module 8

In my hometown of Philadelphia, Pa does not face many natural hazards. There are no volcanoes or serious hazards that affect the area very much. The worst it gets is heavy rainfall and hurricanes, as well as occasional tornado warnings. I have lived here for all of my life before moving to state college and I have never felt that I was in danger while living in this area. The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards does not do a precise job at showing specific points of the world. I think it is useful when researching hazards in broad parts of the world, but not in particular specific areas such as towns and cities.


After viewing the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ Emergency and Disaster Information Service website, the disaster I chose was the tornado that occurred in Alabama. Fortunately, there have not been any tornados in my hometown for a long time. However, this natural disaster could definitely happen in my hometown at some point. There have been tornado warnings in Philadelphia, but nothing has seriously affected the area very badly. In addition, there have been tornados in my hometown and not very much damage was caused, which is why I do not believe there would be a lot of damage if one were to occur again. I also do not believe that this would be extremely harmful to human population in the area, because there are many precautions that are well known and can be taken into consideration once there is a tornado warning.


There are not many natural disasters that occur in my hometown. However, in the past there have been severe rain and snowstorms that have caused many problems for the town. Hurricanes and heavy snowfall have affected the area numerous times in the past. The most common damage that has been caused is flooding, power outages and car accidents. When the roads become slippery from the snow and rain, it is common for car accidents to occur. In addition, flooding and power outages happen often because of the wind and the heavy snow or rainfall.


I believe the best way to reduce vulnerability is to be aware of the problems in advance, and take action in creating a plan for when the storm occurs. People can find the right resources that will help from any destruction these storms may cause. My family had our basement checked for possibility of flooding before the storm came, to make sure that it would not happen to our house. This is a good idea for people to take into consideration so their homes do not get destroyed during the storms. In addition, having a back up generator is also an important thing to consider, because it is not certain when the power will come back on once it’s lost, which is a common effect that is caused by heavy storms. One year, my family lost power for over a week, due to a strong hurricane that hit our hometown. We did have generator, but it was not very strong so it only worked throughout a few rooms in the house. This was helpful, but we decided that next time we would need a stronger generator if our power would be out for longer than a week. In addition, construction workers could be helpful by making sure buildings and homes are in safe conditions to prepare for the storm.

Mod 8 Hazards

Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards by Muncih Re, many risks and trends were identified for the general area. The area I used was north east Pennsylvania because I was unable to distinguish more accurately. The area is zone 0 for MM V and below earthquakes, zone 1 for low chance of wildfires, zone 1 for winter storm with 81-120 km/h winds, zone 2 for moderate frequency and intensity of hail storms, and also close to a coast with a tendency for zone 4 winds with peak speeds between 252-299 km/h. The El Nino brings warmer weather and fewer tropical cyclones. The La Nina brings higher risks of tropical cyclone activity. The history of the area shows trends of an average increase of 0.3 degrees Celsius and 15% rise in precipitation per decade between 1978 and 2007. There is an increased risk of heavy rain in the area.

For the first choice of question two, using Global Risk Data Platform, the site allowed a considerable increase in preciseness of area observed. For this part, I used Wayne County Pennsylvania and made note of how different parts of the county were affected. There was no history of landslides, tsunami, or spectral acceleration (earthquakes). There have been cyclone winds reaching an average of 70 km/h causing losses in the bracket of 20-200 million dollars (US). There are flood hazards especially near rivers. Certain areas at risk of draught. The detail in effected areas is very helpful when compiling data. I would differentiate the colors further when showing the level an area is affected. This sight is more time consuming and would be overly specific for larger areas.

The distinguished weather in different seasons causes predictable patterns for hazard risks. During winter, there is an increased risk of storms that produce snow or ice and come with strong gusts of wind. During the spring months, there is increased risk of storms that bring heavy rain fall often and the warmer temperatures leads to any remaining snow or ice to melt. This increase of water in the area leads to flooding especially in low-lying areas near bodies of water. This precipitation tappers off and the average temperature continues to rise leading to drought through the end of the summer. This transition of temperature can lead hail storms or twisters. Neither have a large risk of happening but have happened and normally effect about a square mile. Fall may be the season with the lease risk of hazards but there is still possibilities for all of the above hazards.

One main change I would make to the town would simply be stopping any development of land within a foot of sea level or within 100 yards of a body of water. Many areas deal with flooding often and development in these areas subject structures to water damage repeatedly. There could be zoning by local government to forbid insurance available on structures that area in flood zones. This may cause individuals to build structures in areas with less risk of flooding to qualify for insurance. I will never build a permanent structure in a flood zone with the expectation that it would be safe from floods. The other major risk faced in the area is winter storms and the side effects. The local area is proficient at predicting and canceling what is needed to keep roads more clear. Also individuals often choose not to drive in the weather.

Vulnerability Reduction – Hollabaugh

1) My hometown of Sunbury, PA is not in danger of many natural hazards. There are no volcanoes, almost never any tornadoes even though it is listed as a zone 2 area. There are very rarely any earthquakes, and it has a low risk of wildfires. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the closest natural hazards are high cyclone and extra-tropical winds, as well as heavy hail storms. The impacts are generally low from these events however. For this specific task the Nathan map is not very well suited because the area of Sunbury, PA is very small compared to the world, and some disasters like local river flooding are not accounted for.

2) On April 4, 2016 there was a confirmed case of Rabies in a raccoon in Watertown, New York. This is a disaster that my hometown is capable of facing because we have a fairly high raccoon population. This is a small disaster on the scale of damages, but it could turn into something much bigger without proper handling. If it spread it could be a biological disaster. If one raccoon had rabies in Sunbury, it would most likely mean a lot of raccoons had it. Raccoons can generally be found wondering alleys of Sunbury, which means it could be a huge disaster for the population. Luckily there were no reported incidents of human contraction from this event, but it is still potentially dangerous. Humans that live along the alleys would be much more vulnerable to this disaster. One of the ways this could be prevented is by controlling the raccoon population or by relocating them individually out of the city.

3) From personal experience, I can attest that my hometown is susceptible to strong winds and rain from hurricanes, and flooding from the susquehanna river. While it is not often, I have seen damages like fallen trees and power outages result from severe hurricane winds. Sunbury is surrounded by mountains, so it is very unlikely that tornadoes or hurricanes would reach the small town, but their strong winds are still able to affect it. Sunbury has been flooded many times, which has caused significant damage. Water levels during the floods rose high above most of the town, so a wall was built that spans the entire length of the city in order to prevent flooding. Sunbury has a unique fiber dam that spans the length of the river. It consists of inflatable fiber tubes that inflate in the spring to create a reservoir. It is lowered in the fall to allow for fish migrations. ( information provided by

4) One of the main natural hazards is the flooding relative to the Susquehanna River. This has been solved by building a concrete wall along the entire length of Sunbury. Besides this the only natural hazard that Sunbury faces is high winds. High winds are very hard to contain, so there is not much that can be done to prevent their damages. One thing that can be done is to install underground high wind shelters for houses without basements. There is a housing development without basements in Sunbury. The people who live here would be in danger if a tornado or hurricane every did reach the city, so building a shelter to provide safety would be an ideal prevention. The city could hire contractors to build this shelter. I personally can set up an emergency plan including where and when to go to our basement, and what foods and water to store in case of emergency.

8 – Vulnerability Reduction

My hometown that I analyzed in Module 7 is Wayne, PA. Being in North Eastern United States, the area itself is not susceptible to many natural disasters. There are no volcanoes, low probability of earthquakes and protection from high winds due to the Appalachian Mountain Range that goes up Eastern United States. Some disasters that are possibly are hail, heavier rain and tornadoes. That being said, after living there all my life before college the rains are very seasonal and I have never felt in “danger” from the amount of rain we would receive during storms. There have been tornado warnings but I’ve never actually heard of one forming. In general I think the Nathan map is well documented and probably backed up by a lot of research, but a smaller scale would be nice. Being able to even just look specifically at North America would allow me to see greater detail about the dangers in PA.

From RSOE EDIS: On April 04 2016 at 02:13 AM (UTC) there was a Biological Hazard in York, PA United States (EDIS Number: BH-20160404-52779-USA). There was a raccoon bite confirmed for Rabies. I realize on the scale of natural disasters this is an extremely small case, but it is extremely relevant to my hometown location and why I chose to cover this. Before moving out for college there were a few times I remember public posts going out to our area about when this would happen. Usually it wasn’t bites, but an update that a raccoon with Rabies was found and to remain alert incase others were infected. There was also a time when one was found acting strange during the day at my neighbors and they called the police because of it. Scale for this is the same in York, PA as in Wayne, PA. Raccoons are extremely common in PA and Rabies is nothing to play around with. It requires painful treatment and that may not even be enough sometimes. As mentioned above, when this happens in my area there is a public release that is generally made and the proper procedure for reporting it. I would say everyone is equally vulnerable to this. It generally happens during the day and if you’re outside theres no reason it couldn’t happen. That being said, I have never left my house in fear of a raccoon attack. If they were more common maybe, but like I said I remember only about 4 or 5 reports when living at home.

Going back to more grand-scale natural disasters that are possibly in my area, rain and flooding would be up there as the most possible. Wayne, PA is a few miles from the Schuylkill River and there are times where flooding is a threat. Wayne is far enough away from the river itself that direct flooding wouldn’t be an issue, but if the river overflows it serves as a catalyst for other possible threats at a smaller scale that affect the surrounding suburbs. I couldn’t find any direct research into flooding at such a small level of Wayne, PA, but from the Nathan map and personal experience this would definitely be the most “possible” natural disaster at a larger scale. There was also a time where our area felt the aftershock of an earthquake in Virginia, but thats the only time there has been a noticeable affect from an earthquake.

I think the best way for Wayne, PA to better its pre-event preparedness would focus on its Urban Planning to allow for better drainage during heavy rain seasons. Urban Planning could include adding more drains to the roads, focusing on the affects of runoff caused by high asphalt coverage, placing buildings strategically in regards to hills and general water travel and how to quickly drain areas that are especially prone to floods. The people responsible for these changes would be at a city level since its mostly urban planning and pre-event preparedness. Also faster ways to alert the general public could be introduced. I think introducing a texting service similar to AMBER alerts could be helpful during times of high rain and possible flooding.

Hazards in Malaysia

My hometown of Seremban, Malaysia is not really prone to any major natural disaster. The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards provided on the website only listed two natural disasters located in Malaysia; heat wave and biohazard. I looked at Kenya’s heat wave phenomenon that’s taking place right now and I immediately relate it to the one that is happening in my country right now. According to the description on both countries, the heat wave occurs due to El Nino. Malaysia has recorded a high 38.5 degree Celcius while in Kenya it was 40.5 degree Celcius, one of the highest recorded in the country in recent weeks. Based on this fact, we could say that the scale/magnitude of the disaster is almost on par, temperature-wise. Apart from that, the local government and meteorology bodies don’t expect much negative impact as the heat wave is very closely monitored and people are continuously updated on the issue, especially on ways to tackle the heat day to day.

One particular hazard that our country faces yearly is haze. In fact, every May/June, many  South East Asian countries had to endure months of excruciating, polluted breathing air. The haze was caused by fires started by by firms and farmers around Kalimantan, Indonesia engaging in illegal slash-and-burn practices as a relatively inexpensive means to clear their land of unwanted vegetation and peat. We had one of the worst one on 2015, especially during the El Nino season.  “32 of the country’s 52 air-quality monitoring stations tipped into the ”unhealthy” range”, forcing schools to close and flights were also delayed and cancelled.

Since the issue involves international parties, I believe that the best way to overcome this problem is to involve politics, more specifically with governance and policy-making. Many of the affected countries had already pressured the Indonesia government to impose a law to prevent intentional open-fire. Malaysia has also opened itself to collaborate with them. According to Malaysian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the MoU would let both countries “assisting and exchange ideas with each other in the case of jungle and peat soil fires while requiring Indonesia to comply with its side of the bargain”.

Module 08 – Ralph Diaz

My hometown, Hagerstown, Maryland, is only subject to strong winter storms and small impacts from tornadoes and hailstorms, according to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards. This map can get the job done, but it is not ideal for its job. The map consists of multiple maps with few markers to see where states begin and end. This makes it difficult to see exactly where Hagerstown is on the map. In addition, looking at multiple maps simultaneously makes comparing areas take much longer. My last complaint is that the pdf of these maps are so low resolution that you cannot zoom in to better tell where a city or position on the map is with respect to the natural hazard freequency on the map.
One of the current hazards occurring around the world is environmental pollution in Florida. My hometown is very succeptible to pollution, though it is not likely to be exposed to any significant affects from pollution in the near future. This is because there is no likely source for pollution near my hometown. My hometown is succeptable to pollution dispite this fact because one of the key aspects of pollution is that it can be caused by nearly any source. The pollution event if florida is likely due to some pollutant in the oceans. This would make the pollution event very large in scope. The severity of this disaster is listed as being fairly small, so if this were to happen to my hometown, it would likely have a very small impact on my hometown. The best way to minimize any impact to my hometown from pollution is to have emergency procedures in place. If a waterborne pollutant occurred, we could have a certain amount of stored water and means to quarantine this affected water. Coming up with countermeasures such as this is the best way to avoid being impacted from pollution.
My hometown is fairly protected against natural disasters. Being of a higher latitude, tropical natural hazards affect us on a smaller scale. Within my lifetime, my hometown has not had significant damage from tornadoes, hurricanes, or hale, though we can be affected by all of these things. During El Nino, we are impacted with warmer weather, causing a milder winter, but our precipitation levels remain somewhat constant. For all of these facts, I used my own experience and knowledge I have obtained from my Meteorology 003 class I am taking right now.
Minimizing the risk from these natural disasters is largely done by preparing for them. Building safety codes help to reduce impacts from tornadoes, the winds of hurricanes, and earthquakes. Flooding and pollution is best handled by public education concerning how to respond to these issues. most of these things are already in place in my hometown. Building codes have been in effect for more than 50 years. These were issued by the government of the state of Maryland. Public education is done regularly by news channels and weather channels. Hagerstown has many of the things needed to be safe in the event of an emergency.

Module 8 Shaud

My hometown is Swarthmore PA, which has a few important natural hazards to consider from the map. The most important is flooding. My area has experienced flooding from hurricanes or other heavy storms over the years and also is in a zone expected to be subject to increasing rainfall. This will only exacerbate the problem. In order to reduce this, homes will need to individually improve their water protection with pumps and new concrete and the town will need to work to improve water disposal systems like sewers that would alleviate flooding. The NATHAN world map is somewhat appropriate for examining my hometown, but it is hard to pinpoint exact hazards because of how large it is. PA is right in the middle of an area that differentiates zones sometimes and it is hard to tell if my area is vulnerable for somethings because it is so zoomed out.


I examined the disaster of an H7N9 case in China, also known as avian flu. This disaster is not likely to occur in my town unless it is occurring all over the world in a wide outbreak of the disease. The reasons for this are because our standard of health are higher than in the densely populated city of China where this occurred. My town has better sanitation and less people per square mile that would allow this virus to breed. Also, there is no poultry markets or farming particularly close to my hometown, shielding the virus from moving from an animal to humans like it did in China. The standards of food are higher in the US, meaning any contaminated meat is much more likely to be caught before it is sold and infects someone in my area. Overall, there is basically no risk of my town developing this biological disaster like it did in China, however the disease could always be spread to my town and all over the world. This would only occur if the disaster was on a huge scale not only in my area but worldwide. Damage would be terrible in terms of human sickness assuming a vaccination was not developed, however none of this would be unique to my hometown. Someone flying in from a foreign country could land at Philly airport and move the disease to my town. There is no real way to contain this on our end, merely just hope an outbreak is caught before it can be transported across the world by airplane. In fact, due to the high health standards described above, my town would almost certainly have a lower human disaster casualty rate than basically anywhere else in the world.


