1. Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my town of Huntingdon Pennsylvania, falls under the lowest risk zones for most extreme natural events, except for an increase in storms during La Nina and trending warmer temperatures. Although I concur with Huntingdon being fairly sheltered from most of these events due to its geography, I believe that the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards is at too large of a scale to examine the effects at a local region. Knowing the severity of flooding the Juniata River deposits during a hurricane off the east coast personally, I do not see the indication of the hazard affecting this area from the maps shown in this article.
2. For my current disaster, I chose a heat wave taking place in southeast Alaska. Many towns experienced record high temperatures following two unseasonably warm winters creating other extreme events such as the North Pole being 50 degrees warmer and bringing early forest fires (Emergency and Disaster Information Service).
As our climate begins to rise in temperature, heat waves are becoming more prominent. Seeing a heat wave in what we associate as the coldest state made the situation stand out to me. Huntingdon has also been experiencing more frequent heat waves. Forest fires are not very prominent due to proximity of water bodies (such as Raystown Lake and the Juniata River) and the amount of precipitation Pennsylvania receives on average. But the added heat greatly affects crops, animals, and residents of the town.
This heat wave has been recorded over a 100km (about 328,084 mile) radius area of land, whereas Huntingdon covers only 3.5 square miles in total (Huntingdon County Mapping Department). Heat waves generally effect large amounts of land; in which would cover the entirety of Huntingdon if one would pass through the area (or even the state as a whole). When determining the hazards a heat wave can potentially cause for a city, the area in affect is examined due to the implications it can cause at one time-forest fires or droughts from regions outside of your local region caused by the heat wave may also implicate upon your town.
Heat waves would greatly impede upon the youth, elderly, and agriculture of the region exposed to the extreme event. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to heat. Taking shelter indoors, hydrating, and using the natural bodies of water for cooling would help them adapt to the temperature. Agriculture would be under stress needing to water their animals and crops more frequently, with less end product due to poor growing environment. It is hard to cope to such an event for farming as the animals also need to be sufficient in cold weather (animals used in the south are not always suitable for the northern climate).
3. Excluding thunderstorms, as they are not uncommon, Huntingdon is most vulnerable to flooding and hailstorms. For sixty years up until 2010, flooding accounted for 42.5% of extreme events according to USA.com (USA.com). The town is generally protected from large windstorms and tornadoes from the Appalachian mountain range. Flooding is a large concern due to the adjacency of the Juniata River that floods after heavy rains, snow runoff, and hurricanes. The city expands along a low hillside along the river that divides it from the highway, so although many of the higher residencies escape water damage, the main roads (located river side) often flood and take out transportation infrastructure.
4. To reduce vulnerability to flooding in Huntingdon, making levies along the bank parks would help to keep floodwaters from rising into the main roads. The parks are already down set and feature greens and trees to retain some of the waters, but their boundary markers are of light wire posts, creating retaining walls to act as levies would allow park goers access to the river when low and keep the river from surging outwards. This would have to be a communal action as the parks are public grounds, and the city council would have to budget and vote upon how the retaining walls would be implemented. To help as an individual, I could vote, fundraise, and bring the option proposal to the council.
Emergency and Disaster Information Service. “Heat Wave in USA on April 01 2016 04:17 PM (UTC).” National Association of Radio Distress-Signaling and Infocommunications. April 1, 2016. http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/database/index.php?pageid=event_map&edis_id=HT-20160401-52751-USA
Huntingdon County Mapping Department. Huntingdon County. 2016. http://www.huntingdoncounty.net/
USA.com. “Huntingdon, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” World Media Group LLC. 2010. http://www.usa.com/huntingdon-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm