This map shows the locations of US tornadoes over the past 56 years. The eastern two thirds of the country looks unsafe to me, compared to the Rockies. I had imagined that tornado alley was a small swath, it looks more like half of the US.

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Southern Illinois here. On Leap Day this year, Harrisburg, Illinois, had an EF4 tornado go through and flattened the city. I live less than an hour's drive from there. In addition, I live in the New Madrid earthquake fault zone, which was the largest earthquake recorded in the contiguous 48 states in 1812. The Good Friday earthquake in Alaska in 1964 was larger, but by comparison to where I live, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was smaller. I've been in several earthquakes and about 3 tornadoes.

Should I move? OK. But please find a location for me on our geologically active planet where there is no violent upheavals or weather. Where I live, I need not worry about tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, landslides, or monsoons. Drought, blizzards, floods - been there and done that. So, where do you move to avoid nature?

I'm told the moon is pretty devoid of weather, and no noxious neighbors, either ... but it's probably a pretty serious commute to work!

Frankly, I still like Cleveland, snow and all.

Hmmmm, Mare Tranquillitatis. Can I phone in or email my reports. Been looking for a place to be a hermit. Then again, there are meteoroids. Awww, crap. Guess I'll stay where I'm at. Besides, the "all you can eat" catfish dinners with hush puppies are pretty good here.

You're absolutely right.  This planet is "alive," and maybe the moon has no weather, but it does have quakes.  (Ask Loren to tell you about Heinlein's short story titled "Gentlemen, Be Seated." It's a classic.)

Oh, and commuting via email has a 3-second round trip speed-of-light time lag.

Most locations have some hazards. You get it from the sky and below. *cringe* Yellowstone is a supervolcano that's been rising. If it blows more than half the country goes with it. At least you're not sitting on that too.

If the Yellowstone volcano goes off, we are all doomed.

Here's a picture I took after a tornado ripped through my town, Iowa City, Iowa, in 2006. 

That must have been a scary experience. Here in eastern PA people don't take tornado warnings seriously enough. We go into our basement with a radio and flashlights until the all clear, but almost everybody else just goes about their business as if nothing is happening. But then sometimes I see the public just ignoring fire alarms too, as if they have no brains. It's happened twice at our gym. People just keep exercising, as if they won't take it seriously unless they actually see smoke, by which time it may be a tad late.

The thing about fire alarms is, surely 99% of the time they are false.  I often wonder if on a strictly cost-benefit basis, when a fire alarm goes off, maybe the fire department should just send one truck "normal response", instead of three trucks going lights-and-sirens.  Almost every time, that would be more than an adequate response, and much safer!

But here, at least, the tornado warnings are activated manually at the county emergency communications center, and when one sounds, you know that there really is a tornado in the vicinity.  But even then, it is extremely unlikely that a tornado that might have been seen or detected on radar somewhere within 30 miles will actually hit my house.

In that 2006 storm, we actually had a number of tornadoes go through the town -- the first time in history -- but all that I got at my house was some little bits of pink fiberglass insulation that ominously dropped out of the sky.  Quite a few houses and major structures were damaged or destroyed, however, as well as a lot of trees.  Since then, I've gotten very conscientious about watching the weather!

I wouldn't count on "watching" for a tornado when there's a tornado warning. Unlike Hollywood portrayals, in real life by the time people actually see the funnel it may be too late to get to shelter, because they move so fast. I lost the article which described waiting to see the tornado as a chief cause of tornado fatality.

A false alarm rate of 10% is considered high.

But the high number of false alarms means that about one in 10 of the emergency calls from monitored fire alarms is a waste of time, according to Denver Fire Department reports going back to 2001 obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request.

High Rate of False Fire Alarms Plagues Denver

On the map, I see several have happened in my neighborhood (SE Idaho), but I don't think they amount to much.  A few years ago, there was one about 5 miles from me.  It only lasted about 5 minutes and did no damage except tipping-over an 18-wheeler.

I've never been much afraid of natural disasters, although I've never experienced a bad one.  One day in California, I was in a phone booth talking to my girlfriend when the booth started rocking.  I just laughed and continued talking.

I may become more frightened if I were in a bad quake, but I know it still wouldn't scare me like people scare me.  




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