midwest.
You would have to exclude all parts of China and the Midwest which are subject to typhoons or tornadoes. Besides, the juvenile landforms of the northern hemisphere are prone to a distressing degree of tremor and quaking. What you need is a decently ancient landscape a safe distance inland. I suggest the Western Division of New South Wales, Australia.
I’d like to put in a good word for my adopted home state of Vermont. For the truly paranoid, it’s a fine place to live.
Most of the truly dangerous natural disasters — hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornados — are a non-issue here. Sure, the occasional blizzard is inconvenient, but as disasters go, they’re hardly life threatening. Moreover, Vermont is an unlikely terrorist target, enjoys some of the lowest crime rates in the nation, and benefits from clean air and water. For those who are paranoid about their personal safety, there just isn’t too much to worry about.
And, for those concerned with such things, Vermont is about as “blue” as a blue state could be (Bush garnered just 39% this year and Bernie Sanders is our lone House rep). What’s not to like?
Where to hide? Why, behind the Bible of course.
Which I’ll enjoy pointing out to the Dobson/Falwell crowd: “Look, the rapture happened on Christmas weekend and you weren’t taken.”
Brazil. Great climate in most of the major population areas. Warm with low humidity (outside the North). Too far south for hurricanes, no tornadoes and earthquakes are unlikely. The greatest risks are for floods, but if you don’t live on a flood plain or close to a river (my in-laws have a house on a river island) you should do okay. Stay off hillsides without adequate ground cover also.
Don’t move to the Midwest to avoid earthquakes. Some of the biggest earthquakes in the U.S. in recorded history had epicenters in Missouri.
If the same fault quakes again, Memphis TN and Cairo IL, among other places, will be demolished. Although I’m not sure anyone will miss Cairo.
I like the Midwest. Northwest Illinois is nice, because it’s a fair distance from the New Madrid fault, upwind of Chicago, not subject to lake effect snow. It’s also close to Chicago, which is good because I like the city.
Illinois is also a blue state, thus it’s less susceptible to that most unnatural of disasters, Republicans.
Arizona. Not an ocean in sight, no earthquake zones, no tornados, no hurricanes, very few rivers worth the name (even the Colorado is harnessed to the point of a trickle), and if the San Andreas ever goes, surfing off the coast of Yuma.
Arizona??? What about drought? I think that counts as a natural disaster, doesn’t it?
Arizona: Colorado River.
Or you can buy one of these: http://www.airwellinc.com/
Even a drought in Arizona could be alleviated if they’d stop watering the damned golf courses which proliferate around resort areas, along with all the yards people seem to want. It’s a desert, people; xeriscape.
(Disclaimer: I used to live in both Phoenix and Tucson, but I now live in Hawai’i. The occasional hurricane rules out the latter as the optimal place to live)
New England. Nature up here is a pain in the ass, but never dangerous. And spring is a gift, summer golden, and fall just about as good as it gets on the planet.
Houston, Texas. It’s subject to almost every kind of natural disaster, but they all come as something of a relief from what Houston is like normally.