My personal assessment of threats to my area is based on my knowledge of living there my entire life. The only true problems my home or others in my area has experienced is flooding. Flooding is something that can be managed to a large extent by better preparation of those who own homes/land and also by improving infrastructure to alleviate the problem when it occurs. Fortunately this issue has only been on a home by home basis in my town, never a large enough scale to cause mass destruction or loss of life. Aside from having local and state officials assess the flood capabilities of the town and having appropriate disaster plans in place, there is nothing much more my town can do to prevent a disaster. Any disaster I have not experienced, such as a fire/disease/tornado/etc., would be so extraordinary there is almost certainly nothing that can be prepared to prevent it.

Caitlyn Ramirez Module 8

My hometown of King of Prussia, PA has few natural hazards that it faces. It has increases in heavy rain and when hurricanes occur is it definitely noticeable. Hailstorms also occur from time to time. Fortunately, not many others occur around my area. I don’t think the Nathan map document is well suited for this activity because it does not clearly show cities within a state. Therefore, because of that you cannot really tell the specifics of the natural hazards within a certain city. You also cannot really zoom in enough to be able to tell the certain colors when they are all so close together.


The disaster I found was extreme weather (particular wind and heavy snow) in Massachusetts. My hometown can experience the same type of disaster, and has so before. The risk of disasters like this are falling trees and power lines, power outages, and fires from the fire lines. I would not necessarily say that my hometown is really vulnerable because I live in a place where not many disasters occur. The scale of the event is relative to the size of my hometown. I don’t think much damage would be done because it has occurred before. As for Massachusetts, I feel as if this happens a lot there because they are further north so I don’t think scale really matters. I don’t think this is severe for the human population where I live because there are so many resources that could be used if necessary. I think that is an important factor for any town. Without the right resources or plans, then having this type of disaster, or any type of disaster would cause the human population to suffer more.


In my own assessment of natural hazards that King of Prussia faces, I’m going to use my personal experience because I’ve lived there my whole life. We don’t really face any except severe rain and sometimes snow. There have been random tornados that have only occurred twice since I have lived there, but they are very rare otherwise. Hurricanes have been occurring more recently, however King of Prussia has become well suited for taking on that kind of natural disaster. It isn’t really a vulnerable town.

Natural Hazards

After looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I saw some natural hazards that happen to my hometown and around it. My hometown is Doylestown, PA is in zone 0 for tropical cyclones, having 76-141 peak wind speeds. My area is not known for having volcano eruptions. On the map, it does not even show Doylestown, PA to have had a volcano eruption before 1800 AD. Although there are not volcanoes, Doylestown does have hailstorms and lies in zone 2. This means that my hometown is right above zone 1, and its frequency and intensity is a little above low. The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards is not well suited for this task because it doesn’t show exact points on the map, but relative locations of the world. Every time I would try to zoom in to get precise answers, it would get very blurry and illegible.

The disaster I chose after viewing the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ Emergency and Disaster Information Service website, was the heat wave that happened in Kenya on March 25th, 2016. Temperatures in Turkana County hit a high of 40.5 degrees centigrade, one of the highest recorded in the country in recent weeks. Unfortunately, my hometown of Doylestown, PA can also experience this disaster. Some of the risks for this disaster are dehydration, fainting, dizziness, and some cardiovascular problems. Doylestown is vulnerable to heat waves, especially in the summertime. Temperatures are always rising, creating these waves of heat. Differently from Kenya, almost all houses in Doylestown, PA have air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, the scale of the heat waves in Kenya is much larger than the scale in Doylestown because of the air resources my hometown has. This disaster is not as bad as Kenya’s because they have to resort to wrapping wet fabric around their water cans to keep them cool, while in Doylestown, we have water systems in our homes that keep the water extra cold. However, in my hometown, there are also less wealthy neighborhoods that create different levels of vulnerability. These neighborhoods do not have the same amount of money as other neighborhoods do, which affects the types of systems in their homes, such as air conditioning systems. We can reduce my towns vulnerability by assuring every citizen that they will have a working air conditioning system in order to keep their homes cold during the rising temperatures in the summer.

In Doylestown, there are many natural disasters that occur. A few years ago, Hurricane Sandy put my school district out of school for an entire week. This disaster impacted homes with flooding, torn down siding on homes, and other implications. My hometown also has the natural disaster of winter storms. During these storms, “People are injured or killed in traffic accidents on icy roads or suffer from hypothermia (low body temperature) due to being cold for a long period of time.” Also during these storms, another major danger is power outages. There are also other weather extremes Doylestown faces such as hail, strong winds, blizzards, thunderstorms and fires. House fires are sometimes very common during certain seasons.

There are many actions that can be done to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, specifically in Doylestown. An example of this is pre-event preparedness. On all news providers, every meteorologist forecasts the weather and prepares citizens for the worst storms that are ahead. One example is a snow blizzard that hit Doylestown, PA. Meteorologists forecasted this blizzard almost a week in advance in order to prepare Doylestown individuals for what was going to happen. Another way to reduce vulnerability is building resilience in non-disaster times. Although this may be a lot of money to build infrastructure that is durable during hurricanes and earthquakes, it will be able to save many buildings and even lives. Doylestown can also study natural hazards so that we know how to prepare for and respond to them when an extreme event occurs. These different actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability can in turn save many lives and maintain infrastructure from being lost. The best people for these actions are construction workers. These are the people who build these buildings and if they know all the measures to take in order to withstand these disasters, then Doylestown’s vulnerability would be very low.

Module 8

My hometown is Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania. Being in the north eastern United States, my hometown is not susceptible to earthquakes, volcanoes, and cyclones that were described in page 3 of the world map of natural disasters. On page 4 of the map, the town is susceptible to different weather conditions in hailstorms, winter storms, and tornadoes. As recently as last summer, my hometown had a tornado warning where one touched down a few miles outside of the town. And finally on page 5, my hometown gets warmer during El Nino and cooler during La NIna.

On April 1st, 3:25 AM, a tornado occurred in the state of Alabama. My hometown has been lucky in that no tornadoes have touched down while I have been alive. However, as described above there have been multiple times where there have been tornado warnings and advisories that have occurred throughout the years. There have been times where tornadoes have touched down outside of my hometown in flatter regions higher on the mountain. The tornado that was described in the emergency and disaster website was medium with no incidents of injury or damages reported. It was described as medium severity. I believe that my hometown would experience light severities whenever confronted with a tornado. This is because I am located in the Appalachian mountain chain and a hilly region. Therefore I believe that if a tornado touched down, there would not be severe damages even though tornadoes can occur in my area. I also believe that everyone will be well educated on how to protect themselves in the case of a tornado as there are multiple instances throughout schooling where the students are taught how to protect themselves in these cases.

An assessment on my hometown shows that it is vulnerable to hailstorms and other winter weather conditions from the World Map of natural hazards that was used earlier. I personally know from experience that there have been many times when my hometown was subject to sub zero temperatures, ice storms, and snowstorms. My hometown, as discussed in the above paragraphs, is also subject to tornados that I have witnessed personally.

The best way to prevent disaster in the cases described in the above paragraph is education. As a child, I remember being taught by my teachers on how to protect myself during these events. The best way to be safe during ice and snowstorms would be for the parents to keep their children inside during severe cases. The local town authorities would also need to provide labor and resources to keep the roads clean and clear of snow and ice. Education through Driver’s ED would


Module 8

I come from West Nyack, New York, which is located approximately 30 miles north of New York City. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my town is most at risk of sea level rise, and hurricane. It is located near the ocean on the east coast, where the entire east coast is at risk for a sea level rise. Additionally, West Nyack is the category 3 for tropical cyclones. New York is often hit with hurricanes, so I definitely understand why we are in this category. New York is in a seismologically calm part of the world, so it does not really experience earthquakes.

Boca De Yuma is a village located in the Dominican Republic. According to the RSOE EDIS, Boca de Yuma experienced a magnitude 3.3 earthquake on April 2nd, 2016, at 7:15 A.M. Typically places located on tectonic plate boundaries experience Earthquakes, for example Japan and California which are located on the edges of the Pacific Plate. Boca de Yuma is located in between the South American plate and the Caribbean Plate which explains why it experienced seismic activity. West Nyack is located on the North American Plate, but not near the plate edge, which explains why we do not experience earthquakes in this area of New York. The scale of the event was very small, and on the order of the village of Boca de Yuma which affected a population of 2,342 people. My hometown has approximately 3,439 people, so the scale is relatively the same (no listed population density on Wikipedia for Boca de Yuma, but 1200/square mile for West Nyack). The impact of the disaster would therefore be the same if it were to occur in my hometown, however it is very highly unlikely that an earthquake would occur. My town is generally comprised of many wealthy areas, but there are some areas of lower socioeconomic status. I actually believe that the people living in the poorer areas would fare better in a disaster like an earthquake due to the structural integrity of the apartments and homes they occupy. Wealthier people tend to live in big houses, but those houses are made of wood, which I believe would not be as structurally secure as apartment buildings in the case of an earthquake.

According to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, New York and my hometown can be subjected to Environmental hazards such as winter storms, drought, floods, mud/landslide, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe summer storms, and space weather/astro-hazards (Cornell University Cooperative Extension). Living in New York for 22 years confirms many of these hazards such as winter storms, drought, floods, hurricanes, and severe summer storms. In my limited experience, however, I would not predict that mud/landslides, space weather, and tornadoes really pose any significant threat to West Nyack. I imagine that the hazards I experienced will continue happening very frequently in New York, but the ones I did not experience will not pose any significant threat for many years.

To increase decrease the vulnerability of all the hazards that could potentially occur in West Nyack, I believe that significant funding needs to be put in place toward construction of high wind force resistant infrastructure, and more efficient recycling of the water treatment and facilities for water recycling. In my experience droughts and hurricanes are the biggest danger to West Nyack, so building buildings that resist hurricane winds, and being able to recycle water better during a drought should significantly decrease the extent of the damage that could occur from these events. The politicians and contractors living in West Nyack, working in conjunction with industrial and mechanical engineers, would best suit addressing the problem. I can use social media to inspire some advocacy in the people in my town, to educate them and the garner support to push for these changes.

Mod 8 – Natural Disasters

  1. Where I am from in Pottstown, PA, the Nathan Map shows that my area is susceptible to tornados (zone 3), hailstorms (zone 3), extratropical storms (zone 1), and wildfires (zone 1). I would disagree on the part about hailstorms because, while they do happen, it is maybe once a year.  Like the hailstorms, tornados are even rarer.  We maybe get 1-3 tornado warnings every summer and there is usually one that touches down every year in a 100 mile radius.  However I understand that tornados are much more dangerous.  Extratropical storms and wildfires are probably correct on the map with their rating.  It’s actually ironic though because we currently have a wildfire situation going on a few towns over in French Creek State Park.  The second in like five years.  This Nathan Map was really had to read and had very little detail into why their ratings were the way they were.


  1. The disaster I chose is the 2.0 magnitude earthquake in Northern California, just north of San Francisco. Pottstown is not a hot bed for earthquakes because it is not near a major fault line.  In high school I experienced one that was very very minor.  The epicenter of the 5.8 quake was in Virginia but the tremors were felt up and down the east coast and even up into Canada.  The ground moved and the house shook a little, but I felt more like the vibrations from a train driving by rather than an earthquake.  If the earthquake was any stronger in my area, buildings and roads may have been damaged because of the building codes in Pottstown vs California.

According to the site, the 2.0 magnitude quake in California would be barely noticeable to the residents.  I would say that is pretty consistent with the small tremor we felt in 2011.


If there was a significant earthquake in Pottstown or the surrounding area I am sure the residents would be very vulnerable.  We are simply not prepared for that kind of emergency where we live.  It’s the same as when the south gets a snowstorm of 2 inches, people in the south don’t have the resources available to deal with something like that.  California is just better prepared with building codes and protocols to be ready for an earthquake.


  1. The natural disaster that is most likely to affect Pottstown would be a flood. I have seen what big floods can do to the area because we get a significant flood pretty much every year.  The Schuylkill River that runs through Pottstown and the outer neighborhoods can affect a number of different low-laying areas.  Pottstown would be especially vulnerable to emergencies right now with the high number of road closures and bridge closures in the area.  That would make evacuation even more difficult to deal with.


  1. The biggest need for Pottstown when it comes to natural disasters and weather emergencies is probably flooding. There needs to be some sort of flood control put into place whether it be levees or man-made channels to help flow the water away from rising to the roads.


Emergency management personnel would be the ones for the job.  Pottstown doesn’t have much money to shell out for improvements, but once the state is finished fixing the bridges and roads that should at least help a little bit with the traffic.


There isn’t anything I can do about weather emergencies other than not driving through flood waters like an idiot.

Vulnerability Reduction

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my hometown Guangzhou has low probability in earthquake and extratropical storms, medium probability in hailstorms and wildfires, and high probability in tropical cyclones and tornado. In my own experience, I didn’t experience many natural disasters except typhoon, but since I live in the middle of the city and wasn’t close to shore, there weren’t many great damages. It would be warmer during El Niño and cooler during La Niña. As for trends in temperature and precipitation between the year of 1978 and 2007, Guangzhou had increase in temperature but decrease in precipitation. Overall I think the map gives us an good overview of natural disasters, but if we want to have more detailed information, we would need a smaller scale map.

My chosen event is an earthquake in Nemuro,Japan. The earthquake was magnitude 4.2 at the depth of 32.33km. However, it’s unusual to experience earthquake in Guangzhou, there may be some small earthquakes happened nearby, but the last known was over 50 years ago. Since we don’t experience a lot of earthquake, it makes us more vulnerable to this type of disaster, as the city lacks the experience to cope with it. Furthermore, Guangzhou is a very populated city and it’s a developed urban area, it also means there would be more economic loss. The scale of this earthquake in Japan is relatively small comparing to my hometown, because it happened 153km away in sea, and the magnitude is low. If this happened in Guangzhou, I don’t think it would cause a big problem due to the low magnitude and deep source, but I think it would cause more damage than the current location. The reason why I think it would cause a worse result is that Guangzhou is an over-populated city, and it’s inland, if an earthquake happened in the center of the city, it would affect more people. Another reason is that the earthquake happened in sea and Japan has more experiences coping with earthquakes, but Guangzhou does not, which I think would be problematic. Different people in my hometown would have different levels of vulnerability towards the event, children and seniors are more vulnerable than others. Also, where people locate at the time of event also matter. The city has many skyscrapers, especially in the city center, and there are not many open grounds in the city, so if the earthquake strike, it may cause the buildings to fall, and people may not have enough open spaces to hide. In order to decrease the city’s vulnerability to such disaster, I think we can improve the buildings’ structure and makes it more resistant to earthquakes, and governments should develop a more detailed plan to cope with such emergencies.

Typhoon is the most popular natural hazard in Guangzhou. In my experience, cyclones are very active in our areas especially during summers, and the rain and wind can cause some troubles in our daily life. Strong wind sometimes break down tree, or cause items to fall off from tall buildings, these can be dangerous to people passing by. Heavy rain is also problematic, although it’s not very life-threatening, but water-logging in the city can cause traffic jams and it’s very inconvenient. Some ways to decrease our vulnerability includes keeping items off the windows, improving drainage system and improving our forecast system and management plan.

