LA8: Flooding and Heatwaves in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

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 ( 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.

Huntingdon County Mapping Department. Huntingdon County. 2016. “Huntingdon, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” World Media Group LLC. 2010.

3 thoughts on “LA8: Flooding and Heatwaves in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

  1. Hi Megan,
    My name is Jordan, you can check out my blog post here:

    I Think you point out a good idea, when you discuss the Nathan World Map being a a scale that isn’t conducive to understanding hazards at the local level, especially as we are discussing out hometowns. In regard to this, I looked at the map for my hometown of Los Angeles, and really was forced to include the entire Southern California area, but in fact, if an earthquake were to occur the effects would be extremely different between a coastal area of LA and the Valley where I live. Coastal areas would have more threat of flooding and tsunamis, whereas the inland areas would be protected from such a residual affect. It also doesn’t pinpoint the fault line and where Earthquakes could occur. Thanks for sharing this idea about scale size and maps, it was enlightening.


  2. Hi! I’m Jessica and here is my blog post: I live right around your area so I the flooding is very bad in our area. I talked about that we should have some type of program to educate people on how to handle these types of natural disasters. However, I like your idea too about bank parks! It’s crazy how bad the floods can be and there are not enough programs to help with it.

  3. Hi Megan! I though it was very interesting how you discussed flooding as the main disaster Huntindon experiences. In my blog post, (…tion-alex-deebel/) I also discussed flooding as a major risk in Hershey, PA. 5 years ago, there was a flood caused by a post-hurricane storm hat left most of the streets in town under 8 feet of water! I talked about potential ways to reduce this threat such as preparing our buildings and citizens for the flood, and implementing a disaster relief program. It sounds like Huntingdon could use the same!

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