Jared Mummert Module 8

1)  I live in York, PA, which is in south-central PA. In the module we read that Pennsylvania is one of the least hazard-prone areas in the U.S., but nevertheless we still have our fair share of hazards. We face < 80 km/hr extra tropical winter storms, Zone 2 tornadoes, Zone 2 wildfires, warmer/dryer El Nino periods, a greater likelihood of storms during La Nina, an increase of +.3 degrees Celsius per decade, and an increase in annual rainfall. This map would have been more beneficial if it were more localized. It was somewhat difficult to determine the barriers between zones for some of the hazards because the graphics were so small. It was good for seeing the contrasts in risks across the country and the world as a whole, but could be improved for finding more localized hazzards.

2) The hazard that I found occurred in Hawaii. It was a shark attack that was characterized as a biological hazard. This type of hazard is very unlikely in my hometown because we about 100 miles from the closest ocean. The only exception would be in the case of a sharknado, where a tornado carries the sharks inland (kidding). Only one person was harmed in the shark attack, and luckily there were no deaths. This type of biological hazard wasn’t included in our discussion in the module, but dangerous animal attacks/encounters could certainly be a huge hazard depending on where you live. For example, if you lived in Australia you would have to be more aware of the threat of snake and spider bites than you would in Pennsylvania. The threat of animal attack biological hazards isn’t a prominent one in my town, but if you lived in an area where sharks were common, you would have to prepare hospitals and ambulances for dealing with shark bite victims.

3) One of the main natural hazards that my hometown of York, PA faces is that of winter storms. In January, Winter Storm Jonas covered my town with over two feet of snow, and closed local schools and business for nearly a week. Most towns aren’t prepared to deal with these quantities of snow, and even after nearly one week some students were not able to make it to school due to snow covered roads. According to The Weather Channel, Winter Storm Jonas caused or contributed to 37 deaths, most of which were heart attacks brought on by people shoveling snow. The Weather Channel also reported that the financial impact across the Northeast U.S. is between $500 million and $3 billion.

  1. Winter Storm Jonas Burries Northeast With Two Feet of Snow. January 24. https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/winter-storm-jonas-forecast-blizzard-warning-january-22.

4) Pre-event preparedness significantly reduced casualties and human impacts associated with Winter Storm Jonas. Meteorologists were able to warn citizens of the impending storm, and they were able to gather supplies ahead of time so that they could have food, water, lighting, and heating sources in case utilities were impacted by the storm. For these types of hazards pre-event preparedness is always crucial. If you ended up without heat, food, or water for extended periods of time it would be very difficult to live comfortably or even survive if you become snowed in. My family prepared by buying extra groceries, bringing fire wood into the garage as a backup heating source, and having our generator handy in case of a power outage. The local township and PennDot are also very important because they are responsible for clearing the roads in my area. This helps to assure that everything gets back to normal as fast as possible.



Vulnerability Reduction – Gilberto Aponte-Prats

Puerto Rico finds itself in a very active area for natural hazards. According to the Nathan map, there are four main systems that affect the area. First, we find ourselves in a Zone 4 for Tropical Cyclone and in directly on the typical paths they take. Given we are a small island, we also face threat from rising sea levels which would put many important residential and historical areas of the island at risk. We find ourselves in a Zone 2 area for earthquakes, which I can say we’ve had increasing activity here the last few years. And finally we are negatively affected by anomalies in La Niña which cause an increase in tropical cyclones in the area. This map is incredibly effective in pinning down trends of natural hazards that occur in the regions. It is accurate as to the type of problems we get.

I chose a Magnitude 6.1 earthquake that happened in Papua New Guinea that occurred April 1, 2016 at 07:24:56 PM. My hometown can definitely get a disaster similar to this one due to us having a tectonic plate very near the island. In recent years we’ve had an increased activity regarding tremors. The scale of the disaster may differ because of the development we have. Papua New Guinea is not as developed as Puerto Rico, so a magnitude 6.1 earthquake can spell a lot of trouble for residents in that area due to poorly built buildings, meanwhile we would probably not face too many issues. In San Juan specifically, there are areas where the housing isn’t well-built and near the beach there is a risk of tsunamis which can be caused by an earthquake. People face different levels of vulnerability simply by being too far from the coast or being in an area where the infrastructure will not get affected by such an event. Since the rise of tremors have worried many residents, it is easier to potentially lend a hand in bettering the homes of many, and preparing plans to get away from a tsunami. I could have meetings educating people about this if that were ever the case.

Probably the biggest and most present natural hazard we face is hurricanes that occur frequently during late summer and fall season of the year. We have had incredibly destructive hurricanes in the past, one of them being Hurricane Georges in 1998 (Bennett, 2008). It was a category 3 hurricane which crossed the island from side-to-side which flooded many rivers, destroyed homes and other infrastructure. Although I was little, I remember seeing how the strong winds ripped up antenna from houses and left us without electricity for a week or two. Thankfully, since we are in a hurricane-prone area, a lot of the effect was severely minimized and many citizens were very prepared for it. It only killed 8 people, but left around 2 billion dollars in damages. Though apparently a good amount that died was because of other factors, not directly because of the hurricane (Center for Disease Control, 1998). So we have a pretty good record regarding hurricanes and our preparedness for them.

A hazard which was pointed out by the Nathan map is the rising sea levels. This can potentially cause massive relocation and spread destruction to coastal areas. There could be governmental action taken in order to try to plan out possibilities to move the people to a safer area when it becomes a problem. They can also build infrastructure that might help save some of these areas from being swept away, similar to how New Orleans is. With the help of the local and federal government it is possible to accomplish these. The most I feel I can do is raise awareness of carbon emissions and take steps to contribute as little as I can to climate change, though it might still not be enough.


Bennett, Shawn P., and Rafael Mojica. “HURRICANE GEORGES PRELIMINARY STORM REPORT.” October 14, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20081014181517/http://www.srh.noaa.gov/sju/public_report.html

Center for Disease Control. “Deaths Associated with Hurricane Georges — Puerto Rico, September 1998.” November 10, 1998. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00055476.htm.

Module 8 – Natural Hazards

When I looked at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, to be honest, I found it very difficult to tell what the natural hazards were even for my state, let alone for my city. It was very blurry when I tried to zoom in, so I did my best to guess what was on there. What I think was on there near the Pennsylvania area was that there is an increase in heavy rain. Also, it seems like we may be at a higher risk for hailstorms, and possibly extratropical storms (winter storms). Again, I’m not positive, but that’s what I look away from the map.

The disaster that I chose was the Power Outage in Kentucky, USA. I think that my hometown of Plymouth Meeting, PA could definitely face this kind of disaster. In fact, we have experienced power outages before. However, I don’t think there have ever been any severe ones. The most that will happen usually is that the power will go out for a few hours and the return to normal. However, that’s what I can remember and maybe there have been others before my time that I just didn’t experience. But if such a disaster were to occur, it could really affect major business, and like Kentucky, close down schools and really affect traffic lights, which could be dangerous. The scale of the disaster in Kentucky I think would be much higher than Plymouth Meeting because there is a much bigger population. My hometown is small, so it wouldn’t affect as many people, so it wouldn’t be as severe. I also don’t think that we are at big of risk for a power outage to happen in my hometown, though, because there are a lot less people, so we’re not using as much energy as a bigger city may. The reasoning behind the power outage is unknown, however, but I think that using too much energy could play a huge role.

When doing research about the hazards that Plymouth Meeting should be aware of, the main ones that came up were weather-related. The big ones were blizzards, winter storms, thunderstorms, and flash floods, as described in “Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Residents of Montgomery County.” From my own personal experiences, the ones that have affected our area the most in the past were winter storms. As a matter of fact, we had a pretty bad one this past winter. I, obviously, was not home, but my mom was telling me about it and sending me pictures and they got a tremendous amount of snow. My mom sent me a picture of our door when you opened it and you couldn’t even walk outside it was so high.