In our lesson, we learn about some methods to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards, and I think both pre-event preparedness and post-event recovery and reconstruction are very important to Guangzhou. The government should develop stronger emergency plans to cope with natural hazards, and citizens should remain pre-cautious before the event occur if possible. Building resilience in non-disaster time is also a good response, for example, we can improve our drainage system to prevent water-logging problems during non-event times. In order to efficiently deal with these problems, not only the government but also citizens should take their responsibilities, when government can enhance infrastructures and develop plans for the city, citizens can start with some smaller places, or work in teams to help the local community. As for myself, I would work on some small things like enhancing our shelf on the balcony so it would be more resistant in bad weather, and I would consider joining local organizations to provide helps from some other aspects.

Natural Disasters in Greenwich, CT – Ben Ceci

Greenwich, CT is a town that is very safe in terms of crime and normally natural disasters as well.The Nathan map confirms that natural disasters are not very common here. One category that the Nathan map did minorly include this area however was in the tropical rainstorms and tornadoes category. While this is true, these natural disasters are not very frequent in my hometown and I am very grateful for that. The Nathan map was very broad, showing information that does not specifically show certain towns and cities, but rather large worldwide maps. While this information is helpful, it would be even more beneficial if it were focused in on smaller cities or even just limiting it to only one country per map.

One disaster that interests me is the Flash Flood on Canal Street in Louisiana. The water was said to be swallowing cars and the roadways became waterways with water up to knee deep or tire high for some vehicles. The risk of such a disaster in Greenwich is very high as we already deal with flooding issues. The scale of this disaster is much higher because Louisiana has a much higher population (About 378,000) than Greenwich (About 62,000). More people could have been affected in Louisiana.There would be less of an impact in Greenwich because the streets are not as populated as Canal Street is. Different people in my town would be more vulnerable because there are houses on the bottom of hills and those on the top of hills. Those on the bottom would have a much bigger problem because the water would flow that way.

Based on my personal experience of living in Greenwich for 23 years and seeing numerous storms come through the area, the one natural disaster that we deal with the most is flooding. My family has a landscaping business and we also maintain people’s houses. Whenever we get a little bit more rain than normal, we always get calls from customers asking us to come and help them get water out of their basement. This is also an issue on the streets because they often flood. This causes problems for people trying to get from place to place and with the largest high school in CT in town, there are often a lot of new drivers trying to get around in these conditions which makes it unsafe for everybody.

Actions that can be done to reduce the vulnerability to natural hazards in Greenwich would be to add more drains. Flooding is one of the main natural disasters that occurs here and adding more drains along the roads would be very beneficial. In regards to the houses getting flooded, that is because the land is sloped towards the house. The land should always be sloped away from the house, which would reduce these problems dramatically. The best people to perform these actions are the town of Greenwich, builders in the area when they build houses, and landscaping or site development companies. I can help with this because of my background in landscape architecture and also because my family has a landscaping / site development company that deals with these types of situations. The issue is that people do not want to spend the money to change the grade of the land.



Natural Disasters and Vulnerability

Lancaster, PA is a very safe place in terms of vulnerability to natural disasters. Using the Nathan map, Pennsylvania remains very low in risk at almost every category. Hail, tornadoes, and an increase in heavy weather are what those of us in central PA need to worry about. For two of these, hail and heavy rain, they are not terribly destructive if things are built right and can hold against them. Also, central PA has a very low risk of tornadoes or hail, as it is on the cusp of those charts. The Nathan map does a nice job at highlighting areas, although it could be more specific in terms of the effects of the disasters and more distinct areas of effect.

Currently in Hawaii there is an earthquake that is of medium magnitude. This type of disaster is more frequent than I had thought, mostly because it rarely happens in PA. Central PA is not on a fault line, making it only susceptible to feel the shocks from a large earthquake elsewhere. For Hawaii, this happens every so often so they are prepared for it. The buildings in PA are not as sturdy and therefore if that earthquake happened here it could be very damaging. I wouldn’t say that the disaster would take too many lives, but it would destroy tons of homes, leaving some families without a place to live anymore.

From personal experience, flash floods are the only really natural hazard that I can remember being a problem. A tornado touched down once last year that I remember, but nothing else extreme like that in a long time. A mild earthquake struck the east coast last year also, which Lancaster received a few minor shocks from. reports that Lancaster is below the national average for earthquakes but above the national average for tornado risk. The only natural risk that is prevalent from the site was winter weather, which does not create huge damage. I had not realized that tornadoes were as common as they were in PA, with at one point in 1988, 45 tornados touched down in 3 days (Pennsylvania).

The best way to reduce the risk of these is to better identify when the event is coming as soon as possible. The more time to prepare, the more safe the population can be. The news can help out with this process immensely. The faster the news finds out the faster that everyone else will know. When people know something is coming they wont go outside, they will stock up on food, or they will go to a safe part of the house. The bottom line is the more timely the notice, the more safe people will be.





“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.”™. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

“Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania. N.p., 09 September 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

Natural Disaster Assessment – Pittsburgh, PA (Julian Pamplin)

Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the type of natural disaster that is relevant to Pittsburgh, PA is an Extratropical Storm. The Nathan Map is not an extremely detailed reference to use for assessing the specific risk extratropical storms and other natural disasters pose for Pittsburgh, but the risk shown on the map and designated by green bands of different shades does include Pittsburgh. Furthermore, when under La Niña conditions, the likelihood of storms affecting Pittsburgh and vicinity rise. Other types of disasters that have shown to potentially affect Pittsburgh are tornadoes. Again, the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards shows a basic risk of tornadoes for Pittsburgh but getting a specific reading on the level of the risk is difficult given the scope of the map.

A type of disaster in progress is a tornado in Eldridge, AL. Pittsburgh is at risk of tornadoes as multiple reports of damage from the disaster have been reported within my lifetime. The risk, however, is lower in Pittsburgh than it is in other regions of the country. Given the nature of tornadoes and the weather conditions that create them, areas closer to common paths of extreme tropical weather systems, along with lower plains states, are at a much higher risk. The current tornado in Alabama compares to Pittsburgh in a few ways. First, the size of the area affected by the tornado is not a condition that influences whether or not Pittsburgh or any other place is more or less likely to experience the event. Second, Alabama is much closer to the Gulf of Mexico where weather systems fueled by warm Gulf water are more common and stronger than systems that reach the Midwest and western Pennsylvania. Those at greatest risk of damage of a tornado in Pittsburgh include residents in mobile homes or homes without subterranean levels.

Both types of natural disasters listed above are rare. Extratropical storms are the more common of the two as Pittsburgh is situated in a path of common Atlantic Ocean weather systems that travel from the south and into New England. The risk of systems strong enough to produce extratropical storms depends on both the strength of the system (gained by the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico) and the track the storm travels as it curves through the region. Systems originating in the Great Lakes region are more common and depend on different factors. Also, Lake-born snowstorms may carry heavy amounts of precipitation but do not have the characteristics of wind speed to rival extratropical storms. Tornadoes are rarer, still. There is not a specific set of conditions that makes the likelihood of a tornado greater or reduced but the prevailing conditions that lead to tornadoes are not often visited upon Pittsburgh. The 1985 tornado outbreak was a particularly devastating event. The National Weather Service ranked it as the 12th most significant tornado event of all time (Carpenter, 2005).

Actions that can be taken to reduce the vulnerability of extratropical storms include pre-event preparedness measures that include warning systems and methods for delivering forecasts to residents as far in advance as possible. Emergency response systems are also vital in reducing Pittsburgh’s vulnerability. For tornadoes, a reliable system for identifying and warning residents of tornado sightings is important to withstanding an event that can be deadly. Accurate information including the location, severity (magnitude), and path of a tornado are valuable facets of the type of information emergency response organizations can deliver to residents to ensure the best opportunities for seeking safe haven. Personally, to prepare for either event and reduce my family’s vulnerability against these and other natural disasters, having a plan in place is key. Understanding the potential consequences of each potential event, where to go for assistance, and what steps are most likely to keep us safe until aid can arrive are the most important steps in being prepared should disaster strike.



Carpenter, M. (2005). The day the twisters came. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from

Module 8: Steven Feng

  1.  The location I am most familiar with is Scranton, Pennsylvania.  According to the Nathan World map of Natural Hazards, Scranton is supposedly susceptible to tornadoes (Zone 3) and hailstorms (Zone 2) as our highest natural hazards.  We are also classified to be in Zone 1 for both extra-tropical storms and wildfires.  The only part that I would disagree with is the Zone 2 and 3 classifications for hailstorms and tornadoes.  I disagree with the classification for hailstorms because it is really a rare occurrence that we have hailstorms.  Although, we do get the occasionally it is at most maybe once or twice a year.  I disagree with the tornado classification because of of the area around Scranton, or NEPA in general is “protected” by mountain ranges.  These mountain ranges dissipates winds that would be strong enough to form tornadoes (from what I remember being taught).
  2. The current disaster I’ve chosen was the earthquake that happened around Singu, Wakayama in Japan.  I chose this because of how I already mentioned about earthquakes are an (almost) nonexistent possibility in Scranton, PA.  I also chose this because of my familiarity with countries in Asia.  Being present for an earthquake that happened in Taiwan before, I can say they are truly terrifying.  Although it wasn’t a huge one, it still caused damage to both my grandfathers home and the neighborhoods.  However, this fearful disaster happening in Scranton is close to 0%.  According to studies and recordings of where earthquakes have happened in PA, almost none have hit Scranton.

    According to the web side the earthquake is rated as a magnitude of 6.2.  This could strong affect Scranton if it was to occur hear.  Mostly because of how we are located above a mine.  Major damage would be caused to Scranton as a lot of our buildings and structures are pretty old.  Although renovations and reconstruction has helped a lot of locations, most of the structures are still pretty old. The earthquake that happened in Japan was also located at sea.  Damage to the mainland was minor and mostly shaking was felt.  However if we placed the epicenter in the middle of Scranton, we would not get away with just shaking and furniture breaking.

    The severity of the disaster on the human population of Scranton is varied.  This is because of all the different people from different locations that have gathered here.  To elaborate, I have many friends who have experienced earthquakes and are always prepared and know what to do if the situation arise.  However, I also have friends who would probable panic if an earthquake would happen in Scranton, as well as most of the population.  The biggest factor that would affect the population would be knowledge, in my opinion.  Knowing what to do and what not to do would be the biggest factor in deciding one’s safety.  Another factor would most likely be experience.  However, this factor is hard to obtain since we rarely get earthquakes, if any at all.

  3. From my experience, the biggest disaster that could happen would be flooding.  I say this because flooding is mostly the biggest problems I have heard about in my life in Scranton.  This is mostly because of how much rain we get in NEPA.  Like the sayin, “when it rains, it pours” I believe that really is the case here.  When I was in High School I’ve seen many house have floods, sewer drains were over flowing, and water damage happening all of the neighborhoods.  Many of my friends were victims to floods due to where they lived and a couple local businesses also suffered from this.
  4. I think the best action to take for the flooding problem in Scranton has already mostly been solved.  For instance, when I was in High School the city began installing the flood canals around the city.  These channels were extremely helpful since flooding of homes and businesses weren’t happening as much anymore.  This project was put into place by Scranton officials.  The most the people of Scranton can do is to report damages to these tunnels or if they notice anything abnormal.

Module 8 – Vulnerability Reduction

My hometown of Doylestown, PA is considered to be not very vulnerable at all when it comes to natural hazards and disasters. Although it can be affected by many types of hazards, it is often not hit hard, and it is a safe place to be. When looking at the maps, it appears to show that eastern Pennsylvania is affected mostly by hailstorms, extratropical (winter) storms, and a low risk of tornadoes. Although it is possible for these hazards to occur in my hometown, I have only seen occasional severe winter storms, and very light hail a couple times. The maps provided would be much easier to read if it had specific areas zoomed in to show more detail. Since where I live appears to be on the edge of many severity levels, a more detailed map would help to differentiate between them better.

On the Emergency and Disaster Information Service map, I found a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that occurred just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Although it is possible for Doylestown to be hit by an earthquake, it would be very unlikely to be hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake. The fault lines known to cause earthquakes on the east coast are relatively far from my town and not very active. If an earthquake of this scale were to happen directly at my hometown, it could potentially cause significant damage. The description says that the earthquake caused up to moderate damage in well-built buildings, and most of the buildings in Doylestown are well built and low to the ground. However, there are some older and historical buildings in the area that might get more severely damaged. In terms of scale, a disaster of this size would be huge compared to my small town, and would affect the surrounding areas which could potentially include Philadelphia. The impact would be different in Papua New Guinea compared to my hometown. Although it is less populated, the area of the earthquake will likely suffer from more human injuries and not as much financial damage as my hometown, since this area is less wealthy and developed than Doylestown. Although most people in my hometown would likely be fine in a disaster like this, there is still potential for injuries, as well as lots of property damage. The vulnerable people in my hometown would include the people who are living in the older and not as structurally sound buildings. An earthquake of this size would cause far more damage to those buildings than the more solid ones. A way that this vulnerability could be reduced is by reinforcing weaker or aging buildings, and making sure others are strong enough.

From my personal experience, the largest natural hazards that my hometown faces are snow storms, and floods in the areas closest to the Delaware River due to excessive rainfall. These are the only threats that I think can cause real damage or injuries. Since I have lived there for my entire life, I have a good idea of the types of issues the town can face. Snow storms happen every winter, and usually can cause minor property damage, or injuries to people working to clear snow. Every once in a while, the Doylestown area can be hit by a powerful winter storm that can cause power outages, collapsed roofs, and other serious property damage. Flooding of the Delaware River is also an occasional issue. In the past, this has caused extensive damage to the buildings and homes that are low and close to the river.

Based on what I have learned in this module and my personal experience of natural hazards in my hometown, there are several things that can be done to reduce vulnerability. The Doylestown Township can increase infrastructure to help clear roads and sidewalks of in the case of serious snowstorms to reduce the risk of traffic accidents and snow related injuries. They can also offer more assistance to those in need of help during these storms, as well as make better judgments for when it is necessary to close local schools. For reducing vulnerability in case of flooding, homes and buildings should be built up higher when next to the river, and can implement stronger building techniques to increase their durability.

Vulnerability reduction

  1. I am from Pittsburgh, Pa. According to the NATHAN world map of natural hazard my hometown overall is a low risk area. The area appears to be in zone 3 for hailstorms. It is a zone 1 area for extratropical storms. It is a zone 2 area for tornadoes. Its is a zone 1 area fro wildfires. I do not think the NATHAN world map is best suited for this activity. The map breaks areas apart in a very large scale which is not helpful when analyzing a specific city. Also, the climate impacts labels are difficult to pinpoint.
  2. The current disaster that I chose is a biological hazard the is occurring in Michigan and Wisconsin. A rare blood disease caused by Elizabethkingia, a rare bacteria  that is normally harmless, is affecting many individuals with already weakened immune systems. I think this disaster could happen in my hometown. I think my hometown is at a medium risk because the bacteria is found in reservoirs, lakes and rivers and my hometown does have some of these risk factors. This disaster is taking place in two states which is a much larger scale than my hometown. If this incident were to occur at the scale of my hometown it could potentially kill many people. The most vulnerable people would have already existing health conditions. If the disease were to strike in an area with a lot of hospitals or nursing homes it could kill a lot of people. My tons vulnerability would decrease if it struck in an area with many healthy people, like a college campus.
  3. From my own experience , some of the biggest natural disasters faced in Pittsburgh,Pa are blizzards, flooding and hail storms. In the winter months Pittsburgh experiences very heavy snow which can cause many accidents and road delays. This also increases the amount of salt used on the roads. This is responsible for the erosion and potholes on the road.  Pittsburgh also experiences many floods. The area has a lot of hills which allows the water to drain and accumulate in certain areas
  4. To reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in my hometown there are a few things that could be done. Preventative measures could be taken. In the case of snowstorms, appropriate staffing for snow plows and salt trucks could be planned for. This would be best planned by public works.  Also, emergency response teams could be better prepared to deal with the increased amount of car accidents and falls that occur due to the snowstorm . In the case of a biological hazard like the one occurring in michigan and wisconsin plans could be made to better isolate the elderly and the ill from bacteria and viruses that may spread to them more easily. This would best be performed by health departments or doctors.

