Storms – Natural Disasters

Force & Motion
Earth & Environment


Earth & Environment
Notes & Review Ch. 26 – 28
Our Changing Atmosphere
Wind Zones – Notes
Notes & Review Ch. 29 – 30
Storms – Natural Disasters
Notes & Review Ch. 31
Weather & Climate Review

Storms – Natural Disasters Worksheet

  Some of the density–independent factors limiting our population are natural disasters such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Technologies such as Doppler radar and computer models help track the events in our atmosphere and hydrosphere that precede these disasters, and help predict their occurrence and track them once spotted. We can’t prevent their occurrence, but early warning enables us to minimize property damage and loss of life. Unfortunately, some of our technologies, like dams and levees, while helpful during small floods, can cause more damage than they prevent when they fail during really big floods. We haven’t perfected our early warning systems enough to entirely prevent false warnings, and when hurricanes turn from their predicted paths, or a flooding river “crests” 5 times in 5 days, or tornado sirens are set off inadvertently, people begin to ignore the warnings. The news is full of people who chose to have “hurricane parties” instead of evacuating, or run out and try to videotape the tornado bearing down on them. In recent years, government agencies have taken a stronger interest in minimizing future disaster damage than in just bailing people out from financial woes with little to prevent it from happening again. Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management. It's the ongoing effort to lessen the impact future disasters have on people and property. Structural mitigation involves raising buildings up on pilings, engineering bridges and buildings to withstand earthquakes, creating and enforcing effective building codes to protect property from hurricanes – and more. Non–structural mitigation involves rebuilding homes away from floodplains, unprotected coastal areas, and on solid bedrock instead of on loose sediments in fault zones. Success story – In Arnold, Missouri, the total amount of Federal disaster assistance granted after the 1993 floods was over $2 million dollars, given to 528 households. After the floods of 1995, the fourth largest flood in Arnold’s history, the damage was less then $40,000, given to 26 households, as a result of non–structural mitigation – the “buy–out” of flood-prone or flood-damaged properties after 1993, instead of letting them be rebuilt.

Name the disaster you would be mitigating against if you did the following:
1.     Bolt or strap cupboards and bookcases to the wall, and keep heavy objects on the lower shelves. Strap your water heater to a nearby wall using bands of perforated steel (commonly known as "plumber's tape"). Install bolts to connect your home to its foundation.
2.   Strap your home to better secure the roof to the walls and foundation. Install and maintain storm shutters over all exposed windows and glass surfaces, and use them to prevent damage from flying debris.
3.   Elevate home on pilings. Move valuables and appliances out of the basement of your home. Elevate the main breaker or fuse box and the utility meters, to prevent damage to utilities. Buy an insurance “rider” to cover the value of your home and its contents.
4.   Move shrubs and other landscaping away from the sides of your home or deck. Install tile shingles on your roof, instead of asphalt shingles or wood shakes. Clear wood piles, dead brush and grass from your property.

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