Top 10 Likeliest Future “Mega Disasters”

#10. New York City Hurricane

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, so imagine if a similar situation was to happen to the nation’s largest city?  When Hurricane Irene was heading towards New York last year, the entire country held its breath, expecting one of the costliest natural disasters in history.  Luckily, the storm fizzled out.  But what if a Category 4 or 5 hurricane keeps its strength and hits the city?  As a hurricane only hits the region about once a decade, the city isn’t as prepared as it should be; which could lead to a massive disaster.

 

#9. East Coast Tsunami

It would take a “perfect storm” of sorts for a Mega Tsunami to strike the east coast of the US, but it would likely be the most devastating of all the future disasters.  If an eruption on the Canary Islands caused the one side of the Cumbre Vieja volcano to collapse into the ocean in one piece, a massive tsunami 2000 feet tall would immediately begin traveling across the world.  Waves would obliterate any cities on the east coast of the US near the coast.  Brazil and the Caribbean would also be flattened.  Even Europe, while receiving less of a hit, would take major damage, especially London, which could be completely destroyed.  Imagine what a disaster like that would do for the global economy, not to mention the loss of life.

 

#8. Yellowstone Eruption

It has just broken that the famous explosion of the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone 640,000 years ago, which altered the history of the Earth with its ash, likely wasn’t due to the volcano at all.  New research suggests the culprit was in fact a gigantic slab of rock tearing.  That doesn’t mean that the Yellowstone Supervolcano is harmless.  It likely exploded twice, over a million years ago, and is actually due for another explosion.  If that was to happen, the entire Earth might be launched into a catastrophic volcanic winter.

 

#7. Meteor Strike

It’s just a matter of time before the Earth gets hit with a massive meteor, as it has in the past.  Most scientists agree that a collision won’t happen for at least 100 years, but after that, we could get hit anytime.  Depending on where the meteor strikes, it could change the entire coastline of the world.  Some projections put New York City, San Francisco, and Miami completely underwater, and Denver and Phoenix becoming port cities.  Of course, we have the ability to track the meteor long before it hits the Earth.  We just have to hope that we will have the technology to destroy it, or at least alter its course.

 

#6. West Coast Tsunami

The threat of a massive tsunami hitting the West Coast of the US is much more likely than one hitting the East Coast.  There is a huge fault line off the coast of Alaska.  A 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck the region in 1964, sending the largest tsunami ever recorded in the US to kill about 130 people.  In modern times, the death toll would be much, much larger, as a tsunami would hit Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California, all of which have massive cities on the coast, with larger populations than in the 60s.

 

#5. Dust Bowl

It is very hard to predict how likely it is that a dust bowl similar to the famous 1930s one could hit again.  Rain records only go back 100 years, and scientists say that is way too short to be able to see if the dust bowl was a fluke, or a cycle that will occur soon.  There are signs though, as Oklahoma and Texas were hit very hard by a drought last year.  If this drought continues, as some predicts, we could be seeing The Grapes of Wrath all over again.

 

#4. Heartland Earthquake

In 1811, a massive 8-magnitude earthquake hit on New Madrid fault line.  Aftershocks latest for months, and one reportedly forced the Mississippi River to flow backwards.  Some scientists are warning that another massive earthquake could soon strike, badly damaging St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee.  Others say the threat is largely blown out of proportion, and that the next earthquake in the region could be thousands, or even tens of thousands of years away.  If it were to occur, it could be one of the costliest and deadliest earthquakes in history.

 

#3.  Krakatoa Eruption

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, on Indonesia, was the loudest sound ever in human history, and was 13,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima, Japan.  That eruption killed 36,000 people, and changed the weather for five years.  If a similar eruption had to occur today, the death toll would be much, much higher, as Indonesia is now one of the world’s most densely populated countries.  Almost yearly, the volcano spews lava as it bubbles, reminding us that any day it could erupt again.

 

#2. Dallas F5 Tornado

On May 3rd, 1999 a massive F5 tornado hit Oklahoma City and the suburb of Moore.  It was the costliest in Oklahoman history, and the death toll would have been much higher if it had hit the heart of Oklahoma City, with a much larger population.  Dallas, with a population of over a million, would be devastated by a monster F5 similar to the 1999 one, or the 2011 Joplin Tornado.  The odds of such a tornado striking are actually much higher than you would think, as Dallas sits directly in Tornado Alley.  Studies have also found the city is woefully unprepared for an F5.

 

#1. San Francisco Earthquake

62%.  That is how likely a 2003 study said the California Bay Area was of being hit by a large earthquake within 30 years.  In 2008, a similar study said there was a 1 in 10 chance the earthquake would hit that year, and a 1 in 5 chance of it hitting the following year.  We are now 4 years later, and nothing has hit.  San Francisco is long overdue the next “big one,” as the last one was the infamous 1906 earthquake, which spawned fires that practically destroyed the entire city.  Despite these odds, the city is surprisingly unprepared, as it is estimated that one-fifth of all the buildings in the city may be destroyed in a large earthquake.

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