Learning Activity 8 – Jiye Choi

Even though Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards is small to see, I think it is pretty accurate with respect to chosen area, Seoul. Because South Korea is such a small country, so it was hard to see where Seoul exactly is but entire Korea is quite seem to be accurate. There are about 4~5 typhoons which affect Korea but there are definitely more typhoons that are not strong enough, and even if we don’t experienced intensive earthquake, there are tiny little earthquakes reported so we can’t say we are safe from earthquake either. It is very dry during winter, wildfire causes too.


I chose an example of earthquake occurred in Japan. My hometown can experience the same type of disaster and we actually experienced few times. Earthquakes explained by plate tectonics, and Japan place at where 4 plates meet. That’s why there are so many earthquakes in Japan, and Korea is located along Japan so we are kind of influence from it. However, earthquakes in Japan is much strong than Korea. The example I chose, which scale is 6 which is considered strong and the most recent earthquake in Korea is 2.9 which is much less strong than Japan’s. Korea is more vulnerable than Japan because Japan had many experience with large scale earthquake so they are well prepared, while Korea is not prepared for earthquake so it will be more damage when there is 6 scale earthquake. To reduce the vulnerability we need to build earthquake-proof buildings, and have safety practice for earthquake.


For my experience, Seoul is the safe city from the natural hazard. However, currently due to the appearance of skyscrapers, the ground compromised all the soil around it. As a result, the possibility to occur the sinkhole would be increased. In addition, because of the high population density of Seoul, the damage from this disaster could bring high damage and need lots of money to reconstruct it. Therefore, it could be a serious problem. For example, in 2015, a couple leaving a transport in Seoul plunged 10 feet into the walkway when a sinkhole opened underneath their feet. The occurrence was gotten on the transport’s observation video and spread crosswise over online networking destinations.


To solve this serious problem, the indiscriminate development or construction of the skyscrapers would be eschewed. In addition, the basic construction work must be solid fundamental. There are two basic solutions to reduce the occurrence of sinkhole, which are education and technology. With education, we can learn how to avoid or reduce many impacts. Therefore, we need to conduct disaster drill. When we actually meet that the real situation, we can reduce the damage of human life. In addition, technology helps the recovery process. Therefore, engineers are the best people to perform this problem and government can control the problem and aid for recovery.


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.

Module 8: Vulnerability Reduction

  1. In my home town of Kennett Square, PA there doesn’t seem to be many natural hazards according to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards. From zooming into the map I learned of two natural hazards potentially facing my town. The first is a Zone 4 tropical cyclone located just off the coast. The second possible hazard is an increase in heavy rain. When reading the map, it was very difficult to differentiate all the states from each other and even harder to decipher whether or not the hazards directly affect Kennett Square. In my opinion the Nathan Map is a somewhat poor tool to use for this task due to the lack of detail and difficulty of reading.
  2. For my disaster, I chose a tornado located in the state of Alabama. This type of disaster could potentially occur in Kennett Square. According to the Nathan Map, my town is located in Zone 2 for tornado frequency. This implies that though there is a low risk of receiving a tornado, Kennett Square is still vulnerable to one. The scale of the disaster is small for my hometown, which is similar to the area for which it is occurred in Alabama. The storm is said to have only left a medium amount of damage, so the impact of the disaster would most likely be unchanged if it occurred in Kennett Square. Since my hometown consists of densely populated communities and less dense populated farm areas, depending on where the tornado would determine people’s vulnerability. The people living in the more open farm areas are much less vulnerable than those located in the dense towns, which would lead to a disproportionate impact if a disaster were to occur. In order to reduce the town’s vulnerability to the disaster it would be projection. With advanced notice, people can be more prepared for the disaster and possibly leave areas for which the disaster could directly affect.
  3. After living in Kennett Square for seven years, I have learned that the town experiences a large amount of rainfall and frequent high winds. From 1950 to 2010, Kennett Square has experienced over 949 floods and 2,577 thunderstorm winds (Kennett). This information correctly depicts the large amount of rainfall we receive each year. The town’s tornado index is #128, which based off algorithms describing the tornado levels in the region (Kennett). This high index indicated that Kennett Square has a higher chance experiencing a tornado. I personally have never experienced a tornado while living in this town, so it surprises me that the index number is so high.
  4. As mentioned earlier I believe that early projections of possible natural hazards would benefit Kennett Square. If a heavy rainstorm in coming and there is a possibility of flooding, then it’s important to stock up on food and water. Since the flooding affects all the major roads, having advanced notice would allow people to stock up before it’s too late. The best people to perform these actions would be the natural scientists who study these disasters first hand. They have the potential of predicting possible future disasters and alerting the community. A task I can do to reduce vulnerability to disaster is spreading the word to make sure others know about potential disaster. Another task I could preform is sharing my resources with those who may not have enough.

Resource List:

“Kennett Square, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” –™.

Accessed April 01, 2016.



Vulnerability Reaction

  1. My hometown of Perkasie, PA is located about an hour outside of Philadelphia. From looking and studying the map “Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards” it is a little difficult to decipher any exact natural disasters my hometown would face. In that regard however it appears that the area in which my hometown is located is subjected to moderate to low amounts of earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires but is more likely to experience larger or more intense amounts of tropical storms, hailstorms, and also extratropical storms (winter storms). One event that occurred in my area was Hurricane Sandy, my area was lucky enough to not have extreme damages from the storm but my family especially lost power for about a week while others also did not regain power for a long while. I have also experienced some very intense snow storms where it made difficult to travel and do daily tasks. Although neither of these cases would I consider a natural disaster.
  2.  The disaster that I chose off of the Emergency and Disaster Information Service is the environment pollution that is occurring in southeastern region of the US. The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station has been leaking radioactive material in to surrounding protected water. My hometown could experience the same type of disaster because of the location of the “Limerick Nuclear Power Plant” it is possible that if radioactive material were to leak from the machines that my area and waters would be affected due to the fact I am located about 30 mins from there. Due to my towns location we are moderately vulnerable to the potential of leaking radioactive material. My hometown is not large with a population of approximately 8,500 people a disaster of this size would be catastrophic to my town and would potentially danger us for years to come. The disaster currently occurring is located near Miami, Fl and so the city has a much larger population with a more concentrated amount of people in a smaller space so the disaster has potential to be very detrimental to this city as well due to the fact of the amount of people it can reach. In order to decrease vulnerability I feel as though there would have to be a relocation of the power plant to avoid the risk of contact with humans as much as possible. My town is especially vulnerable because we are a farming community in which we rely greatly on the local water ways, a contamination to said water way would effect the farming and hurt the town financially along with biologically.
  3.  As I described earlier my hometown of Perkasie, Pa we have not experienced a large amount of natural disasters which I am thankful for. But I also mentioned earlier that we did encounter a Hurricane Sandy which took a toll on my hometown. Due to the heavy rains and winds we lost many trees, branches, and many roads were washed out and unable to use. The loss of branches and trees caused many power outages and due to the length and magnitude of the hurricane it took about a week for everyone on the grid to regain power after the storm. The storm caused many power outages “more than 1.3 million Pennsylvania electricity customers. The majority of those outages were focused in Philadelphia, its surrounding suburbs and the Lehigh Valley.” (1). It also cause some deaths  according to (2) at least four deaths were caused by Hurricane Sandy in Pa.
  4. In order to decrease vulnerability when it comes to Hurricanes I believe the most beneficial thing to do for my town would be to educated them on the proper precautions of what to do when an event like this one can occur. By this I mean where they should go if a storm is coming and they do not have proper shelter and any actions they can take to protect there homes from damage. The town representatives would be the best people to educate the town or maybe to bring in an educated personal to instruct curious town members before hurricane season approaches. Personally I plan to educate myself on precautions I can take to not run into the same problems and issues I experienced in prior years.


  1. Resources:



MODULE 8: Vulnerability Reduction

  1. From identifying on the Nathan National Disaster Map, I see that my region, Western Pennsylvania, faces low risks for wild fires and extratropical storms. From the map, we see that my region falls in zone 2 for hailstorms and tornados. When trying to find Pittsburgh on the map, I couldn’t really hone in on the specific area which I lived. I can kind of get the idea by just guessing, but I wish I had a better view of the map so that I could see just how susceptible I was to disaster. The map did an okay job giving me an idea of the likelihood of me experiencing which type of disaster, but I can’t really see PRECISELY I fall into each zone.
  1. By using the RSOE EDIS map, I chose to look at the disaster happening within Beijing, China. In Beijing, they are experiencing what is characterized as a biological hazard, which in this case is Yellow Fever Virus. The yellow fever virus was categorized as a medium biological hazard. After researching yellow virus, I don’t see it being a huge threat to the United States. Yellow Fever is predominantly in Africa and South America, with very few cases of Americans getting the virus unless they travel to an area which carries the infection. There is even a preventative vaccine to take so that if you get bit by a mosquito, you won’t get infected. Because of this, I would say it poses very low risk. Comparing Pittsburgh to Beijing is hard, because Beijing is such a small city. Though we can see that the threat for Yellow Fever was not that large since only 3 people were infected. In my town, it would be like 20-30 people getting sick, which would be a pretty serious threat. Because Yellow Fever is caused by an infection from a mosquito, I would imagine that people in Pittsburgh who live near the rivers and other small areas of water in the suburbs would be at a higher risk than the inner city.
  1. In my hometown, we get a lot of floods. Although they are natural disasters and occur frequently, they really do impede on the lives of the citizens that live in my city. The reason why Pittsburgh is so vulnerable to floods is because of our hill landscape. Although the lesson states Pennsylvania has low vulnerability, I would say that flooding is about the biggest problem that we face. Flooding is challenging to fix in general, but it is especially hard since a lot of the flooding plains are near/within neighborhoods.

  1. An effort to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards has already occurred in my city in the form of Post-event Recovery and Reconstruction. Pittsburgh has enacted a flood disaster tax which is supposed to cover the cost of if not most, all of the extensive damages caused by floods. I think a way to reduce vulnerability even more would be to extend the disaster recovery tax to all citizens, just in case something were to happen. For example, Pittsburgh gets very few tornadoes, but they do happen. Money would be helpful to fix siding on houses or car windows in the event of an unexpected tornado. I think that the local government would be the best to contact regarding this matter. They would be able to form a budget and vote to enact once it is approved. I can personally make people aware of our risks when it comes to natural disasters, helping spread awareness so that people are able to prepare properly.



Natural Disasters

I live in Pittsburgh, which is a decent sized city. However, using the Nathan map it’s hard to pinpoint where Pittsburgh is. It would be a lot more helpful if you could search for your city. Then the map could list possible natural hazards you could face in that city. Also, the maps don’t even have the states outlined, this makes it even harder to guess where my city is. Based on the information from the Nathan map my city is at very low risks for natural hazards. Wildfires, tornadoes, and tropical storms pose very little threat to my city. They’re all categorized in very low zones. From the map it looks like my city could face heavy rain or a slight hail storm. During the El Nino, the maps shows warmer weather and less storms. On the other hand, during the La Nina there is an increase in storms.

The disaster I chose was a wildfire in Cherokee National Forest in Northeast Tennessee. This event is very unlikely to happen in my city because we don’t experience a lot of hot temperature with no rain. The ground in my city is saturated and wouldn’t burn as fast as somewhere like Tennessee that’s dry. The fire was believed to be human caused and burned around 150 acres of lands. Although this is very large scale, something like this in my town would be devastating. I live in a city that’s very populated and has little forests. If 150 acres of forests burned this would be almost a whole State Park. This event in Tennessee was only considered medium damage. In my city it would considered high damage because of how close everything is and how little forests we have. This disaster could possible harm a lot of people in my home town. We’re all in close proximity and definitely not prepared for a forest fire. As we know from this module the severity of the disaster depends on both physical nature of the event and the social nature of the human population. The physical nature part wouldn’t have a big role for my city, because as I stated we aren’t prone to forest fires. The vulnerability to humans would be based on how close they live to a forests. The closer you are the more danger you face. You could reduce the towns’ vulnerability by posting signs during a dry season so people know forests fires are at a higher chance. Also, you can make sure the town has a good emergency response team. These people can help conceal the fire before it spreads further.

A natural hazard my city could face is something like a blizzard or severely cold temperatures. We also face slight tornado hazards. These could lead to power outages, or even car accidents. When I was in middle school we had a snow storm in Pittsburgh so bad school was canceled for a week. We also didn’t have power for two days. This was actually a very serious situation because the temperature was around 10 degrees. People could have face hypothermia if they weren’t prepared or outside for a long time.

To reduce vulnerability in my home town we could make sure we’re prepared. This includes having a good emergency response team or even and emergency kit at home with basic needs such as water and food in it. To reduce power outages we could make sure tree are away from the power lines. For us to prevent flooding we could make sure we have adequate drains. You could also have backup power in your home such as a generator. The best thing for a natural disaster is to be educated and prepare for the worse. The best people to help overcome these are local authorities, or the whole community working together.

Module Eight: Vulnerability Reduction

  1. For this assignment I used my hometown of Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania. Hunlock Creek is located in Luzerne County in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Increases in heavy rainfall and the possibility of an occasional tropical storm or hurricane exist. While in Zone Two in regard to tornadoes, scattered mountains will likely prevent any such occurance. The Susquehanna River often floods neighboring towns which are not as elevated as Hunlock Creek. While the Nathan Map is well suited to identify broad events like climate change, things like flooding and landslides typically depend on an area’s specific physical geography.
  2. My chosen natural disaster is an M 6.0 earthquake off the coast of Shingu, Japan. It is unlikely for my hometown to experience such a strong earthquake. The tectonic plates below Pennsylvania are considered to be stable. Certain plate boundaries around the world are indicative of seismic activity. The Appalachian Mountain region is not one of these locations. This earthquake occurred at sea, but would cause a reasonable amount of damage in my hometown. Old structures would likely be destroyed, in addition to a few injuries. Wealth, technology and education are all low points for my hometown, so residents would definitely become more statistically vulnerable in these areas. Additionally, the elderly and young children of my town would be more vulnerable. Wealthy people and those with newer homes would be most well equipped to handle a strong earthquake. Home and land inspections would greatly reduce the risk of human injury in the case of an earthquake.
  3. From personal experience and concepts I’ve learned in physical geography, Hunlock Creek is a very safe place to live. Occasionally, snowfall will reach a hazardous level. Staying off the road and wearing warm clothes are simple solutions. Ultisol soils are not prone to erosion and small mountains shield the town from tornadoes. Lightning in the warmer months will often affect powerlines and knock over trees. Placing structures in safe locations relative to trees and powerlines is an easy preventative measure. Flash floods sometimes occur, but can be avoided with drainage techniques. Other than strong winds from a hurricane making its way up the coast, Hunlock Creek is fairly safe, Although not technically a natural disaster, a nuclear powerplant is around 15 miles away from my hometown. The recommended distance to avoid a nuclear disaster is 50 miles (NRDC).
  4. Inspection of infrastructure and homes for quality issues would reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in Hunlock Creek. This could be done by professionals working in private industry and paid for by homeowners or taxes. I can’t morally do much for people who don’t believe in climate change and are willing to vote for Donald Trump. In the next few years, I would like to test water quality and flow patterns from all of streams in Hunlock Creek. This could potentially highlight flood areas and alert homeowners of contaminants in drinking water.
“Minimize Harm and Security Risks of Nuclear Energy.” NRDC. 2016. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.