I think one of the most important things to do to reduce vulnerability is what was described in the module as pre-event preparedness. As the saying goes, it is better to be proactive than reactive. In planning ahead for disasters, you will know how to better handle them if the time ever comes. As far as winter storms, which I think is the most relevant threat to Plymouth Meeting, I think that one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a winter storm would be to go out beforehand and get all of the essentials that you may need, such as enough food and batteries and flashlights and such incase anything happens to the power. Along with doing things to prepare yourself and your family, I also think it is very important for the county officials to have a good communication system in order to warn people far enough in advance of hazardous warnings along with updates as things happen.

Reference List

  • Shapiro, Joshua and Richards, Leslie and Castor, Bruce. Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Residents of Montgomery County. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/1300991022_717.pdf.

Module 8 – Natural Hazards – Brenton McDonald

  1. The town that I am focusing on for this assignment is Irwin, which is in Western Pennsylvania. The natural hazards most associated with this area would be meteorological and hydrological. In terms of meteorological hazards, the area is prone to cold waves and freezing rain at times. In terms of hydrological hazards, the most relevant threat would be flash flooding.  While the world map does detail the chances for increased rain, it does not convey the hazards listed above in a clear manner. I think this is because the world map if focused on conveying natural hazards on a global scale while our assignment focused on detecting these hazards on the scale of a city.


  1. The hazard focused on for this assignment was biological. Specifically, it was a case of Yellow Fever in Nairobi, Kenya that happened on March 16th of 2016.   While I do believe my hometown could experience this disaster under the right circumstances, it seems very unlikely. The vulnerability to Yellow Fever in Irwin  is not great by any means. This is because of the human factors that help to lessen this vulnerability. Each of the six human factors detailed in the readings explain why Irwin is much less vulnerable than Nairobi in terms of a Yellow Fever outbreak. Wealth and governance seem to be at the top of the list though. This is due to health standards associated with wealthier areas and the government’s ability to respond. The scale of this event differs from if it were to happen in Irwin. While only one person was infected, Nairobi is at high risk of such a disease spreading due to the aforementioned human factors coupled with a lesser level of preparation. One area of improvement, in terms of reducing the vulnerability to Yellow Fever in Irwin, would be education. Specifically, education on the symptoms of Yellow Fever and how it can spread would aid in reducing the vulnerability


  1. I used the U.S. Geological Survey website to perform an assessment of the natural hazards in my hometown. I focused on using this source of information to better understand the risk of flooding. In researching a map that details areas at risk for flood due to high flow in rivers, I was able to find out that the risk of flooding was very low in Irwin. There are no major water sources near the town that have been susceptible to high flow in the past. The second source I used for my assessment was The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). I focused on risks associated with sinkholes. This is a hazard that I did not realize at first, but is prevalent in Pennsylvania. However, after researching a map from the DCRN I realized that this hazard in primarily active in Southern Pennsylvania. There seems to be little to no risk of sinkholes in my hometown.




PA DCNR – Geology – Sinkholes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/hazards/sinkholes/index.htm

USGS WaterWatch — Streamflow conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=flood


  1. I aim to describe actions and methods to reduce vulnerability to the meteorological hazards of cold waves and freezing rain in my hometown. The risks of each of these hazards are most readily associated with death or sickness as a result of the weather. Loss of power or underestimating the effect of harsh conditions could make these risks a reality. In order to mitigate the risk of a loss of power during  cold waves, governance plays a key role. Emergency response personal could be needed to respond to areas with no power. In addition, an individual could purchase a generator or keep supplies that would help them get through the event. Education also plays a key role in mitigating both risks. Specifically, public service announcements should be made when conditions warrant.


Module 8 – Natural Hazards: Vulnerability Reduction: Newark, NJ (mae26)

In my earlier post I wrote about my birthplace, Newark, N.J. which is situated in northeastern United States. The Nathan map indicates that this part of the country may be faced with increases in heavy rains, the threat of rising sea levels and tropical cyclones (or hurricanes). The size of the Nathan map and the fact that the scale of the map could not be adjusted, made it somewhat difficult to locate these hazards in my specific area. Also, the color gradients used to distinguish intensity (zones) is not easy to interpolate. However, given the recent weather history of this area, I agree that the trend predictions seem reasonable.

A power outage occurred in Western Kentucky earlier today, which affected close to 14,000 customers, including the entire city of Murray. Murray State University cancelled all evening classes. The cause of the outage was a lightning strike which hit a TVA substation. Could this type of event happen in Newark? It has in the past and could happen again. Lightning strikes are one cause of power outages, but there are others. Hurricane Sandy certainly caused a massive power failure, affecting millions of people and causing enormous commercial losses. A power outage in this part of the country is particularly damaging due to population density. This density magnifies the effect of the outage, wreaking havoc on mass transportation (NJ Transit railroads, and the PATH lines which link New Jersey to New York) as well as automobile and pedestrian traffic. We have had two extremely large scale power outages in the past: in the late 1960’s the entire eastern seaboard went dark and in the 1970’s New York City and northern New Jersey were blacked out. I experienced both of these and they were no picnic. The underlying cause of both blackouts was infrastructure failure. Improvements have been made, but are not nearly sufficient to deal with the increase in demand, so this area remains vulnerable.

New Jersey, and Newark in particular, remains vulnerable to natural hazards. Weather is always a topic of discussion since Superstorm Sandy; rising sea levels are a concern as much of Newark lies at sea level; extreme events (again Sandy) have caused massive gasoline shortages and disrupted the already “strained” infrastructure. The Rutgers School of Public Affairs has published an excellent report “The Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New Jersey Towns and Households” which details the enormous impact of this event. One of the most interesting sections deals with the social justice aspect of citizens’ resiliency. Using the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) measurement, they found that low income families were more severely affected by the storm and had fewer resources to use for recovery.

The Rutgers study, and my personal experience, conclude that Newark, and New Jersey’s future vulnerability and resilience will depend on how much we are willing to invest in improving our infrastructure. Elements such as our power grid, mass transit and roadways need massive improvement. However, though the need is recognized, the social and political “will” does not always exist. Most importantly, this investment in our future must include investment in Newark’s most vulnerable human assets, providing more secure employment with better wages and safer, more affordable housing. Only if we meet all these needs will we be truly “Jersey Strong.”

Mike Evangelista


Halpin, Stephanie Hoopes, PhD. The Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark, NJ 2015 The Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New Jersey Towns and Households.

United Way of New Jersey, ALICE, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, A Study of Financial Hardship in New Jersey, 2012. Morristown, New Jersey

Natural Hazard Potential(s) in my Hometown

My hometown of Reading, PA, located 50 miles west of Philadelphia, has not really experienced any true “disaster” so to speak. The World map of natural hazards however, indicates longer term impacts such as increases in heavy rain. In June of 2006, we had a significant flooding event that caused the Schuylkill River to swell from its banks and flood six blocks into the city of Reading, as well as onto Highway 422 westbound. Climate projections indicate that rain may become more frequent during the summer, which puts the area at risk for more major flooding events. The potential for severe weather, including hail and tornadoes, as denoted by the map, is on the lower part of the spectrum, as are wildfires. However, on 22 May 2014, there was a significant thunderstorm that produced baseball sized hail that fell through the city of Reading. The chances of that happening again are rare. Overall, my hometown is in a safe area from extreme weather and/or natural disasters.

One disaster I chose was a reported earthquake in Colombia, South America. The magnitude was a 3.0 at a depth of 14.91 miles (mi). The potential impact from that earthquake is/was minor, as the ground barely shook given the depth of the quake. However, my hometown is at risk for earthquakes, but not on a frequent scale. In March of 2006, my hometown experienced a magnitude 6.1 that last four seconds. The epicenter was four miles from my house (it sounded like a bomb exploded). The Reading, PA, area is right along the Ramapo fault line, one of the oldest fault lines in the nation. My home area is much more developed than it was 10 years ago when the magnitude 6.1 occurred. The bridge network across the Reading area is one of thee worst in the nation, of which two major thoroughfares were closed due to chunks of concrete falling off the bridges into the Schuylkill. Another earthquake, even if it is a moderate magnitude, may cause some of the bridges in the area to collapse – it is of great concern but the area is very, very poor, so funding to repair the bridges is not applicable. I think if new bridges are built, or the old ones are repaired to modern day engineering code, it will reduce the risk of structural failure of the bridges from an event such as an earthquake. It’s an interesting, and quite scary thought to think about, but it is indeed a real issue.

