Module 8: Pavelko-Fox

1) Although it was difficult to get an accurate reading of the natural hazards in my hometown of Coplay, Pennsylvania, using the data from the Nathan World Map, it still showed me a generalized idea based on the northeast region I’m from. It is expressed on the map that Pennsylvania is in zone 4 for tropical cyclones, zone 2 for tornados, and zone 2 for hailstorms. However this is all I could gather from the maps presented because they were a little difficult to read. Considering there were no boarders for countries or states represented I had to rely on my general knowledge of geography; I could only give a rough estimate of where Pennsylvania was in relation to the rest of the North American Continent. The natural hazards I pointed out are real threats, I have seen all of the one’s I listed above occur at some point in my life.

2) As I was scrolling through the RSOE EDIS map I came across a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that took place in Papua New Guinea earlier today. I have only experienced one earthquake a few years ago while I was sitting in my house but it was only around M 2.1, a third the magnitude Papua New Guinea experienced. The risk of any serious damage caused by an earthquake is very low for Coplay or the rest of Pennsylvania for that matter. However, if a M 6.1 earthquake hit my hometown the event would cause a considerably greater amount of damage. It did not specify the impact radius of the earthquake but given the fact that Papua New Guinea is larger then Pennsylvania in terms of geographical area but smaller in terms of population there is a greater chance that more people would be affected by this natural hazard. Papua New Guinea only has around 7 million inhabitants as compared to Pennsylvania’s 12 million. Pennsylvanians are not as well equipped for earthquakes, we don’t usually have to worry about the destructive power an earthquake carries. There are many abandoned and decomposing buildings in and around Coplay that would structurally fail under the impact of an M 6.1 earthquake. We would be left cleaning up the town for weeks. We are much more vulnerable than that of other countries better equipped to handle these types of situations. Coplay’s demographics show 44% of town’s residence are over the age of 65 or under the age of 18, making them more susceptible to injury or death for naturally hazardous events. In order for Coplay to be less vulnerable the town needs to rebuild some of its older structures.

3) Growing up in Coplay I have a number of first hand experiences involving natural hazards in the area. We’ve had a few damaging hailstorms and blizzards throughout the years. In one instance we had a blizzard that dumped so much snow, the roof of the local gym collapsed. I called my parents and asked them if they remembered other events like this and they brought up a blizzard from 1993. According to them the storm caused some roads to be impassable for over a week and lots of people lost electricity. We have also had a few tropical cyclones affect the area over the past few years, Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Both of these events caused fallen trees, damage to houses, and some minor flooding. There have been other hazards like fires, earthquakes, and tornados but they are very far and few between.

4) Coplay is a small town and I know a lot of people who could play key roles in decreasing vulnerability in the event of a severe natural hazard that turns into a natural disaster. My dad works in the Coplay borough which is an administrative center for the town, the building is also connected to the police department. The police chief is a good family friend who happens to know the mayor very well. The three of them combined could create a number of pre-event preparedness plans like what buildings could be used as shelters and different evacuation routes. I did talk to the police chief who informed me of some of the emergency response measures they have in place but he said they never really went in depth with the precautionary strategies they would implement.

2 thoughts on “Module 8: Pavelko-Fox

  1. Hi Matthew. My name is Avi and I’m a student here at university park. I think I also felt that same earthquake a few years ago! It was definitely an odd experience living in Pennsylvania. You make a good point about Pennsylvanians being less prepared for an earthquake like this, despite being more wealthy. The town where I live also has many old buildings that would likely fall apart in an earthquake like that.

    Here is my Module 8 blog post:

  2. Hey Matthew! Check out my post here:

    Hi it’s Karissa and I like the aspect of your post where you described how a stronger earthquake could affect your home town. It’s a scary idea to think that a strong earthquake could knockdown older buildings in Coplay. It’s interesting how the town doesn’t seem too prepared for a 6.1 magnitude earthquake and the high population of older residents are more at risk due to their age. A similarity I noticed between our posts was your mention of tornados. Though at a high risk, our tornados are also far and few between.

    Awesome post!

    -Karissa Kelly

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