My hometown is West Chester, Pennsylvania, often times associated with Philadelphia. NATHAN world map of hazards identified my area as zone 3 for hail storms (moderate). Also, zone one for winter storms which is moderate and similar to most of America, and surprisingly zone 2 for tornados. I found this to be relatively high considering I’ve never experienced one, but experienced many snow storms. Being close to the east coast, tropical cyclones may be hazardous to my area as well. I found the map to be very interesting and suited very well for global observation. However, because the map is so widespread, when trying to pin pint my exact area the zones got a little jumbled at times.


I identified a forest fire in Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee that caused medium damage. This could happen to my area id it was caused by humans, or if we are experiencing a drought. However, they are rare in my regions because we tend to get a good amount of rain, and have limited forest space. West Chester is home to around 20,000 residences in the immediate town, and not including students at the University. The Cherokee National Forest is forest, therefore there are no residences in the direct area. If my town were to experience a forest fire close to it it would dramatically increase the disaster rates because of the human damage. People in my town have different levels of vulnerability based on how much foliage surrounds them. You could reduce this factor by destroying all the trees and woods, however that’s really bad. Another way would be to educate the residents on wildfire safety.


I have personally experienced many snow storms, hail storms, and hurricane sandy. I will focus on hurricane sandy because it is rather unique. The category-3 storm hit in late October 2012 and we got off of school for three days. It caused electrical loss, flooding, water damage, construction damage, but luckily no deaths around me. This is not a common problem, but it causes major amounts of damage when it does. Snow and hail storms cause similar damage when they hit at a much smaller scale.


Awareness and preparation are the biggest ways my community could take action in reducing their vulnerability from hazards. The best people to preform these actions would be teachers in school having a more thorough awareness than just the routine weather drills. Also, townships can send out awareness letters or newspaper articles to help residents prepare and be aware. I personally can prepare by stocking up on essential goods, like extra water, canned goods, batteries, and blankets incase of disasters

Jake Hughes- Module 8

  1. The event that I plan to write about for this module is about a tornado in the USA on March 31st, 2016. The tornado touched down in the northern part of Alabama. The tornado touched down around 7:07 p.m. on Thursday. Luckily, there were no reports of any damage. The National weather service also issued a few tornado warnings for a few counties near there. After the first tornado in Alabama, another one touched down in the state. It struck Eldridge, Alabama around 8 p.m. There were also no reports of any damage or injuries.

I live in Uniontown, PA. The town is located about an hour south of Pittsburgh. Tornadoes aren’t as big of a threat to PA as they are the south, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get any. There are about 12 tornadoes on average, per year in Pennsylvania. Yorks County, Adams County, and Lancaster County get the most tornadoes in PA. None of which are close to my hometown, so it is rather unlikely of us getting hit with many tornadoes. My hometown could experience such a disaster though. This scale of natural disaster in Alabama would be a little large for Uniontown. Uniontown’s population is minimal in comparison. A tornado of this size would demolish my whole town. The amount of damage could possibly be double in my hometown. Based on the geography of my hometown, the people living up in the mountains would be affected in a different way in a tornado hit. If everyone knew of the disaster, we could implement a way to get everyone to the upper side of the mountain where they may be less likely to get injure by its effects. The multitude of houses and developments between the mountains would create a funnel for the tornado to rip through.

(reference- )

  1. The disaster that I mentioned in the first paragraph is quite likely to happen in my hometown. The other likely disasters would be flooding and snow storms. In my personal experience, I have been snowed in the house for almost a week. I also got out of school for 2 weeks before. In 1950, Uniontown and the tri-county area received its largest blizzard of all time; leaving 26-28 inches of snow. ( My friends and I can all still remember when there would be major floods from the mountains that would put us all out of school and even shut some stores down.

Resources:  ( )

  1. The natural disasters within the city of Uniontown could be handled a little better, but from the years and years (dating back to 1950 just in what I have wrote alone) of experience we have produced greater reactive and proactive abilities. Uniontown has many salt deposits running up and down the mountains and major roads. Sometimes we will experience several inches of snow over-night and still attend school the next morning. PennDot is primarily the best choice for treating the roads. They are always out clearing our roads during the winters. I could easily volunteer with firemen to clean the roads up a little bit before the school day started. I could even help local businesses with their parking lots to ensure them of opening.

Chris Miller – Learning Activity 8

My hometown of Pittsburgh is located in a region with a low risk of natural disasters.  According to the Nathan World Map Pittsburgh has a very low risk of wild fires and tornados.  There is some earthquake risk, but it’s also negligible.  The greatest risk seems to come from precipitation which causes flooding and hazardous winter snowfall.  In my opinion, the Nathan World Map is not very well suited for looking at specific cities. The map is a better resource for comparing different global regions on a larger scale.  It’s hard to accurately determine the risks that Pittsburgh faces.  To improve the Map’s usefulness, it would help if it were interactive and allowed the user to zoom in to a smaller scale.

I chose to focus on a heat wave in Kenya that occurred this March.  According to the RSOE EDIS website there were no fatalities, but there were reports of dehydration.  This disaster interested me because it’s something that can affect my hometown of Pittsburgh as well.  Heat waves can affect many different regions, albeit to varying degrees.  Pittsburgh has a temperate climate, so any heatwave wouldn’t have the same intensity as a heat wave in Kenya because it lies on the equator and therefore has a much hotter climate.  The scale of the disaster in Kenya was widespread, but didn’t do a whole lot of damage to the populace.  Heat waves are very dangerous, especially for people that lack air conditioning.  People engaged in physical activity are also at great risk of heat stroke or dehydration.  I think that part of what makes heat wave so dangerous is that many people do not take them very seriously.  Everyone takes most natural disasters seriously, but heat waves are a more insidious type of disaster.  I think that the scale of the disaster in Kenya is similar to what would happen in Pittsburgh, however as I said before the intensity would be lower.  Also, most people have air conditioning in the U.S., which can save lives if people limit their time outside.  If a heat wave hits Pittsburgh we would see an increase in dehydration and heat-related illness just like in Kenya.  Heat waves affect a wide area and can last for a long time. This puts the poor at a special disadvantage.  Like I previously stated, most people in the U.S. have air-condition, which can help people avoid being sickened by a heat wave.  A few of the only people who lack air conditioning are the poor.  They may either not have it or have too little money to pay for the electricity.  Young children are also at a disadvantage because they are active and do not understand the dangers posed or the need to stay hydration.

Pittsburgh is a very safe city in regards to natural disaster risk.  The three largest risks according to Brookline History are flooding, precipitation and tornados.  Flooding is the largest risk because of the way Pittsburgh is situated.  The city is surrounded by rivers and Brookline History says that the city experiences a flood at least once a year.  The flood level is 24 feet and the river is normally around 16 feet.  A flood that should statistically occur once every 100 years would be around 35 feet higher, which is almost 20 feet higher than the normal water height.  The second greatest risk is also posed by precipitation because Pittsburgh can experience severe snowstorms.  The area is also vulnerable to tornados and earthquakes, but these are less severe than in other regions. I have personally experienced a minor earthquake and tornado but in general Pittsburgh is very safe from natural disasters.

To increase the resiliency to natural disasters in my town of Pittsburgh the community can take a variety of steps.  First we must understand the dangers and vulnerabilities of the geographic region.  The city of Pittsburgh has many rivers and is located in a valley.  This makes it susceptible to flooding.  Flooding is by far the greatest danger faced.  To combat the dangers of flooding and other disasters, early warning systems are the first line of defense.  Accurately predicting natural disasters allows the government and citizens to mobilize and prepare for the upcoming event.  Pre-preparation is key to readying any area for a disaster.  Competent systems such as evacuation procedures must be in place and ready to be executed. I think that the local and city government would be in the best place to perform these actions.  Individuals can also prepare by understanding what to do during different disasters.

Vulnerability Reduction – Ryan Gebhardt

My hometown is Delran, New Jersey outside Philly. From scanning The Nathan World Map of Natural hazards, it seems my largest environmental threat is a hurricane coming up the east coast and possible flooding. The map seems to be a great way to get an idea of what disasters parts of the world face, but it isn’t particularly well suited to give an indication of what individual cities and towns face. The map itself isn’t very large, and it wasn’t easy figuring out my town’s location and potential natural disasters.

Using the RSOE interactive map, I noticed an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 measured off the coast of Japan. This caught my eye because it reminded me of the past earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Japanese coast only a few years ago. While this particular earthquake isn’t expected to produce a sizable tsunami, if at all, it is a chilling reminder that this sort of event can happen out of the blue. While this is scary for Japan, the chance of a large-scale earthquake happening in New Jersey is incredibly unlikely. We are nowhere near a fault line, meaning any seismic activity must come from deep underground. If this type of event were to happen in my hometown, however, the earthquake would likely cause a considerable amount of damage. While I’m not entirely positive on what level of strength my hometown’s buildings are built, they were definitely made with earthquakes in mind. Homes like mine that include a basement would be at much higher risk to collapse, causing serious structural damage across the region.

From studying online factors around my hometown I’ve found that a devastating hurricane coming up the east coast or torrential downpour resulting in flooding are the most dangerous two natural disasters that could occur in my hometown. My hometown has experienced hurricanes before, but they usually produce limited property damage in my area, unlike the shore which bears the brunt of the storm. The hurricane’s biggest threat is knocking down trees and power lines in its path and flooding the area. Floods aren’t only caused by hurricanes though, as the local region is prone to heavy downpour. Flooding causes damage by seeping into structures and blocking infrastructure like roads and bridges. The property damage from this can be costly, and with the combination of power loss from these storms can cause life-threatening conditions.

The best way for my town to protect itself from these two natural disasters is to ensure buildings are well protected from flooding conditions and that our electrical utilities are well protected in the event of heavy winds and possible flying debris. Flood protection can be in the form of building codes, a town-wide effort to shore up building protections, or installing more flood drains around the town to prevent water buildup. Hurricanes are trickier to prepare for since they involve flying debris and high-speed winds, which can cause unfavorable situations no matter what you plan for. For a hurricane, the best preparation is a thought-out evacuation/protection plan. If the homes of residents are at risk of destruction from the wind, the township should have a procedure for residents to take cover in a community building made to survive such conditions. I believe my home town already provides this service, like many around me. The best people to foresee these procedures would be the local government officials, like the mayor and health and safety office. If I were to personally prepare for these events, I would ensure my family had proper access to clean water in the event of the water pipes becoming unusable from flooding. I would encourage my neighbors to do the same and make sure there’s enough food for at least a few days to a week.

Module 8 – Happening Hazards – Bernstein

Hometown: Bernville, Pennsylvania

Disaster Reporting On: Wildfire in Cherokee National Park (northeast Tennessee)

  • EDIS NUMBER: WF-20160401-52740-USA
  • DATE OF OCCURRENCE: April 1, 2016 (~3:17 AM UTC)
  • Believed to have been human-caused

1). In my hometown (Bernville, PA), we are prone to wind and rain. Given the choice, I would use another map for Natural Hazard information. The results shown by Nathan’s World Map were too blurry to make distinct (especially as one zoomed in further and further), and so I am afraid that I had to almost guesstimate on many of the hazards. I am thankful that I do not live in such disaster-prone areas as some others do, but also remember that it is still in the realm of possibility; we have had the local man-made lake flood over on several occasions (we have since gotten better at preventing that) and there has been heavy winds and damages before.

2). My hometown itself cannot experience such a disaster, but the area around it could. My hometown doesn’t actually have a lot of wooded areas to catch fire –  mainly apartment buildings and homes – but it is surrounded by wooded areas out towards the farm areas. This is not to say that fires do not happen here though – they do, they’re just not “forest fires”. The scale of the event is not larger than the size of my hometown, but would take a sizable portion of it away. The fire I chose to study spread (as of this writing) to 150 acres; Bernville is only 272 acres – that’s over half of Bernville destroyed if the disaster were to happen there as opposed to where it did (the Cherokee National Forest). Since the forest is obviously much bigger (650,000 acres)  than my modest hometown, the proportion of damage done is significantly smaller, thereby making a bigger impact on my town. Wealth would be the biggest factor of vulnerability in my town; coming from a small more “rural” town, most of the residents are in the lower economic classes. As a result, these people would not be able to afford rebuilding their homes after the fire. Age could be considered tied for first with “Wealth” as a vulnerability factor as there are a lot of aged and children. My hometown is very unfortunate in this as we have a lot of elderly residents (looking for quiet areas to live) and the local elementary school not 15 minutes walk from my home. Reducing the vulnerability (and/or getting rid of it completely) is not something that could be easily done; asking the elderly to move or moving the children to the other school district some distance away could prove futile and anger many, but we have a good response team – there are at least 3 fire companies within a 10 mile distance from my hometown making for a good response in disaster.

3). Beside my personal experience (raised here from infancy) and the experience of others – namely older residents, I managed to dig up a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment and Mitigation Plan of my home county. The assessment and plan are rather old but still manage to hold up well when comparing to today’s (and recent past) events. Reviewing the assessment, I realize that wind has not been as big of a hazard as I previously had thought; it definitely causes damage (as there is a documented case), but apparently the main sources of strife have been heavy snow (for convenience I will loop that in with flooding/rain, or “precipitation”) and drought. Keeping along with what Nathan’s Hazard Map said, there are cases of fires (2001, 2007, 2008, and 2009) listed that were large enough to cause economic damage as well as physical.

Berks County Emergency Services.  (2013, February). Hazard Vulnerability Assessment and Mitigation Plan Update. Retrieved April 1, 2016, from

4). As mentioned previously, Bernville has had flooding before, but we have gotten much better at prevention measures. Blue Marsh, a manmade levee – was made in order to help catch the flood waters to prevent it from flooding the neighboring city of Reading. We also have dams in place in order to control the flow of the water (at least to some degree) allowing more relief in times of flood AND drought. The Army Corps of Engineering is actually the organization/people that would best be suited to deal with matters relating to Blue Marsh, as they were the ones who designed and built it in the first place. Becoming aware, buying flood insurance, and obeying orders when flooded are all different ways I can help (in this example at least); becoming aware of the natural hazards one is likely to be subjected to can better prepare one to face them.


Natural Hazards Preparation and Information

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, My town of Vienna, Virginia, is prone to heavy rainfall, high wind speeds, mild hailstorms, and mild to moderately prone to tornadoes. The map also stated that the Cyclone El Nino and La Nina affected my hometown very differently from each other. El Nino causes fewer storms while La Nina caused more storms.   The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards does an adequate job of showing the hazards of my area. The map seemed to be a little too general. This being said, I would recommend using another map or source for locating natural hazards in more confined areas such as towns or cities.


I chose to look into the Popocatepetl Volcano eruption that happened in Mexico. The eruption was harmless, the volcano spewed ashes and vapor into the air. My hometown would be very unlikely to experience a volcanic eruption because there are no volcanoes in my town. If the unlikely chance that it did happen in my hometown, I would think that the population of Vienna, Virginia would be very unprepared considering that we have never experienced a natural disaster like this. Most people would likely attempt to escape causing mass amounts of traffic. If the volcano were to be in D.C., which is close to my town, people of my town would remain fine because of the Potomac River. The river creates a barrier between Virginia and D.C., this would limit the spread of lava if it were to occur. The scale of the volcano wouldn’t really cause any harm to people of my town because it is not seeping lava.


Using other resources and my own knowledge of Vienna, I found that the vulnerability of flooding is very high according to, with a total of 742 floods form 1950-2010. My town is located near the Potomac River, this being said I have experienced the flooding of tributaries that run through my town. During a lot of storms, the storm drains will become clogged with debris. This causes flooding and as a result slowed traffic and roads to become closed. The creek behind my house has flooded enough to soak my back yard and cause water damage to the basement of my house. Also, according to, Vienna is prone to tornados, with an n index value greater than the whole state. Although none of the tornados are above a 3.5, there is still the potential risk of an intense tornado.