Natural Hazards, Rebecca Hodge

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my area of the United States, South-Eastern Pennsylvania, had many different weather events that effect it. First of all, it falls in the Zone 3-4 Tropical Cyclone area, as seen on page 3. Moving on, the same area falls in about a zone 3-4 for hailstorms. For extratropical storms, or winter storms, Pennsylvania can be seen as a zone 2. Continuing on, Tornadoes fall in the range from 2-3 in my area. On the other hand, the hazard of wildfires is extremely low. The changes that El Nino and La Nina bring about to Pennsylvania are opposites; during El Nino, this area gets warmer and experiences fewer storms while during La Nina, there are more storms, on average. Lastly, over time, this same area has become warmer and wetter. I found this method extremely difficult to find the actual statistics for my specific hometown.

The event that I chose was the eruption of Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano. This cannot happen in my hometown because we do not have any volcanoes near us. Although the volcano is very close to civilization, only 50 miles from Mexico City, it only spewed ash and vapor. Because of this, I do not think that it really caused a huge effect. Also, because it is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico, I think that the population of Mexico City is prepared. However, IF this happened in Downingtown, my hometown, I think that it would definitely cause a disruption. For example, I do not think that any of the high schools either in my district or the surrounding areas would be ready to respond. Schools and businesses would be closed, parents would keep their children inside, and there would be general panic. This was not terribly severe, so I do not think that my town would be suffering from any severe consequences. I think that by practicing drills and training more individuals in the proper procedure of cleaning up and maintenance, my town would fare just fine.

According to usa.com, Downingtown has an extremely low chance of earthquakes, a nonexistent chance of volcanoes, but a higher chance of tornadoes than a lot of other places in Pennsylvania and even the rest of the US. In my personal experience, we experienced a minor earthquake in 2012. Last year, a tornado’s path went straight through Downingtown, and more specifically, it went straight through my house. The earthquake caused next to no damage. The tornado, on the other hand, caused an extreme amount of damage to my family as well as many others in my area. Downingtown is especially vulnerable to this type of disaster because of the forested nature of the geography. The second source I found gives a list of precautions to take in order to prepare for tornadoes, thunder and lightning, and other extreme weather. These resources were a lot more useful than pretty much any other of the resources.

“Downingtown, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

“Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania. Ready, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

I think the main precaution that people that live in my hometown can take is to be informed and educated on the hazards that can take place in Downingtown. For example, learning about what makes a tree unsturdy or diseased is a great thing to know, in order to avoid damage to property. Also, another precaution that is always a good idea is an emergency preparedness kit and first aid kit. This can be made by literally anyone. Lastly, any able-bodied person should have a saw or chainsaw in their tool kit. I think that this is necessary because of the wooded nature of the area. Every storm, no matter how slight, brings down a few trees and I think that everyone fit to help should do so. I can help by being prepared in all the above ways!

Carlamere Lesson 8

The Nathan map is very informative; it clearly indicates the areas throughout the world that are at risk to experience a natural hazard if corrective environmental policies are not introduced. The three natural hazards that surround my hometown located in New Jersey are; change in tropical cyclone activity, which in the western hemisphere this type of storm is called a hurricane. The second hazard is an increase in heavy rain and the third is a threat of sea level rise.   Additionally, there is a chance of the frequency of hailstorms and tornados. The next possible weather condition change relates to temperature, there is a chance of increasing tropical induced storms called El Nino; furthermore, more La Nina storms are likely to occur. Over the last couple of decades, I have seen the effects of a couple of the aforementioned natural hazards, which is a concern for what the future holds if something is not done.

I chose a level two biohazard the event happened on March 13, 2016, in Beijing, China. Yellow fever infected three people; this is the first case of yellow fever reported in Beijing. Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and is found mostly in tropical areas. The general symptoms of this disease include fever and chills (RSOE EDIS Staff 2016). It is highly unlikely for yellow fever to occur in New Jersey because we do not have the climate to host the virus. The yellow fever outbreak in China is very small, but it could grow quickly if this type of outbreak occurred in my hometown it would be a big deal. If this outbreak did happen in New Jersey there probably would be considered a very dangerous for the people of the community mainly because we have not been exposed to this before and have not built up immunity to the virus. To reduce the possibility for yellow fever impacting my town there should be mosquito repellent spraying and any water that is not circulated should be removed.

The biggest natural hazard that continually affects the southern part of New Jersey is hurricanes. Most recently hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in the fall of 2012. The storm started in the Caribbean as a tropical depression, turned into a tropical storm and by the time Sandy hit New Jersey it was 485 miles long. The aftermath was horrifying streets were flooded; trees and power lines were torn down leaving people thousands of people homeless or without power. During the storm New York City reported a seawater surge of 15 feet and the New York Harbor surf recorded a wave of 32 feet (Sharp 2011). Although Sandy devastated the east coast, we rebuilt; however, based on the information from this week’s lesson there will be more severe storms in the coming decades. The projected increase due to climate change, the increasing temperature of the ocean will lead to increased storms and natural hazards.

There are three steps to reduce our vulnerability to natural hazards; the first is to be aware and stay informed of the events happening around town. A part of preparedness is to have a plan for the different types of hazards that can take place in your community. The second step is to know what should be done immediately after the natural hazard occurs. Once you find a safe place evaluate your surrounds and then aid the victims. The final step is to rebuild. The best people to perform these actions are the professional, but if professional help is not available anybody except for the elderly and children should lead a hand. If I ever find myself in the mist of a natural hazard I would first make sure my family is safe and then help my neighbors and community (Pennsylvania State University 2016). I think if we are able to stay calm and use common sense all of us can survive a natural hazard.


Pennsylvania State University. Reducing Vulnerability to Natural Hazards. 2016.https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog030/node/374

RSOE EDIS Staff. RSOE EDIS. 2016 http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/database/index.php?pageid=event_desc&edis_id=BH-20160313

Sharp, Tim. Live Science. November 27, 2011. http://www.livescience.com/24380-hurricane-sandy-status-data.html.





Natural Hazards – Maureen A

Contrary to the belief of some residents like myself, the Washington DC region faces its share of extreme events. As indicated in Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the Falls Church area, my hometown and a Washington DC suburb, is susceptible to tornadoes. Nathan’s maps, cover extensive details about natural extremities around the world and their intensities, which are quite accurate. I was born and raised in Kenya and growing up I do remember El Nino as being the wettest season, which is also represented in the map. The visuals give an effective global view of extreme events which provide insights of vulnerabilities to natural hazards for various regions around the world. In addition, to tornadoes the Washington DC region gets warmer during El Nino, grapple with more storms during La Nina and experiences moderate hail storms.

Upon visiting the The Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ (RSOE) Emergency and Disaster Information Services (EDIS), I clicked on a couple of biological hazards, which to my surprise were more than expected. From the EDIS, there is a yellow fever outbreak in a couple of areas in Africa, as well as an Ebola outbreak in Guinea. Closer to home there is an outbreak of ‘Elizabethkingia meningoseptica’ in Wisconsin and Michigan states that has killed 17 people plus infected 44 individuals. Just like any another region in the world, Washington DC could be subject to a biological hazard. Nonetheless, in general most areas in the United States and developed countries are not vulnerable to biological hazards because of the policies, education and technology in place. Washington DC could experience a biological hazard if it was introduced by an outsider, or through the exposure of an unfamiliar infectious biological agent. Due the population density in this area the impact of a biological hazard can become widespread very quickly and result into a natural disaster. However, because of the resources like response from the CDC and the Health Department, an outbreak would contained promptly. The severity of a biological disaster in the Washington DC region would be severe, from fatalities, to the effects of economic and social disruption, which in turn would impact a lot more than just the immediate area. Overall, Washington DC region is home to some of the most powerful and wealthiest individuals in the world, therefore due to governance, technology, wealth and education a biological hazard is less likely compared to some poorer regions.