In order to reduce vulnerability to natural hazard prevalent in my area, some prior preparation and education can reduce the effects of a natural hazard. Some simple preparation for my area that can be done by anyone can include stocking up on canned food and water for emergency power outages. A good first aid kit is also a necessity; they can be bought or made. The kit should include some medical supplies as well as some versatile materials including rope and a flashlight with extra batteries. The last preparation I would assume to be beneficial to anyone facing a threat of a natural disaster would be to educate everyone on the safety and how to deal with situations that could potentially be life threatening. Teachers should teach this education to children. The lessons should also include an action by the children to report the learned material to their parents.





Module 8- Natural Hazards

1.       I have been living in Bucks County for over 15 years and have not seen too many natural hazards.  Since the map is over 5 years old, the environment has changed a lot so I do not think that is it very reliable since it isn’t up to date.  Also, it is really hard to pinpoint exactly the natural hazards in my county because it looks like it generalizes the area.  With this being said, it looks like the biggest threat for my area would be tropical cyclones since we are in zone 4.  Also, we are in zone 3 for hailstorms and zone 3 for tornados.  It surprised me that Bucks County is zone 0 for extratropical storms; I feel like I have seen these more than any of the higher treats!  Earthquakes, volcanos, and tsunamis are no threat in my area.

2.       In Chile on March 29, 2016 at 7:11 AM, the Copahue volcano erupted after weeks of slowly building up.  The ash poses no threat to the people living there, however, they did warn people ahead of time.  This type of natural disaster is not a threat in my hometown.  According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, there are no volcanos near my area.  It reached an altitude of 3.6 km and an area of 35 km east of the volcano.  Compared to Bucks County, 35 km, or about 22 miles, it not very long because we are a big area.  Even though it is not a big threat to the population in Chile, I think it would be more of a threat in my area because even though we have a lot of land, there are a lot of houses, like an automobile suburb.  However, I feel that the wealth in my area could change the vulnerability.  We might be able to afford other safety measures that Chile could not.  Also, we live right next to Philadelphia, which has some poorer people who couldn’t afford certain technologies to help keep them safe from volcanos.  Also, our schools in Bucks County, specifically Council Rock, is rated very high on education.  I think this could help vulnerability too because our teachers could teach us the threats and safety measures to take when a volcano erupts.

3.       With personal experience, I can say that tropical storms are definitely the biggest problem in my hometown.  When a rain storm comes, there is so much rain one can barely see in front of them and there is a crazy amount of wind.  We have a lot of trees around our area so when a storm comes, usually the wind knocks over trees and we lose power.  One storm in particular actually knocked a tree down on our shed and playground in our backyard and crushed them!  We have had storms where our power is out for 5 days; because of this constant problem, we bought a generator since it is a common problem.

4.       I think one of the best things to do is to form an emergency response team.  In particular, these people would be there to help us pre-event prepare, or help us get ready for the natural disaster before it happens.  There have been times that people have died in their house because of a heat stroke or froze to death. This team could be on call at all times and when a storm is coming, they could send out e-mails, letters, and phone calls about how we can prepare and be safe during the storm.  I think that there could also be a free class taught by this team that citizens could take to ask questions and get information.   Education is already very important in our hometown so being educated about natural disasters will be a good thing for our area.

Module 8: Gershom Espinoza

1. My hometown region of Socal is in a moderately active earthquake zone that stretches across the western coastline. Expected quakes range from 5-7ish though this “extreme” activity is offset by the fact that Socal isn’t exposed much if at to tropical cyclones. High(ish) wind speeds and nonexistent hailstorms (out of 10+yrs of living there I remember it happening once!) aren’t the primary areas of concern for humans/wildlife as the region suffers frequent wildfires. The Nathan map seems quite capable of mapping different weather extremes locations are subject to in addition to variance in how each region is specifically affected.
2. The disaster I chose was a medium sized tornado that occurred today in northwestern Alabama. On a “regular” weather basis excluding cyclones, Socal doesn’t have tornadoes. However as pacific storms approach the coast there could be tornado watches although often these end of being gusts of wind rather than tornadoes. Due to this, Socal isn’t really in danger of tornadoes and the infrastructure could handle “small” tornadoes, as these very same buildings have to withstand intensive earthquake. The event is rather on the minute scale as it was constrained to a specific local region. Relative to the size of my hometown it appears to have occurred within an area the size of a suburb. If the same sized event were to happen in Oceanside, more property damage would be done as there is more development but that’s it. The city is very well developed with most individuals having capable means of withstanding such a disaster and even for those who aren’t economically ahead, there are many places to go to for shelter from the extreme elements.
3. Oceanside City faces several potential disasters that include wildfires, floods, severe heat waves and weakfish pacific storms. Several times growing up I remember the region going through such unusually long heat waves that people/animals were heavily discouraged from outside activity. The potential danger with longer than average heat waves is that due to the dryness, flammable things catch on fire more easily whether or not it was caused by humans. In fact, the most severe wildfire in my region occurred after a long heat wave during my middle school years. The wildfire destroyed residential houses, wildlife, vegetation next to highways and the ever-increasing ash in the air caused schools in several districts to close for a week (I was sorta happy about that). The Oceanside community is adaptive to any unforeseen dangers that may arise from extreme weathers as there is constant info regarding the manner. “rehearsal of safety procedures at least twice a year can drastically affect the impact of emergency” (
4. Overall, Oceanside is well equipped to handle a range of disasters it may face. The biggest danger would be a wildfire during the hot summer months where a treatable accident can turn into something untamable. In the suburbs replacing water intensive vegetation with low-water or no-water usage landscaping not only reduces the fire hazard risk but also saves the homeowner water (which is becoming more expensive). The best people to address potential risks would be individuals themselves as our society is very individualistically “focused” meaning I address issues that may cause harm to me rather than on a community level although both do occur in Oceanside. As a resident of Oceanside, I can make sure to not leave highly flammable material outside longer than it would have to be as well as consistent watering of the lawn to prevent dead grass.

Vulnerability Reduction: Alex Deebel

  1. According to the NATHAN world map of natural hazards, my hometown, Hershey Pa is at risk of increased rainfall, hailstorms, extratropical storms, and tornadoes. Hershey is also in one of zones that are affected by El Nino and La Nina. The affect is fewer storms and warmer climate (El Nino only), which could be a good or a bad thing. Pennsylvania appears to be in the zones that have experiences higher than average temperatures and rainfall in the period of 1987-2007.  The NATHAN world map of natural hazards seems to be well suited for this task, considering the extensive detail of the report and seemingly credible sources it uses.

2. Terror Attack (bombing) in Turkey Bus Terminal

As recent events have shown, no country, state, or city is safe from terror attacks. Located closely to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, Hershey could be at risk of a similar terrorist attack. Personally, I don’t believe Hershey, PA would be a top target for terrorists, so I would say there is a low/ medium-low possibility that an event this tragic this would occur in Hershey.

The scale of this event was relatively small, as the attack took place in a bus terminal, killing 4 and injuring 14 others. The scale of the disaster is very small, since it was just one bus terminal, but if a bombing were to occur in an area of 14.4 miles, the size of Hershey, it would be a disaster, with thousands of deaths and injuries.

Since this disaster is directly related to human deaths, the impact on the population would be considerable large. I don’t think residents in Hershey would have different levels of vulnerability in a terrorist attack, other than unfortunately being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since Hershey is a tourist location, tourists could be more vulnerable if they are visiting Hershey Park. The human factor of age could lead to a disproportionate impact since many tourists are parents and children. The factor of wealth also comes into play for disproportionate effects since tickets for an amusement park like Hershey Park are expensive. Vulnerability to a terrorist attack could be reduced by increasing security technologies and physical presence throughout the park.

3. Other natural hazards that threaten Hershey are flooding, and tornadoes (  Tornadoes have become an increasing threat throughout central Pennsylvania over the past 10 years. Three tornadoes occurred in towns right around Hershey last summer that destroyed many homes and buildings (pennlive). Five years ago Hershey experienced an anomaly in post-hurricane storms. I remember water flooding the town in areas up to 8 feet high. We could not go into town, as it is the lowest level elevation in the area. As a result, we had to drive further distances to go to the store for over a week. The flooding destroyed many buildings and left the town a mess with mud, branches, and other litter that washed into the streets (personal experience). There is a risk that this could occur again if post-hurricane storms are severe enough.


personal experience, summer 2011


4. To reduce vulnerability to natural disasters in Hershey, there should be a group within the township administration responsible for monitoring and early detection of potential threats. I know we do not currently have a prevention team for natural disasters, so this would be a good first step. In addition, building resilience in non-disaster times would be helpful for town sustainability to disaster. This is something that I, and everyone in the community can help do. By preparing our homes, schools, and stores for floods and tornadoes, we can hope to remain safe from these known threats. In addition, when these disasters occur, we can help rebuild the town as a community, strengthening community bonds, and helping those affected.  A team led by the town administration for these emergency responses and clean-ups would keep the process well- organized.



Module 8: Natural Hazards

1. In module 7 I talked about the city that I was familiar with which was Tamaqua.  Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, Tamaqua encounters increased heavy rain, hailstorms, and winter storms.  The increased heavy rain comes about throughout the year.  This always leads to flooding of basements as there is a creek that runs through the town.  Tamaqua falls in the lower end of the zones involving hailstorms and tornados.  A few years back there was a huge hailstorm that consisted of golf ball sized hail.  In the past, Tamaqua was also under a few tornado warnings, but fortunately nothing every came about.  To complete this task, the Nathan map was well suited and made finding the information very easy.  The color coding made this map easier to understand.

2. In Angola, Africa, a biological hazard event was recorded on the “RSOE EDIS” map on February 16, 2016.  This biological hazard event occurred from bacteria and viruses that caused severe fatal diseases.  This allowed 1132 infected people and had 168 deaths.  This can most definitely happen in the city of Tamaqua as diseases can go across the world in the matter days.  Yes, these specific diseases may not actually start up in Tamaqua, but Tamaqua can have its own biological hazard event in seconds.  About 10 miles away from Tamaqua there is a chemical manufacturing plant called Air Products.  They keep this plant very safe in its operations; however, things can always go wrong.  If an event should occur dangerous chemicals would be released into the air and the water supply.  This would affect a large residential area and can spread quickly.

3. From personal experience and past generations, the biggest natural hazards of Tamaqua are caused by the Mother Nature.  There have been so many severe snow storms that have been known to accumulate a couple feet of snow and inches of ice.  At times we have been without power for days.  The heavy summer storms producing heavy rains have also been known to knock out power and cause flooding of streets and basements.  In reference to my mom, the markings on the bridge at the Knoebel’s Amusement Park, and the markings at the Bloomsburg Fair buildings, the flood in the 1970’s called Agnes left flood water levels higher than one would have thought with a lot of damage and a lot of cleanup and repair.

4. The first action in this module to reduce vulnerability to natural hazard in the city of Tamaqua would be pre-event preparedness.  The weather forecasters/news reporters, city officials, and citizens would be the best people to carry out this action.  Of course you would need the weather reports to know what is going to happen, and what is happening.  The city officials would tell you what the plans are for your individual area.  The citizens would have to get their own house and family ready for the natural hazard.  I myself would make sure I had all supplies needed for the emergency, take all the safety steps necessary, and make sure my neighbors are prepared.  Also building resilience is an important part of the pre-event preparedness as you are already prepared before anything happens.  In my opinion I feel that the pre-event preparedness is the most important way to reduce vulnerability.

Module 8, Hazards!

I live in Los Angeles, CA and according to the Nathan World Map, we face a few natural hazards. The most prominent hazard in the area is living in a Zone 4 Earthquake area. Earthquakes happen regularly in Southern California and I have experienced quite a few, although none have been seriously threatening or damaging, the experience can still be scary. The area is also a Zone ¾ wildfire areas. It is very dry in Southern California, especially with recent drought and in the dry season there are frequent wildfires. Fortunately in an El Nino year, like this year, we experience a wetter season and have seen fewer wildfires. I think the Nathan Map has a fair representation of Los Angeles area hazards.


On the RDOE and EDIS map, I chose an event in Puebla, Mexico near Mexico City. On March 31, 2016 there was a volcanic eruption. Mile high Plumes were went up into the air and environmentalists warned of falling ash. Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention raised the environmental alert level to the second degree out of three, meaning nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate.


This phenomenon would not occur in the Los Angeles area because there are not any volcanic region nearby. The nearest active volcanic field is in Northern California so it would take a massive eruption to affect the Southern California area. Volcanic eruptions in Mexico have caused tremors though and there is a lot of earthquake activity. However, the tectonic plates in Southern California Slide past each other instead of the submersive variety seen at eruption sites, therefore there is no risk of magma eruption.


This volcanic region is very near Mexico City, Mexico, which is a large city and could compare to the large population of Los Angeles. The active volcano is one of the world’s most dangerous. A mass evacuation of a large city like that is a big deal and would affect the Los Angeles Metro area in a similar capacity. Luckily, there are more warning signs for volcanic explosions than there are for Massive Earthquakes, so maybe being near a volcanic region is a safer location than living on a slide past earthquake system. If evacuations in such a large metro area were necessary I think that a similar solution to Hurricane Katrina traffic could be considered, where both sides of the highway are used for outbound traffic and incoming traffic is prohibited. This would be the only feasible way of getting such a large metro area out of the danger zone.

Module 8

Part 1:

North Eastern United States primarily focusing on Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards shows that Scranton, Pennsylvania is in Zone 0 for Earthquakes, and Tropical Cyclones. There are no volcanoes or Tsunamis and/or Storm Surges in the area of Pennsylvania to be concerned about. The only climate impact on page 3 that may be slightly concerning is the increase of heavy rains symbol that is shown slightly above were Pennsylvania would be. This would cause a higher risk of flooding. Personally, I have seen precautions already taken to prevent flooding in low elevation areas. The hailstorms are shown for Zone 2, Extratropical Storms: AKA Winter Storms – Zone 1 and Tornados in Zone 3. I feel like I would disagree with the fact that we are in Zone 3 for tornados. Yes we do have tornados a few times a year but nothing that does significant damage like down in the south or even in the mid-west.  If anything I feel like we should be in a Zone 2. Also, for wildfires Scranton, Pennsylvania is shown in a Zone 1.

Part 2:

Base Data: Terror Attack, April 1st 2016 3:11 Am (UTC).

Geographic Information: Continent- Asia, Country- Turkey, Settlement – Diyarbakir,

Number of affected people / Humanities Loss: Dead person(s) – 4, Injured Person(s) – 14

Scranton, Pennsylvania can experience the same type of disaster. I feel and hope that Scranton wouldn’t be targeted for such a horrible disaster but unfortunately you can never tell these days. Every town in the United States, or even in the world does have a threat of a terrorist attack. I feel like an event like this would be more traumatic in Scranton, PA compared to Diyarbakir because an event like this has never occurred in Scranton. Also I feel like it would be less effective. Diyarbakir has a population of over 930,000 people and Scranton, PA has just over 75,000 people. A city this small I feel like wouldn’t be as big as an event if it were to happen in Scranton.  Scranton has never had such a disaster occur which may lead people to be more vulnerable because they have lower guard. Security in the city would possibly not suspect such a disaster which would leave the town for an open attack.

Part 3:

From my own experience this area is vulnerable to flooding. It is not a common occurrence but every few years this is a heavy amount of rainfall and this area floods. Especially in the spring time. When snow melts and the runoff water has nowhere to go because the ground is still frozen, this is when a heavy amount of flooding occurs. 2006 was the last worst case that I witnessed. Roads were closed due to flooding or were just washed away. People were evacuated from their homes if they lived close to the river or by a dam. Houses were even washed right off of their foundation. In 2006 I witnessed my hometowns pre-event preparedness plan go into action when evacuating people from their homes in the fire trucks and bringing them to the school for shelter.

Part 4:

A Pre-Event Preparedness plan starts with a Warning System. Flood Watch indicates flooding is possible and to monitor radio and television stations for more information. Flash Flood Watch indicates that a flash flood is possible and to be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor radio and television stations for more information. Flood Warning means there is imminent threat of flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Flash Flooding Warning indicates imminent threat and a flash flood will be occurring soon, seek high ground on foot immediately. These are the first steps to take when warning a city about floods. Unfortunately in this area, especially depending on the amount of snow we get in the winter, you cannot control flooding but you can control how you keep your citizens safe.

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.

Lesson #8 – Vulnerability Reduction – Skiba ljs5300

Lucas Skiba


GEOG 030

Lesson #8

Vulnerability Reduction

            I am from Boalsburg; Pennsylvania it is right outside State College. The town is pretty safe up here in the northeast according to the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters. The only thing that can effect us majorly is increasing heavy rain or hail storms. I have lived here all my life and, from what I’ve experienced the natural disasters I’ve stated are probably the most damage causing environmental problems around here. We are not close enough to the shore/east coast to feel the effects of a hurricane or rising sea levels. If sea level rises or a major hurricane hits the east coast people/population will move inland. I think the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters is accurate for countries and the big picture but it doesn’t seem to get the very fine details of each state and city.

A current disaster near Virginia caught my eye. Power Outages are probably the least death consuming natural disaster, but they still effect a large area of land. “Thousands of Dominion Power customers were without in Loudoun County overnight. Most of the affected customers were in the area between Purcellville and Leesburg. The outages were down to about 50 customers as of 5 a.m. Wednesday. More than 23,000 were originally without power around 10 p.m. Thursday. Dominion Power told WTOP they believed the problem was related to an “underground cable issue” (RSOE EDIS 2016). This small natural disaster could happen any where I believe and has actually happened in my home town. It usually is caused by storms, extreme winds, floods, heavy rain, etc. Depending on the grid of the power or the electricity plant this event could effect up to an entire city or town. The scale is important because it all depends on the size of the energy grid. I would say the elderly are the most vulnerable during power outages because they can’t move or see as well, and everyone needs light to see. I would say back up generators or excessive amounts of candles are a good way to reduce vulnerability and complete darkness.

I can say I have experienced flooding in State College and power outages as well and I think these are the most hazardous natural disasters that could happen to my home town. Here is a link to video that was taken from June 27, 2013 from downtown State College of an increase of heavy rain, ( Natural hazards such as heavy rain, flooding, and power outages are serious because it is much harder to obtain important substances such as food, water, shelter, light, dryness, etc. I believe such disaster is harder for elderly people because it is almost as if they are stuck in the location that they live in. This is why flooding and power outages are a natural disaster.

There are a few things that you can do to prepare for such natural disasters. One is build better drainage system for your town, second is to make sure you have back up power especially in places that have elderly, and to establish better facilities/homes that can withstand flooding. The best possible people to overcome these kinds of obstacles would be local authorities, community, FEMA, etc. Basically in any natural disaster all you can do is prepare for the worst. Be educated in any natural disasters that could happen near you and be ready for the worst outcome.

Bibliography/Citation List:

  1. GEOG 030 Lesson #8 (2015). Retrieved March 30, 2016.


  1. Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards (2011). Retrieved March 30, 2016.


  1. Emergency and Disaster Information Service, (RSOE EDIS), (2016). Retrieved March 31, 2016.


  1. Flash Flooding in State College, PA (YouTube), (6/27/13). Retrieved March 31, 2016.







Rachel Denny: Natural Hazards MOD 8

  1. Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I was unable to find any natural disasters that really pose a threat to my community. There is a slightly higher level of hail storms and rain for western Pennsylvania, but we don’t get any severe natural hazards in the area. I think this map is well suited for the task, but I wish it was clearer to zoom in to a more exact location. It is very helpful to look at the big picture of natural hazards, but it is harder to pinpoint exact locations on the map since it has a World-wide focus.
  2. The disaster I chose was a tornado. A tornado took place at 3:25 am on April 1 in Alabama and there was a medium level of damage, and thankfully nobody was harmed. It is unlikely that my hometown will experience a damaging tornado, but there have been tornado warnings in my area and a few years before I was born there was a pretty severe tornado just 15 minutes away from my house. Typically, though, it is unlikely because Western Pa is fairly hilly and most tornadoes occur on flat land. I’m assuming that the area the tornado took place did not have many people because nobody was affected by it. If this were to take place in my hometown, there could be some injuries because the area is fairly populated. The people in my town are more vulnerable to this type of disaster because our homes are not built to withstand strong winds of a tornado. There isn’t really a way to change the structure of houses, but the best way to reduce vulnerability is to make sure people know what to do in case of a tornado. People should be prepared in case of such an emergency and know where to go if a tornado happens.
  3. The natural hazards that my town faces are heavy rain, flooding, and hail. We do not have powerful forces like hurricanes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, but rain can be a problem in the area if it gets to be too heavy. I live by rivers and creeks that become easily flooded when there is a lot of rain. Several instances of flooding and large hail storms have taken place during my time living in Beaver Falls, Pa. Usually people are not harmed, but there can be a lot of damage to basements (flooding) or cars, from the hail. There have also been some severe snow storms, but it is unlikley that they cause much damage.
  4. The way to reduce vulnerabiltiy in my town would be to educate people on the risks of heavy rain and tornadoes and make sure they know what to do in the case of these hazards. The best people to educate are parents to children, schools to children, and news sources, especially the weather channel. If the forecast is showing for heavy rain or tornado warnings, the news sources should to all they can to inform people of risks and how to stay out of harm. I cannot do much except to protect those around me. When there is heavy rain and tornado warnings, I will discourage friends and family to travel and drive in that weather and encourage them to stay indoors and be safe.


Module 8- Vulnerability Reduction

Using the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards I identified some of the natural hazards my town faces based on the zone it is located in.  I noticed that a lot of the zones that were higher than others my town fell onto was mainly because I live in a state that is on the coast of the United States.  I noticed that the lowest zones my town fell under was zone 0 for earthquakes, zone 1 for extratropical storms and zone 1 for wildfires.  The higher zones that South Brunswick fell under include zone 3 for tropical cyclones, which makes a lot of sense considering New Jersey is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  Other zones that are a bit higher for South Brunswick include zone 2 for hailstorms and zone 3 for tornados.  Overall, the Nathan map was not best suited for this type of task considering that the quality of the map was blurry and it was difficult to tell where certain zones ended and started.  However I believe it is a great way to tell which places fall in which zones.  Especially considering that most natural hazards occur on a global scale.

The natural hazard I chose to discuss is an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.5 in Tocopilla, Chile.  The east coast in the United States is not known for having a large number of earthquakes especially significantly powerful ones.  So in retrospect, my hometown located in central New Jersey, in a zone 0, most likely could not experience the same type of disaster therefore, the risk is significantly lower than Chile’s risk which is in a zone 3 or 4 for earthquakes. The scale of this particular disaster would be very large for my hometown however in this particular place it is not very large compared to the location it took place in.  The severity of the earthquake would actually be very similar to the severity in Chile considering the description of the earthquake explained that the earthquake was not even felt by any of the population and they were only ably to track the earthquake.  Since tall buildings are more affected by smaller earthquakes the section of South Brunswick that would be affected the most would be the apartment buildings and hotels, they would be the most affected by this earthquake.

There are not many serious natural hazards in my town often but I would say the most likely to occur would be either a hurricane or some type of minor flooding.  The event that I do clearly remember being a very large natural hazard is Hurricane Sandy.  Although we do get a decent amount of rain none of them would account for a natural hazard, but Sandy was something else.  According to the Tropical Cyclone Report, Hurricane Sandy by Eric S. Blake and others, Hurricane Sandy had a secondary peak in New Jersey which although was in Atlantic City, gives you an idea about the type of damage it did to places closer to central New Jersey.  Although it did not cause any extreme and major damage to my town the towns power was out for over a week and there was flooding on lots of major roads.

In order to reduce vulnerability in the town of South Brunswick it would make sense to have more professionals that understand how to sustain development and be able to withstand natural hazards.  According to Alberto Uribe in order to reduce vulnerability there has to be a concerned public which includes “institutionally organized group that is adequately staffed and trained to understand natural hazards.  I know that South Brunswick does not have adequate number of people studying natural hazards and definitely not enough people that know what to do when they hit South Brunswick.  It would be very helpful to have a larger group of properly trained individuals leading South Brunswick when it is faced with natural hazards.

Blake, Eric S. “Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Sandy.” N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.

Uribe, Alberto. “Reducing Vulnerability to Natural Hazards: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Mitch A Strategy Paper on Environmental Management.” Inter-American Development Bank, n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.

Sara Getson Module 8- Tuscany, Italy

1. Since I actually live in State College, I looked on the Nathan map for the Eastern US. In areas slightly inland from the coast, as I would describe State College judging by the map scale, there is a high chance of heavy rain and tropical cyclones. Hailstorms, tornadoes, and wildfires do not pose a significant threat. During El Nino, storms occur less frequently and the weather is warmer, conversely during La Nina there is an increase in storms. This map is fairly good at estimating these phenomena; however it does not take into account the particularities of the region such as mountain ranges and other more local aspects of the area.

2. From the Hungarian map, I chose a disaster in Tuscany, Italy. There has been noted a biological hazard in that region killing 4 people, the hazard being a Meningococcal meningitis C outbreak. This type of hazard would be possible in State College since it is caused by bacteria when entering the bloodstream, although it has been mostly observed in areas in Europe.

The total population of Tuscany is 3,749,430 which, since it is an entire region, is significantly larger than that of State College which is roughly 100,000, consequently 4 casualties from this outbreak amounts to about 1000th of a percent of the Tuscan population.  For the State College population that would amount to maybe one person, if that.

Individuals who are more vulnerable to this disease, are those with weak immune systems and young children. Ways in which this might be aided would be to encourage people not to touch their faces since the bacteria are spread by contact and then entry into the blood stream. Also increase immune system health in the community through healthy nutrition.

3. From personal experience and talking with my parents who have lived in State College for the past 25 years, I have ascertained that State College is indeed very susceptible to heavy rains at times, ice storms, and strong winds. These may sometimes lead to power outages, trees falling, car accidents, and many other hazards.

4. In order to decrease the number of power outages due to trees falling over in strong winds and storms, we could potentially move power lines away from areas where there are many trees. Other than that, we can really only prepare for the worst by making sure we have adequate storm drainage to prevent flooding and fast reacting teams to handle trees and power issues.

These issues are best brought to the attention of the town supervisors and mayor so that they can ensure that funding and organization go toward these areas.

As for me, I can make sure that my house is prepared for such disasters. Making sure there is a generator in case of an outage, as well as lights and perhaps water collection units for some of the storm water. Ensuring that the basement of the house is protected is also an important aspect.

Learning Activity: Vulnerability Reduction

  1.  I will be focusing on my hometown of Tyrone, Pennsylvania for this assignment. Tyrone is located in central PA in Blair County right off of the Little Juniata River. The Nathan World map shows the natural disasters that my area is most prone to. Such disasters include: heavy rainfall, hurricanes, and rising sea levels. Being that I live so close to a river, I am constantly updated on our potentials of floods. Usually the river rises exponentially in the spring with the showers that normally come with that time of year, and the water level then lowers during the summer months. This particular map was not very well suited for this task. The map appeared very washed out and it was difficult to observe as it did not zoom in very well.
  2.  The disaster I chose to focus on was the volcano eruption that occurred on March 31, 2016 in the State of Puebla, Mexico. The Popocatepetl Volcano erupted did not destroy cities; however, there were amounts of ash that came from the volcano, so the full spectrum of damage is unknown. This type of natural disaster cannot happen in Tyrone, PA as there are no volcanoes near central Pennsylvania. If an eruption were to ever happen in my small town, our residents would have little to no knowledge as to how to handle the situation. We would be more terrified than making progress on getting out of that location. If this particular eruption were to happen in Tyrone, I feel that we would be able to manage it as there was minor damage done with only ash coming from the volcano. I know that the local high school practices tornado drills, so adding a volcano eruption drill might reduce the vulnerability of my town to such a disaster,
  3.  During my research, Tyrone has had no volcano eruptions being that there are no known local volcanoes. There is also a very little chance of there being any earthquakes in this little town. The natural disaster that Tyrone is the most prone to is a tornado, although there have been only 30 tornado occurrences in the area since 1950 (Homefacts 2016). There has not been any recent emergencies with tornado warnings in Tyrone, but there is still a chance for one to strike in the valley. On July 19, 1996, a tornado touched down in Cambria County and proceeded to move southeast for approximately 17 miles. The vortex damaged many mobile homes and farms in five main points. This particular tornado damaged a nearby lake and many crop fields in the area (
  4. I feel that the local school districts handle vulnerability to natural disasters very well, as I remember doing tornado drills and earthquake drills once every marking period throughout the year. Our schools should practice volcano drills just in case one were to erupt and reach our little town from far away. One thing about these disasters is that you never know when they are going to strike and how much damage they are going to cause. We should educate the community on how to handle themselves in case such events were to occur. I feel that our fire companies and other community organizations should put together some events to spread awareness on what natural disasters can do and how to handle it.


  • Homefacts (2016). Tornado Information for Tyrone, Pennsylvania. Retrieved from:
  • (2016). Tyrone, PA Natural Disaster and Weather Extremes. Retrieved from:

Kayla Crestani- Module 8 Learning Assignment

1.) Living in a small town outside of State College, it is pretty hard to pinpoint the exact natural hazards in my town using the Nathan World Map.  I think it would be more helpful if the map was interactive and could allow you to search or zoom into your exact location.  Based on the region of the United States and central location of the state, I would say that my area is low to moderate on the frequency and intensity scale for natural hazards.  This makes sense, as we do get a wide range of weather conditions but they have never been intense compared to other areas on the map.  I would agree with the placement of my area on the scales because we haven’t had a tornado in years and winter weather conditions in my area can be hazardous, but again we have not had a blizzard since 1993.

2.) The event I chose to explore was the eruption of Alaska’s volcano, Pavlof on March 28th.  My hometown cannot experience the same natural disaster simply because there are no volcanoes in Pennsylvania.  The volcano was located relatively close to Anchorage but only affected and disrupted flights overhead due to the ash in the air.  It seems that the area was prepared for the unexpected volcano as it is not the only active volcano in the state, and this was not the first time a volcano erupted.  If this were to happen in my hometown of Snow Shoe, it would cause quite a disruption and panic.  Considering the volcanic was not that severe, I think there would be more shock and panic rather than disaster.  I just don’t know if anyone would know what to do.  On the topic of vulnerability, I feel like places such as schools, stores, and portions of larger groups of people would be more vulnerable.  These places have more people located within them, making it harder to move them to safety as compared to only a few people who live farther out and in more isolated locations. If volcanoes and the chance of them erupting were a concern in my area, then I’m sure residents and emergency responders would be educated and prepared if this type of disaster ever occurred.