Unfortunately, I have to admit that there are two words that frequent the media in my region, that I personally don’t take seriously enough; ‘Tornado Watch’. Leading up to this lesson, my personal experience with an extreme natural event has been mostly fun filled as an extra day off from work. As I was reading and watching this week’s lesson pages, I recalled my personal experience with Superstorm Sandy. The media and government leaders advised the population along the East Coast that would be affected by the storm in advance, plus gave tips on preparation. The Governor of Virginia and Mayor of DC declared state of emergencies and the public transit systems were shut down on Oct 29th. The information concerning the storm was everywhere in media as well as social media. I also recall that my coworkers, friends and neighbors prepared for the storm plus cautioned others to get ready. The meteorologist predicted that the Washington region would be hit by the storm, and they were accurate. The damage from the storm in this area wasn’t as costly as Jersey Shore and New York. Most households in the Washington metro area didn’t have power for a minimum of two days, others up to a week and some lacked road access due to trees that fell down from the storm blocking the streets.  A close friend’s home was destroyed when a large tree hit their house during the storm. The day following the storm there was a ton of debris from the wind breaking down branches and trees in my neighborhood. The recovery from the storm in Washington area was quick, due to the response teams in various sectors. The city was shut down for a day a half before the transit resumed service.

Two key factors for reducing vulnerability to natural hazards involves the pre-event preparedness and post-event recovery and reconstruction. Pre-extreme natural event, the government leaders and the media are responsible for getting the message to population. After the extreme event, the government plus the communities and outside help can facilitate quick recovery and rebuild. Other factors that could help reduce vulnerability are resources like technology, education, wealth, and appropriate governance which are limited in poorer countries. Factors such as education and awareness that have impact on preparedness and some of the aforementioned resources, can begin amongst communities like the indigenous groups in Indonesia.

Module 8

  1. Although this map is pretty small, it does accurately show the types of weather I see in my area and in the tristate area. Being from New Jersey, we have experienced either many aftermaths of different storms, particularly hurricanes, and have had a few hurricanes ourselves. Because of this, the “Anomalies during La Nina” is accurate, because were more prone to storms, especially being next to the ocean. Two maps that confuse me are the tornado and wildfire map, we have never been in danger of either of those really and the map shows are dark spot (maybe my eyes are bad). I do recall 2-3 “tornado watches” but nothing serious happened other than high winds before a bad storm in the summer.
  2. As previously mentioned, my area tends to be hit with hurricanes and general storms, especially during the warmer months. Therefor, the maps including storm surge, flood annual loss and earthquake seem to be accurate. I see that in maps like multi-hazard mortality risk and other mortality risk maps tend to be red/high around New York City. I wonder if this is just increased due to a major population increase in the area? The program worked, well, had some trouble loading and slight confusion for navigation but quickly figured it out.
  3. There was a biological hazard on March 2 in Bengaluru, India. There is a local lake that was highly polluted making the oxygen levels very low. Because of these levels many fish were dying and polluting the lake more, workers put bags of salt in the late to which educes oxygen flow and levels to the fish making some that were dying come back to life. There is a local vegetable and flower market near bye, so they think some of the pollution came from the merchants cleaning off their products in the lake. Some pollution also came from general dumping of food and other items in the lake. I don’t think anything this severe would happen in my hometown, there are a few small, man-made lakes. The people of Bengaluru were not informed to keep the lake clean, while in in my hometown, there are fountains and annual cleaning.

The scale of this is not too severe for this town other than the cost it will take to clean the lake and maintain it which will take out of those towns’ taxes. This would not affect my town as much because they already have a budget to clean it. Again, to reduce the vulnerability of this happening in any towns locally, the town jut needs to make sure they have annual cleanings of the lake and that people check that it is not being polluted.

  1. The biggest disasters my town has faces usually come after a large storm. Hurricane Sandy his more of New Jersey very hard. We’ve faced big storms in my town before but we knew this one was worse when we could feel our house shifting due to high winds. Usually big disasters like these led to individual families having problems with their house, like basement flooding, tree/lawn damage etc.… the town also runs into problems with all the trees falling in the streets and the parks which cause traffic backups and tax increases to pay for the labor. There are some bridges in my town that often overflow and cause traffic problems. Another issue we especially faced with hurricane sandy was blackouts and lack of gas since so many people own generators. Many of the gas stations were out of power for over a week just like the town was so pumping gas was not possible unless they too had large generators. Eventually, all the gas station ran out of gas until they were able to get another shipment in.
    1. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/03/tax_hikes_layoffs_loom_in_jersey_shore_towns_as_sandy_funding_dries_up.html#incart_river_index
    2. We did and should continue to have major back up crews for clearing trees from the roads and prioritize who and what and when workers do jobs, for example, instead of removing a fallen tree from someone’s backyard, remove them from the streets first. As well as stocking extra inventory of important items, like food, and extra items like generators and gas. My town did a pretty good job with keeping everything in order and reducing cause by being on top of everything and prioritizing what needed to be done. Not only can the town help, but also private businesses can help. Something I could do is volunteer time, if possible, with helping clean up the town or helping towns that were hit the hardest but housing people or volunteering to clean up the area to start building again, which many, including my family did.

Earthquakes – Los Gatos, CA

According to the Nathan Map, the two biggest natural disaster threats my hometown of Los Gatos, California face are wildfires and earthquakes, the latter being more likely to immediately affect the population. The Nathan Map is easy to read and understand if one reads all keys and understands the rating system therein. The categories laid out, I found, used terms that were too similar in meaning, and as such I referred more to the numerical categorization of the natural disasters than the superficial distinctions of ‘strong’ and ‘rather strong’ (in the case of earthquakes). Overall, the Map was more informative on a global scale, not just for the area of my hometown, which I had difficulty pinpointing within two hundred miles of its actual location.

I chose to examine an earthquake that happened today, Friday April 1st. The quake took place in Japan at approximately eleven o’clock in the morning, local time. It was measured as a 6.0 (Magnitude-Richter) and classified as a 6 on the Mercalli scale. The description of the potential impact notes, “Everyone feels movement. People have trouble walking. Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall off walls. Furniture moves. Plaster in walls might crack. Trees and bushes shake. Damage is slight in poorly built buildings. No structural damage.” My hometown is at risk of earthquakes, as is most of California, and similar earthquakes are comparatively common. Many buildings in my hometown are built according to a standard designed to minimize structural damage, yet there are some older structures that are at serious risk (e.g. St. Mary’s Church).

I myself, while living in Los Gatos, experienced a similar earthquake, measured at a magnitude of 5.2 (Richter). It was the first earthquake I’d experienced, and I remember feeling movement that I had no control over. The movement was not enough to send me into a panic, but enough that I stopped what I was doing to question what was causing it. The quake (and memory may not accurately serve the fact of it) lasted about fifteen seconds, and then there was nothing else. I recall things falling off of my desk, but beyond a mention on page seven listing minor structural damage to buildings in the South Bay Area, there was nothing of note.

As far as I have discerned, triage during an earthquake in Los Gatos is likely, as the earthquakes experienced in San Franscisco decades before are still throwing aftershocks. The actions to take include families making an ‘emergency plan’ and drilling the plan to remain individually prepared during a quake. The town council could also draft a ‘emergency gathering point,’ where people could go to receive food, water, and shelter should they need it. Or they could order a full evacuation if the earthquake was communicated to be disastrous enough. What I can do is remain prepared myself, and as a young, strong man, I can assist in pulling people from rubble and the ‘grunt-work’ (if you will) of rebuilding should the need arise.