3.) Snow Shoe has a very low chance of earthquakes, a nonexistent chance of volcanoes, and a moderately low chance of tornadoes.  Although there have been a few minor earthquakes during my lifetime, they never amounted to much, usually falling below a 3.5 on the scale.  One event that is still talked about in my area was the blizzard of 1993.  Although a lot of the United States got hit in this event, my area suffered from low arctic temperatures and lots and lots of snow.  The area in which my hometown is located accumulated close to 40 inches of snow.  The area that I live in sits at a higher elevation, affectionately called “The Mountaintop”.  Because of this, it’s always seems that we get more snow than surrounding areas such as State College, which sits at a lower elevation.  Because of this, residents in my town are always prepared whenever a winter storm is being forecasted.

“Snow Shoe, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” –™. Accessed April 01, 2016.


4.) One thing that my town can do to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards is to be prepared for anything.  Keeping a first aid kit in your home or in the car can prove to be very helpful and is a simple thing to throw together.  Also, preparing every home with a generator for backup would be a good idea, seeing as how many times, our power goes out due to the weather.  A lot of pre-event preparedness can also be helpful.  Having information of any big storm spotted on the radar and getting that information out quickly to the public is something that meteorologists and news crews can do to help give people some time to run to the grocery store and be prepared to stay put in their homes until the storm passes.  Having emergency responders ready and prepared to handle vehicle accidents due to the weather can also be helpful as well as keeping up with plowing and salting roads for after travel if necessary.  For my part, I think it is important to be prepared myself and to educate others.  I think it is very important, and often forgotten that during the cold winter months and in the midst of large snow accumulations, to check on the elderly and disabled to make sure they are aware and prepared to handle the weather conditions.

Tom Devenney Module 8 Learning Activity

My hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania is in an area of the world with low risk of natural disasters. According to the Nathan map, Lititz is in the second lowest risk zone for hailstorms, extratropical storms, and tornados. It is in zone 1 for wildfires, which indicates that there is low risk of them occurring there. During El Nino, Lititz experiences warmer weather and fewer tropical storms, according to the Nathan map. During La Nina, Lititz experiences more tropical storms. The Nathan map also indicates a rise of 0.3-0.5 degrees celsius per decade and an increase of 0-15 percent for precipitation per decade. In my lifetime, very few hailstorms, extratropical storms, and tornados have affected my home. Also, wildfires have not been reported in my area since I have been able to remember. This is why I find the Nathan map to be very well suited for my hometown.

The natural hazard that I have identified on the RSOE website is a volcanic eruption in Mexico. According to the website, no one was injured or killed, and the affected area is not explicitly stated. Other information on volcanic eruptions states that the affected area may be as far as 10 kilometers away. Lititz occupies a total area of 2.3 square miles, or 3.7 square kilometers. If there was an eruption in the center of Lititz, everything and everyone would be wiped out. Even if the eruption was very small, many people would be killed and many buildings destroyed. A lot of the human factors that affect surviving volcanic eruptions are due to the preparedness of the people. Wealth would help people to be able to purchase insurance policies to contribute after they lose goods. It would also help residents to have access to news outlets, television, and cars to help evacuate. Education level would help residents to be able to understand the messages that governing bodies would produce in the event of an evacuation. Strong governance would help if they would hire geologists and other scientists to monitor volcanic activity, and they would have the resources to inform residents that they need to evacuate. The geologists and other scientists would need to have technological resources to be able to tell if they need to inform governing bodies of volcanic activity. Age and gender would be less of a factor in this situation, because this situation requires the residents to be able to evacuate, which each resident would be able to do given proper notice.

The assessment that I will provide is based on my own knowledge and information from the website listed below. According to the website, Lancaster County is at a higher risk for tornados than is most of the rest of the country. Other major natural hazards that affect Lancaster are floods, hailstorms, and winter storms. In my experience, flooding occurs on a regular basis, as do hailstorms. Depending on the year, winter storms may be a huge hazard. When my mother was pregnant with me, she could not leave our home because snow had accumulated to over four feet in the course of one blizzard. Four feet of snow could be very dangerous, taking out telephone poles, causing a lot of property damage and the potential for major injuries and deaths.

“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” –™. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016. <>.


Examples of pre-event preparedness would be contractors building basements for tornados, building levees to prevent flooding around river and stream areas, building hail-resistant roofing on buildings, and building strong roofing and supports to reduce blizzard and wind damage.  Meteorologists should be responsible for notifying residents. Emergency response in each of these cases would involve keeping fuel and electricity, transportation, telecommunication, and clean water available. This would involve government workers. Also, shelters, water, and food should be available to anyone affected by the natural hazard. The local government and charities should organize this. Post-event recovery and reconstruction should be handled by charities, friends and family of those affected, and by insurance companies that are responsible for paying back what was lost in the hazard. What I can do is hire contractors to prepare my home, have a plan, and keep an eye out for warnings.

Natural Hazards

  1. Personally, I do not find the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards very effective for this specific task because it is more regional and is better for countries or states. However, if we are specifically looking for a town or city, the map becomes harder to read. That being said, giving my best estimate to where my hometown, Bellefonte, PA, is located I would say that the Map is pretty accurate about its hazards. Bellefonte is not very hazardous, we never see tornadoes or earthquakes. The most aggressive things that have happened naturally have been light flooding and winter storm accidents very similar to State College, PA to those of you who are familiar with the area.
  2. On March 5th there was biological hazard that was reported in Tuscan, Italy. It was a warning of a meningococcal meningitis outbreak and was rated 3 out of 4 as a hazard because it is spread through bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans. This is something that could easily happen anywhere, even in my hometown. Like any outbreak of disease, everyone could catch the disease because as humans we tend to share our diseases by just touching the same items like doors. In this situation the vulnerability would definitely differ for people who work in hospitals who would be most likely to be exposed to something like this opposed to somebody who worked in a hotel.
  3. One of the natural hazards I could think of in Bellefonte was a sinkhole that happens in the parking lot of my high school. After looking up issues with the sinkhole I quickly learned that sinkholes were a common thing within Centre County and found this map at The map shows where sinkholes can be located throughout Pennsylvania. The green dots can be found in the Centre County region and indicate that there is a sinkhole there.
  4. To reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in Bellefonte we need to be aware of the hazards that we would most likely take place in our town such as sinkholes that can cause injuries to anyone who is near one. We can put warning signs near any potential sinkholes to reduce any of these issues. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would be responsible for performing these tasks to protect it citizens.

Module 8: Natural Disasters

I am from the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania (population around 8,000) which is in the south central portion of Pennsylvania.   From looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, Lititz is a relatively safe place to live as we are really only susceptible to hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and warmer temperatures during times when El Nino strikes.  I had a difficult time being precise with the Nathan World Map even after printing it out.  It is hard to discern where a state, let alone a city within that state, falls with regards to the degree of color for zones.  Although I can get an approximate idea of hazards in my hometown, I was disappointed when I couldn’t be very exact with these maps.  

Using the “RSOE EDIS” summary, I investigated a Biological Hazard in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan which was first reported on March 5, 2016.  It involves the spread of a blood infection caused by Elizabethkingia meningoseptica to 54 people, most of them over the age of 65. Eighteen of these individuals have died!  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been investigating this strange spread of the bacteria, but has not been able to detect a common variable between those affected.  Basically, officials in Wisconsin and Michigan cannot stop the spread of this “disease” because they don’t know how or why it is affecting people.    My hometown can absolutely experience a disaster just like this! Lititz has plenty of senior citizens (we have at least two “55-and-over communities”) with compromised immune systems, and plenty of soil and water sources which officials are saying are possible sources for this bacteria.  The population of Michigan (9.8m) and Wisconsin (5.8m) combined is 15.6 million, whereas the population of Pennsylvania is 12.8 million.  So after doing some simple algebra, Pennsylvania would have around 44 cases of this blood disease with 14.7 deaths if it were to strike in my home state. This is 44 cases and 14.7 more deaths than I’d like to see in and around my home state.  Also consider the cause for concern that this type of outbreak has in any population, and I would be very worried.  

When doing my own research, I discovered, what I found to be the most surprising;  Lancaster, PA is above the average in the United States to be hit by a tornado (“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters”). I find this surprising because I have lived in Lititz my entire life and we have never been in danger of a tornado hitting our town. It was also stated that our town often has a high risk for thunderstorm winds. I completely agree with this because over the summer we have terrible storms that often cause a large amount of damage. From 1950 to 2010, there were a recorded 2,414 “thunderstorm winds”. Personally, I think that is an enormous amount for one tiny town (“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters”). Also while researching Lititz’s natural disasters, I came across a story about a humongous storm that passed through the state of Pennsylvania. Forty-five tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania during a three-day span in June of 1998. A mile wide tornado tore up approximately 48 miles. Entire herds of cattle were killed as well as people who were pulled from their home and thrown into another (“Pennsylvania”). It is crazy how dangerous tornados can be, especially affecting so many people in my state. In an extreme coincidence, as I am writing this assignment, my mother texted me to say that she received a “severe weather” text alert from the National Weather Service for tornadoes in Lancaster County!  One good way for Lititz and Lancaster County citizens to reduce their vulnerability to severe weather would be to take heed when such alerts come their way. Also, citizens should have a plan as to where their family would go (with a “To Go Kit”) in case of a tornado, hurricane, fire, etc…In our public schools (K through 12), we often have tornado and extreme weather drills which lowers our vulnerability (I checked with a teacher that I know from my town). I think that this is a very important practice seeing the statistics and researching more about natural disasters in Pennsylvania.

The town of Lititz has its own Fire Department, EMS Squad, and Police Force all of whom are on call 24 hours a day should a disaster occur and who have ongoing training so that they are best equipped to help residents.  Lititz also participates with the National Weather Service (located in State College, PA) to receive and send alerts when severe weather threatens the area.  Residents can now receive such alerts via email, texts, radio, and TV broadcasts.  I think what I can do to reduce my vulnerability while in Lititz is to stay attuned to any broadcasts of severe weather and health epidemics that may arise and take those alerts seriously!  Also, often the churches in Lititz have clothing and food drives to stock the local “Food Pantry” for unfortunate people who get struck with a fire, flood, or storm damage.  I can and should volunteer to  help with such drives.   A final thought that I’d like to add to this paragraph is that residents of Lititz and Lancaster County should check with their insurance carrier (homeowner’s insurance) as to whether they are covered should a hurricane/flood occur.  Although this would not prevent a hazard weather event to occur, it would soften the hurt after such an event and reduce vulnerability.  


“Lancaster, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” N.p., 2010. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. <>.


“Pennsylvania.” N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. <>.

Chase Sandler Module 8, Tornado

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my hometown in Plainview, New York, prone to a few natural disasters. Since I am located on an Island, I am surrounded by water. Therefore, the first disaster my town is prone to have is hurricanes. Hurricanes can form off the coasts and have extreme affects such as power outages and more. We also have heavy rainfall storms were can cause another natural disaster, flooding. Flooding occurs when the sea water level gets too high and our sewage systems cannot filter out the water quickly enough. This can be disastrous to my area and can cause people to lose everything, including their homes.

The natural disaster that I found was a tornado that occurred in Alabama on April 1, 2016 at 3:25 am. The damage level of the disaster was ranked as medium and the exact area in Alabama of this occurrence took place in Eldridge, Ardmore.

My hometown cannot experience this same type of disaster. No one is completely sure what causes tornadoes. It is thought to be the result of the updraft and downdraft in thunderstorms, which can make a tornado vortex. These types of thunderstorms do not usually occur in Long Island, New York, which is where I am from. Therefore, my hometown doesn’t really experience tornadoes at all. Although tornadoes can physically form in New York, it is very unusual and extremely minor if any at all.

The damage from this tornado was mainly to physical objects as there were zero deaths or injuries as a result of this disaster. The reason for the medium ranking was that nobody was too much affected by the aftermath of this event. It was merely a regular sized tornado that people in Alabama are probably used to and were able to handle in a safe matter. My hometown is relatively small, about 6 miles in radius. This tornado definitely traveled less than that far being that it was minor sized. This is a much smaller area than the area that was affected, but on a very low scale. My hometown is not used to this type of disaster so they would probably not have been as well prepared. For this reason, if this disaster were to have occurred in my hometown, it would have been significantly more serious. The scale of the event would be much greater, and people may have even gotten hurt if we were that ill prepared.

A severe natural disaster that recently occurred in my hometown last year was Hurricane Sandy. Sandy took down tons of different towns in Long Island, taking out power, wrecking infrastructure, causing injuries and even some deaths. This disaster affected the people in my town differently, depending on the materials that their homes were made of, and how close they were located to the water. Residents who were located closer to the water felt the affects of the disaster much greater. This makes people much more vulnerable, because this factor is out of their control, so all they could do was hope for the best.

Like I have previously stated, the most serious natural disasters that we have to deal with in my town are hurricanes and flooding. These disasters, although can be devastating, are not as bad when compared to areas that experience tornadoes and things that are harder to prevent. Although storms can cause much damage, by simply staying indoors you can usually keep yourself safe. When a tornado is tearing up miles at a time, it is a bit difficult to just stay in your home and hope it doesn’t come your way.

In order to prevent and reduce the vulnerability to natural hazards in my city or town, we can do a few things. First off, we can do everything we can to inform people as soon as we have any signs of these hazards coming our way. Next, we can do our best to build the entire infrastructure to be able to handle the worst weather conditions that the area should experience. This means it should be able to handle extreme snowfall, heat, cold, hurricanes, flooding, and storms in general. Weather is out of our control, but the best way for us to keep ourselves safe is to prepare and be ready.

Works Cited

“‘Long-track Tornadoes’ Possible Today for North Alabama.” N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

“Weather and Atmospheric Conditions That Cause Hurricanes.” News & Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.


Module 8

  • Being from South Bend, I have only experienced thunderstorms and winter storms. I have never experienced an earthquake but according to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards my city (South Bend, IN) has an earthquake zone of 0. It has a hailstorm intensity at zone 4, winter storms at zone 1, and a tornado frequency at zone 2, and a hazard of wildfires of zone 1. Thankfully, my city is not affected by El Nino or La Nina. I think that the Nathan World Map is fairly effective for the task of looking at hazards my city faces, except it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where my city was using the map. I think this map accurately shows the types of weather experienced in my area, especially when it comes to hailstorms and winter storms because my city is located on Lake Michigan, thus giving us lake effect snow/weather.
  • Currently, April 1st, in Jurm, Afghanistan there is an earthquake of 4.3 magnitude on the Richter scale and a 3 in the Mercalli scale. My hometown is not located on a fault line and has an earthquake zone of 0 so we do not experience earthquakes at all. A magnitude of 4.3 earthquakes are not very severe. It is felt but causes minor damage. However, if something like this happened in my area, I’m sure it would be very unexpected and cause a lot of talk. However, an earthquake of this magnitude is not very dangerous and would not affect people in my area since it would only slightly shake the ground. My town would be prepared for an earthquake of this size because it does not cause any terrible impact. If it were an earthquake of any other higher magnitude, my city’s structure would not be able to withstand the effects because we do not steel reinforce our buildings.
  • Living in South Bend my entire life, the biggest threat of natural disasters faced are blizzards. Due to the lake effect weather we receive, blizzards are often brutal in my area where we have to close off streets and close businesses early in order to prevent people from driving outside. These blizzards can be considered very harmful due to the risks it causes while driving. There have been instances of injury from car accidents and even death due to poor weather. This has affected many people in the area since it causes businesses to profit less and people to miss work due to the inability to get there.
  • To reduce natural hazards in my city, especially when it comes to winter storms causing blizzards, I believe that we could look forward to newer technology. Recently, I have learned about solar roadways, which melt snow as it falls, decreasing the need for plowing and road salt. The best people to create this would be engineers who could work on this technology so it could be implemented sooner. Though this is in the future, what I can do is spread awareness and have people support this technology, which in the long run saves costs and prevents disaster. Realistically, I could be a more careful driver during dangerous situations to prevent hurting others.