Natural Disasters – Michael Celoni

1. After looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I see that my hometown of Blue Bell, PA is affected by a few natural disasters. It could potentially be affected by tropical cyclones, hailstorms, winter storms, and tornadoes. I have seen all of these except tornadoes in my town so I would say that the map identified those correctly. However, the storms are all rare and definitely not a common occurrence. I didn’t like how the map was zoomed out all the way to show the entire Earth because it made it hard to identify what disasters happen where.

2. On the RSOE EDIS I found a biological disaster that is happening in Wisconsin and Michigan that started on March 5th of this year. My hometown along with just about any other town could experience a disaster like this. I’m not sure the likelihood of it happening but I imagine it is pretty low since I have no experience with something like it. The scale of the event is the same scale as my hometown because it isn’t explicitly saying how much of an area is definitely infected. If this were to occur in my hometown, I imagine the same results would occur because my town is small and towns in Wisconsin and Michigan tend to be small as well. The vulnerability of this would be different from person to person and the people who are less hygienic would most likely be infected first. The best way to reduce this vulnerability would be to make sure we wash our hands before and after eating.

3. From my personal experience, my hometown can be affected by snow storms, tropical storms, and hailstorms which is what the Nathan map said. The most common of those would be snow storms that happen almost every winter and they deliver a lot of snow. We also get some flooding from time to time but they’re never significant enough to cause worry. According to usa.com, Blue Bell can also be affected by earthquakes and tornadoes but I have not experienced either of those so it’s not something to worry about. Overall I think it is a pretty safe place to live.

Source: http://www.usa.com/blue-bell-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm

4. There’s not a whole lot that can be done to prevent a natural disaster but there are things that can be done to make sure there is less damage. For example, if there is a snow storm, salt could be put down on the roads before it happens which would help with plowing.  For tropical storms and hailstorms there isn’t really anything that can be done besides warning people. The township or county can send out warnings through text, tv, or radio to make sure that everyone is prepared to minimize damage. I could help spread the message to people to make sure everyone knows what is about to happen.

Module 8

  1. In my hometown of Kingston, Pennsylvania, there are really no natural hazards that occur. Since it is right along the Susquehanna River, the only natural hazard that I have witnessed in my lifetime was a couple floods. It shows on the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards that right around my area tends to get a lot of heavy rainfall. It also shows that my area is prone to having hailstorms, but I do not believe I have ever seen hail that could do any serious damage. The Nathan map document is extremely useful when trying to find the hazards over a large area, but it is difficult to examine areas on a small scale like a city or county.
  2. After looking at the map of the Hungarian National Association, I decided to learn more about the volcanic eruption in Alaska. The Pavlof Volcano erupted on March 28th and there were no casualties. My hometown cannot experience this kind of natural disaster because there are no volcanos in the area. Since the eruption is happening in Alaska where the population density is so small, there are no casualties caused by it. If a volcano was to somehow erupt in my area, many people would be harmed and the damage cost would be great. Also, the people in my town would not be prepared for the volcano at all. People who live near a volcano are much more prepared for when the volcano erupts because that is something to be expected from living there.
  3. The biggest threat that my hometown has of a natural disaster is a flood. When there is heavy rainfall, or snow melts in New York, the water runs down the Susquehanna River and causes the water levels to rise. When the water level rises too much, the area around the river floods. In 1972, the water level in the river reached about 40 feet and my area had a flood that devastated all the towns in the surrounding towns. If you talk to any older resident of one of these towns they will tell you about how terrifying the flood actually was.
  4. One action that could be done in my town is to raise the levees along the river. This would allow the water level to be able to rise more without overflowing and causing a flood. Another action would be to spread awareness to all the citizens of the town. If the people have more knowledge about the flood risk, they will be better prepared. Anybody can help perform these actions and help to make the community safer. One thing I can do is to spread awareness of the risk and try to educate the people so they are more prepared for the hazard.

Hazardous California

  1. I will start with addressing the final thought posed in the question, these maps are frustratingly hard to read accurately, and possibly more frustrating for my situation because of micro-climates that make up a majority of California. The micro-climates are areas where the weather can differ within miles because of the hilly or mountainous terrain that encloses smaller areas. While the map does clearly show that I have wetter El Nino, higher mean temperature than most areas, low precipitation and a susceptibility to earthquakes, the temperatures in my county can vary from 10-20 degrees at any given time of the year, and while north county can get awful heat, south county may enjoy the pleasures of a light sprinkle cool weather and unusually foggy mornings as you head towards Avila Beach. Earthquakes do occur here very frequently, I check this pretty often because the small twos and threes on the Richter scale have a tendency to wake me up in the middle of the night. We even just recently had a four on the Richter scale out in Bakersfield that shook my entire work site.

2. Let me start with the thought that I will possibly spend every night on this site, coming from the Navy we spend a lot of time with incident reports, and it was one of my particularly strange obsessions. I justified it by saying it was a need to know the basis of procedural policy or design, but there may have been something a bit more to it than that. I picked a forest fire in Mark Twain National Forest. Unfortunately there was not a whole lot of information available that you would normally see with a forest fire report. There was no listing of acreage that had been burnt up, and there was not listing of residential areas affected. I was assuming and hoping that no persons were injured which is what the site indicated but it was definitely a good segue into my current home. Living in the central coast which has a particularly hilly yet barren of trees terrain, primed for grazing and farming, we have the occasional wild fire. We come fairly well equipped for fighting wild fires as I have seen at work because of the response small fires that may or may not of occurred at work have seen. There are numerous planes and helicopters on standby in the dry seasons to drop water from lake Santa Margarita and the towns are fairly small and compact with little brush in the towns. Being in California everyone generally has a heightened sensitivity to these fires so even people who are a little further out of the established towns have taken precaution to not allow any dry brush or grass near their homes to establish a natural fire boundary. So while having plenty of brush and dry land to catch fire we generally have immediate response and fires can usually be contained to a couple hundred acres to minimize the severity. While the scale could get out of hand our installed practices prevent any loss of life or hazard to human life. That also being said the lands that do catch fire usually sprout into greener areas months after the fire event because of the carbon left over and is actually very good for the environment sometimes.


3/4. The San Luis Obispo Officer of Emergency Services details out the possible disasters or events that could occur in the county at any given time, to account for smaller areas like Los Osos which is technically not its own township but unincorporated land. Living along the coast we naturally have Tsunami preparedness and the site includes a Tsunami history of the county to included the 500,000 dollars of damage to boats and docks in the area from the 2011 Tsunami that took out the Fukishima Daichi plant (San Luis Obispo OES, April 1, 2016). The detailed plans that are listed out here even cover nuclear fallout because of the local nuclear power plant Diablo Canyon located at beautiful Avila Beach, which makes sense given nuclear power plants generally need large water sources for emergency cooling heat sinks (That does not mean a place to discharge radioactive liquid) and as small as storm preparedness. If I had to make some adjustments to the plan or to the area as part of my assessment I would say it comes down to city planning. The towns and cities particularly in this case Atascadero and Paso Robles have an issue with wanting to rezone their land and build another home to split the property and to sell the home. That is all fine until you remember that is it a very hilly area, homes are built on the hill sides, and sometimes fairly steep. This does not bode well with the occasional earthquake, and with the lack of rain, as we get less and less rain for extended periods, once an El Nino comes around where you get rain in the bulk your home becomes a landslide risk, and mudslides are a common occurrence in the county. Overall we are fairly prepared, but city planning needs to be re-evaluated. As far as what I can do, I suppose I can run for mayor, or city council, or I could work with the city council however having only lived here for 2 years I do not have much pull with the locals.


San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services (OES). “Office of Emergency Services.” Last Modified April 1, 2016 http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/OES.htm

Module 8

Using the Nathan world map of natural disasters I can see that my hometown, Bucks County, PA experiences zone 3 and 4 tropical cyclones with zone 3 hailstorms. The map shows that my area is in zone 1 or 2 for extratropical (or winter) storms. It seems as though my area is in zone 2 or 3 for tornados and zone 1 for wildfires. For anomalies during El Niño, my area experiences fewer storms and during La Niña, there are more storms. I do not believe that the Nathan map document is suitable for this task because it is almost impossible to correctly locate an area and report on it. The Nathan map is better suited fort finding trends for general areas instead of specific places.

According to The Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ (RSOE) Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS) there was a volcano eruption at 6:37 AM on March 31st 2016 in the States of Puebla, Mexico, and Morelos in Mexico. My hometown cannot experience the same type of disaster because there are no volcanos even in the state of Pennsylvania. The database does not specially say the scale of the disaster but considering that it did effect three different major states, this disaster is much larger than my hometown. If this volcano eruption were to happen in my hometown it would be catastrophic and take out my entire town. I believe the severity of the disaster on the human population of my hometown would be disastrous. The people in my town would not have that different of levels of vulnerability because my area is relativity flat and so everywhere would be affected relatively the same. People who are closer to the base of the volcano would be affected sooner than others. My area is very farm based and having a volcanic eruption would wipe out all of the farming and irrigation that is in place.

According to FEMA’s disaster declarations for Pennsylvania, the most common natural disasters are severe storms and flooding. These severe storms cause major problems for homes and business along the Delaware River and other bodies of water that are in Pennsylvania. The storms can cause power outages and floods as well major issues for bridges and automobiles. Yardley, the town over from mine, has experienced many devastating floods that have cause many business and homeowners along the Delaware River to either move away or rebuild their buildings to accommodate flooding so the structures would be able to withstand the water damage. https://www.fema.gov/disasters/grid/state-tribal-government/44 

One major action that can be done to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in my town is building resilience in non-disaster times. As I stated earlier, this has been done by some buildings around rivers that often flood but structures that are normally right outside of the danger zone do not make an effort to fortify their areas. I believe this is imperative and needs to be done because when disasters happen, they need to be prepared for the worst. I think that the best people to preform these actions would be the builders for the building and homes that are in high flood and storm areas. They will be able to make and stick to guidelines when building the structures. I can help by preparing my home for floods and storms. One way that I can do this is to make sure my family is prepared with things like a generator.

Module 8 – Flooding, Ghibli, and Earthquakes in Tripoli, Libya

Section 1:

I live in Tripoli, Libya. It is a coastal city located in North Africa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, Tripoli is classified into zone 1 in earthquakes and has a Modified Mercalli scale intensity of VI which means if an earthquake happens it will likely be strong and felt by everyone but the damage will be slight. Also, the map shows that Tripoli isn’t affected by tropical cyclones, volcanoes, and tsunamis. I think the map gives a good high-level view of natural hazards on a global scale, i.e. continent-level, but lacks enough precision and accuracy on the country-level or city-level. Thus, I think Nathan map is not well-suited for identifying natural hazards at the city-level.


Section 2:

From the RSOE EDIS map, I chose to focus on an earthquake of magnitude 2.2 that occurred in Kolympari, Greece on 03/30/16. Even though it was classified as a micro earthquake, I think it’s a significant event because Greece is geographically close to Libya with the Mediterranean sea in between which increases the risk of earthquakes happening in Tripoli. I haven’t felt an earthquake in Tripoli for the period of 20 years that I have lived there, so severe earthquakes are uncommon. However, for this reason Tripoli is not well-prepared to handle such natural hazards. The majority of people live in one story buildings which are more vulnerable to earthquakes than apartment buildings.


Section 3:

Throughout the 20 years that I have lived in Tripoli, I would say the most natural hazard that affects Tripoli is heavy rain. Because of the poor infrastructure and drainage systems, heavy rain leads to floods and road blockage. People usually get stuck in their houses not able to get outside. Coastal regions in Libya including Tripoli have had earthquakes but very sparse over the past century [1]. Also, because Libya contains a large portion of the Sahara desert, Tripoli is famous for Ghibli wind, which is hot, dry, and dust laden desert wind that occurs in spring and early summer [2]. Ghibli can last for days and prevent people from getting outside.


[1]: Suleiman, Abdunnur S., Paola Albini, and Paola Migliavacca. “A short introduction to historical earthquakes in Libya.” ANNALS OF GEOPHYSICS 47.2/3 (2004).

[2]: http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wind/The-Ghibli.htm


Section 4:
Regarding flooding, improving current drainage systems as a pre-event preparedness measure would be one way to reduce water clogging. Also, improving flood warning systems would increase the ability to respond properly to emergencies such as preparing street evacuation plans. Such tasks could be carried out by the municipality of Tripoli. Since severe earthquakes are uncommon it wouldn’t make sense to take too much precaution, however, having open areas around buildings would be a good idea. Also, educating people about what actions to make in case of such unexpected emergencies can avoid much casualties. I can work on building resilience by increasing my awareness about handling natural hazards and share what I learn with the people around me.

Module 8- Kristin Crockett

  1. My hometown is Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which does not experience many national hazards. Looking at the Nathan World Map of National Hazards, even though the scale is pretty large, and hard to map my town exactly, I can estimate the approximate location. My town is in zone 2 for hailstorms, zone 1 for winter storms, zone 2 for tornados, zone 2 for wildfires, and zone 0 for earth quakes. We are about 1 hour and a half from the Coast of New Jersey, which according to the map we would have some exposure to Tropical Cyclones, which would be in Zone 4. Again I was not able to zoom on the map to see my town exactly, but it the map seems pretty accurate.


  1. The disaster I choose is a biological hazard in Beijing China. It has been reported that people have been infected with Yellow Fever. The time that the first person confirmed with the virus was reported with March 13th, with a recent update on March 20th, which indicate that there have been a total of 3 people been confirmed with Yellow Fever. Luckily there have been no reported deaths from the virus. Generally the virus spreads mostly through mosquitos, a virus such as Yellow Fever could defiantly impact my home town. People in the United States travel to cities across the world and can bring back a virus. If you look at scale of the event, Beijing China is a highly populated area, which if the virus is not caught early, it could spread quickly. However, when you look at 3 people infected out of over the 11 million people in Beijing, it is not a huge impact. My town is not nearly as populated, if we did have such a virus, although it could spread and impact the area, it would not spread as quickly because our population is lower. But if you looked at a comparable scale, 3 people infected out of 18,000 in my town, if it did spread further than that it could have an impact on the overall population of Doylestown. If we did have the Yellow Virus in my hometown, the human population that could be most vulnerable would be people who our outside a lot, especially in the evening when Mosquitos come out. Also those people who live near water such as lakes, ponds or streams since mosquitos lay their eggs in water, those areas have a tendency to have more mosquitos. Ways to reduce the vulnerably would be educate residents on how the virus is spread and how to prevent exposure. There are also vaccinations that can be given to prevent the virus. However, not everyone has healthcare or even afford to go to the doctor and get vaccinations so socioeconomics can lead to disproportionate impact to people in the community. Because such a virus could impact the entire community, we could have the local business and community sponsor a health fair and provide free shots to those could not afford to get it at the doctors.



  1. As you can tell from my analysis of the Nathan World Map of National Hazards, my town is not subjected to many national hazards. Being close to New Jersey when that area is impacted by hurricanes, we can be somewhat impacted with rain, thunderstorms and winds. However, in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit the North East, Doylestown did get hit pretty hard. Although it was nothing compared to the Jersey Shore area, we still had major damage in the area. Trees, large branches and power lines were down everywhere. Many homes, including ours were without power for four or more days. The storm impacted schools, business and public transportation. According to the New York Times over a half of million electric customers in Pennsylvania were without power for days. People close to low-lying areas were asked to go to shelters. I remember our finished basement was severely flooded during the storm, but again we were lucky that the water did not rise high enough to impact our main floor.



Preston, Jennifer, Sona Patel, and Maira Garcia. “State-by-State Guide to Hurricane Sandy.” New York Times. October 29, 2012. Accessed April 01, 2016. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/state-by-state-guide-to-hurricane-sandy/?_r=0.



  1. Since Doylestown can be impacted by Hurricanes educating residents in my town could be taken to reduce vulnerability. I know at times the news will indicate that if you live in a low lying area, to seek shelter, however people may not really realize if they live in such areas. Our county has a website for disaster preparedness, but I am sure many residents are not aware of it. The county could get the awareness out there by distributing flyers or even adding a link to a social media website (such as Facebook). In addition, people can ensure that they take down rotted trees and keep trees trimmed to reduce trees falling on homes and power lines during high winds. I can take action by educating myself on our county disaster plan, ensuring our trees are properly taken care or, as well as sharing and educate my friends, family and neighbors.

mod 8- natural hazards

  1. There are a few natural hazards that have an effect on my hometown which is Doylestown, PA. On the Nathan map, Doylestown was in the area for tropical cyclones, hail storms, and tornadoes. It is in zone 2 tropical cyclone territory which means wind speeds up to 212 km/h. Doylestown is also in zone 2 hailstorm territory which means the town gets a moderate not too intense storm. It is in zone 2 for tornadoes as well, so it gets low intensity tornadoes every once in a while. I don’t think this map is a very good fit because I have lived in
    Doylestown for my entire life and have never experienced an earthquake or tropical cyclone.
  2. I read about a biological hazard that took place in Georgia. It is level 4 out of 4 on the hazardous scale, so this is a serious issue. Something like this could happen in my hometown, but biological hazards do not happen very often in general. This problem is in a town in Georgia that is a similar size to Doylestown and only one person is currently affected. This hazard is deadly and could spread through the air. If a problem like this happened in Doylestown the people who live in the most urban parts will be the most vulnerable.
  3. From my personal experience the only natural hazards that occur in Doylestown, Pa are big snow storms. We have been having bad winters with a lot of big snowstorms. I researched the history of natural hazards in Doylestown and found some more from the past. Doylestown has had 3 earthquakes in the past, so there is a slight chance for earthquakes. There have also been many tornadoes there which are also present in the area. http://www.usa.com/doylestown-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm
  4. For my town the main natural hazards are tornadoes and snow storms. One thing that the town does already for these is issuing weather warning whenever there is a high chance of either. Another idea is to have people stay away from or out of the main urban part of the town. If a tornado were coming, this could get a lot of people out of an area with many buildings and other structures that could cause harm to them due to the tornado. One thing I think that I can do is to inform others about the causes of tornadoes.  A tornado needs a cold rainy downdraft and a warm updraft, so telling people this might allow people to recognize a tornado before it actually happens.

Natural Hazards

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the biggest hazards in my hometown are tropical cyclones.  Apparently, these winds can even reach up to 300 kilometers per hour, which could easily devastate an entire city.  My home, being located in Bucks County, also is susceptible to hail storms, which I have seen multiple times before.  However, I feel these findings from the map may not be 100 percent accurate.  While I do see hail once in a while, it has never been to the point of it causing danger.  When it comes to “tropical cyclones”, I think the wind is fairly calm where I am from, especially compared to what we have been experiencing here in State College lately.  The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards does do a good job at getting the general sense for hazards in your area, but there is definitely some discrepancies when it gets to the more local level.

One type of hazard that really interests me is Biological Hazards.  These can include many types of diseases and viruses that are capable of spreading from human to human.  There was recently an outbreak of Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, a disease that affected 44 people and killed 17 of those.  If this were to happen in my hometown, I think the sickness would not spread nearly as far as it did in Wisconsin.  I live in an area where the population is very spread out, so it would be much less likely to come in contact with someone affected by the disease.  Also, we live a short drive from Philadelphia which has multiple very good medical facilities.  The one thing that could make it a little more prominent would be the fact that there are a good amount of children and elders in the area, who are more likely to get infected.  When it comes to scale, I would think that this town was more populated than were I am from, which may have caused it to spread even easier.  Even though it was only 44 people infected, that is a huge number for this deadly of a disease. Due to the probable smaller scale of my hometown, the impact would most likely be a lot less.  The citizens of my hometown would be much less vulnerable to this outbreak than the citizens of a city like Philadelphia or New York.  The fact that these places are so crowded, and also have a high level of people in poverty, would make the outbreak much more likely and much more severe.  Biological hazards like this one heavily depend on where they occur.

Earthquakes, Thunderstorms and Flooding Vulnerabilities

The Nathan maps showed that my hometown, Sugarloaf, PA, is situated in an area of low risk in terms of likeliness of being directly affected by natural hazards.  My area had an increase in mean temperature and precipitation between 1978-2007, and based on the maps, hailstorms and tornadoes are some of our largest threats.  This document is not a good tool, because it does not update itself, and it could be outdated by now (since it was published in 2011).  The maps are too small to accurately identify which categories my town fit into.  Additionally, the climate impacts features on the large map does not show what areas the impacts are reaching.  Instead, the map simply places a small symbol at various places.

Shingu, Japan experienced a strong, 6.0-magnitude earthquake this morning.  People very likely felt the quake, with objects falling off of shelves.  While my hometown could certainly experience earthquakes, it is unlikely we will ever see one this strong.  Japan is more likely to have frequent seismic activity because it is located on the border of tectonic plates.  The earthquake originated from a point 35 miles off of the coast, so it traveled quite some distance.  At that same scale, my entire town of 22 square miles, plus neighboring towns would be heavily affected.  My town would have heavy damage primarily because of the poor structural integrity of many buildings in the area.  We don’t have a lot of extreme disasters occur in the area, so the buildings are not as equipped to deal with earthquakes than Shingu is.  Taking steps such as reinforcing buildings and requiring more sturdy foundations could be steps we could take to reduce our vulnerability.

In Sugarloaf, thunderstorms and flash floods are quite common, especially in the summertime.  In most houses in my neighborhood, a French drain and a sump pump is utilized in the basements.  This does a fairly good job of avoiding water damage, however it does not fully protect us.  My own basement flooded twice even with these protective measures.  According to Pennsylvania Ready natural hazard services, flash floods kill more than 140 people annually.  Thunderstorms also cause issues when lightening is close.  I personally have had a couple trees fall down after being struck by lightning.  The trees have resulted in damage to our house, our neighbor’s house, and our fence.  Source:  https://www.ready.gov/pennsylvania

My town could reduce vulnerability to natural hazards, such as thunderstorms and flooding, in several ways.  An important step to take is to install sump pumps with back-up generators in homes that do not already have them.  I believe my town also needs more areas for runoff to flow to.  In my neighborhood, we get a lot of flooding in the streets where there is too much concrete.  By allowing more space for soil to absorb the runoff, there will be safer driving conditions.  The local construction workers and plumbers can take care of most of these steps, but it is equally homeowners’ responsibility to take action.  One way I will take action is to remind my parents to get frequent inspections on our drainage system to ensure it still works properly.  These easy steps can save people money in the long run, and may even save someone’s life.

Module 8-Sophia Greene

I am from a small town called Mountaintop in Pennsylvania. In regards to natural disasters such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and natural cyclones, Mountaintop is located in zone 0 on the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, meaning that these types of natural hazards do not affect it. In terms of hailstorms, winter storms, and tornadoes, Mountaintop is located between zones 1 and 2 on the map. This location means that there is a low frequency for these natural hazards. In 2005, it was very rare, but Mountaintop was affected by a tornado. However, hail storms and winter storms are more common in our area, although the severity is never extremely bad. Overall, the weather in Mountaintop is pretty mild throughout the four seasons. The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards did show a lot of helpful information, but I feel as though it was difficult to pinpoint a small area such as Mountaintop.

According to RSOE EDIS, on February 20, 2016, the country of Nigeria in Africa was affected by a biological hazard. The biological hazard recorded is an unidentified fatal illness. The biohazard level of this illness was a 4/4. In order to deal with this type of biological hazard a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen is mandatory. In order to enter and exit of Level Four biolab requires multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultra-violent light room, autonomous detection room, and other safety precautions. There are also measures taken in order to ensure that both doors do not open at the same time. In order to ensure that the disease is not released accidentally, the air and water in the lab undergo a decontamination process. Unfortunately, my hometown could definitely be affected by a similar biohazard. The U.S. has experienced the threat of Ebola recently, which is similar to this biohazard. The disease could be brought over from different areas to the United States. My town is not immune to the threat of these types of hazards. In Nigeria, 25 people have died because of this biological hazard. If this type of event were to happen in my hometown, it would be considered to be a very large-scale threat due to the fact that I am from small town and it would spread fast. In order to reduce my town’s vulnerability to biological hazards like this, it is important to educate people about the hazards of traveling abroad and the threat of diseases there.

In my hometown of Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, local factories have posed a threat to our community. Specifically, the factory, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., has been a hazard in Mountaintop. Chemical substances were found at the site that were not disclosed by the factory. The chemical substances were contaminants and polluted nearby areas. One road in my town was really affected by this pollution. The water supply on Church road was contaminated. People living along that road used the contaminated water for years, and unfortunately, some passed away because of it. Even though only a few members of the community were directly affected by this issue, it was hugely devastating for everyone.

“Foster Wheeler Energy Corp Church Road Tce.” In Mountain Top, PA. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

In order to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in my hometown, the first step would to be create regulations that prevent factories from disposing hazardous chemicals and waste. The best people for this action would be those who hold positions in the community. The water should also be tested in my hometown in order to ensure that it is safe to use now. This would relate to the post-event recovery part of the module. Personally, I could make sure that everything I do is healthy for the environment, in order to make sure that events like this do not happen in Mountaintop again.



Module 8- Jonah Kim

  1. My hometown is Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Locating my hometown was difficult because the scale on the map was so large. In my town natural disasters do not really occur frequently. On the maps I would say that Lansdale is at a level zero zone for earthquakes and at a level one zone for extratropical storms. Also, the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters indicates Lansdale is at a level one zone for wildfires, level two zone for tornados, and level three zone for hailstorms. I can’t even say with much certainty that I categorized my hometown correctly. The level zones that the map issued my hometown are pretty accurate regarding the weather. In conclusion, it would have been easier to classify my hometown if the map had been zoomed in on to Pennsylvania.
  2. On March 31, 2016 at 06:37 AM (UTC), the Popcatepetl Volcano erupted in the States of Puebla, Mexico and Morelos. Damage level is not or not known. The number of affected people was zero. However, The last report came over 24 hours ago and it is not updated. The Popcatepetl Volcano is 50 miles away from Mexico City, one of Mexico’s largest cities. The radius of the eruption is 100 km. My hometown cannot experience a volcanic eruption because there are no volcanoes in Pennsylvania. If a volcano were to erupt in Lansdale, the entire town would be covered in volcanic debris along with neighboring towns. In my town, the less wealthy and elderly would be vulnerable to a volcanic eruption in Lansdale. It would be hard for the less wealthy to afford cleaning volcanic debris. Also, famers with a lot of property would have so much more to clean.
  3. In my hometown of Lansdale natural hazards don’t happen very often, based off of personal experience. I have been living in Lansdale for almost 11 years and so I know the usual weather pretty well.  The only one time I can recall is a storm that changed from snow to rain and then into hail. At night I remember my parents wanting to park our cars in the garage because hail the size of golf balls was following out of the sky. I went outside to walk my dog and we just got pelted with balls of ice. It hurt a lot.
  4. In Lansdale, pre-event preparedness would help to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards. Issuing a protocol for when hail gets to a certain size would be effective. For example, local government could rule that if hail is bigger than 1cm in radius there’s a warning issued telling people to stay indoors. The best way to get this accomplished would be to write to and get in contact with our county commissioner (my town does not have a mayor). Some things I can do to help reduce vulnerability is build resilience in non-disaster times. So when it’s not hailing I can replace glass counter top tables that are on my porch with a metal table or a wooden one. Also, I can go around my neighborhood right after a bad hail storm and see if anything needs repairing or help.

Cassandra Oresko Module 8

There was a heat wave in Kenya on March 25, relatable to Belmar New Jersey, which also experiences this same type of disaster. However, due our high level of vulnerability, my hometown would not be in risk whatsoever. In relation to vulnerability, we are lucky enough to have a high level of education. Since New Jersey tends to get extremely hot in the summer, heat waves are common. However, health classes in school systems  educate us on ways we can prevent any risk of dehydration, or even fatality. We live in a community with young adults, so unlike children and the elderly, they have the health and strength to go about this specific disaster. On social media and television news, our Governor Chris Christie informs us upon the arrival of a heat way, and ways our community can prepare for such a hazard. Additionally, our wealth is primarily one of the most significant reasons why our hometown is vulnerable to heat waves. If a heat wave ever approached, our communities are wealthy enough to afford a pool to keep our bodies at as healthy temperature, as well as using air conditioning at a rate where we do not worry about the bill at the end of the month because we can afford these high costs.

Though there was no scale information to Kenya’s heat wave, I can easily say that there is no relevance to how extreme Kenya’s is compared to Belmar’s. The rising heat waves in Kenya are due to rising atmospheric temperatures beyond human tolerance. A heat wave is a killer occurrence. Without the knowledge and abundance of water, people will become dehydrated very easily, and people will die. This compares to Kenya because the continent of Africa is increasingly rising in temperature. Without a proper education upon ways to stay safe and clean water, something Kenya struggles with, the degree of deaths and the scale of the event will keep rising. If the same scale were to occur in my hometown, the impact of the disaster change would obviously be at a higher number of affected people/humanities loss, but we will be able to tolerate this disaster. Because of our high education, awareness, governance policies, and healthy stability of the young adults, Belmar’s community would at first be in shock by this scale, but eventually be able to be vulnerable from it; due to our pre-event preparedness and emergency responses Chris Christie informs.


Different people in my hometown have different levels of vulnerability due to their age and wealth. For example, would you assume to expect an eighty year old elderly to be more vulnerable in a heat wave compared to a fit twenty five year old? Absolutely not. Because of declining physical strength, hearing, and vision, it is difficult for an elderly person to be able to cope well with a heat stroke, compared to a healthy twenty five year old who the physical strength and healthy heart to be able to survive in this type of disaster. During the summertime at the shore, we tend to have many females travel here from other states, so heat waves can be difficult for this specific gender. As mentioned in the module, women tend to to be less educated and take care of younger children during times of hazards, so they are more vulnerable during these situations. To reduce my town’s vulnerability in such a disaster, I highly believe that we need to increase awareness and education. In order for us to be individually prepared for a hot summer and hazards such as this specific one, television, mayors of the town, school districts, these are all such intelligent ways to spread awareness and knowledge in order to be fully prepared. As an assessment, I was taught appropriately at a very young age upon how to prepare for a heat wave. By hydrating constantly, staying indoors, as well as being close to air conditioning, these are the best ways to go about a hazard such as this one. For more information upon resources and useful tips, please use the citation provided!

“Heat Wave Safety Tips | American Red Cross.” American Red Cross. American Red Cross, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016. <http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/heat-wave>.

In order to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in my town, I simply believe we need to be introduced to both knowledge and awareness of what we can do as individuals. For example, in my elementary school health class, I was introduced to several hazards that could be a possibility in my hometown, such as a tropical storm or a tornado. We went over lessons, activities, and were given resources and tips on how to go about this type of situation if it ever occurred. This is best type of way to perform this preparation. Teachers, governors, significant people of the town that people listen to would be the best type of people to perform these actions. These of the type of people we look up to and are inspired by, especially myself when I was learning this education as such a young age. As an individual, the most I can do to reduce vulnerability is simply be smart and use the knowledge I was given. For example, during a tropical storm, I was taught to be food and water in advance, portable outlets for electricity, as well as stay in a safe shelter such as my basement. It is all about using what we learned and taking it into action.


Dylan Hellings – Module 8

  1. My hometown is Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania located on the east coast of the United States about 30 minutes from Philadelphia and 20 minutes from King of Prussia. I am in zone 0 for earthquakes, no threat of volcanoes, zone 1 or 2 for hailstorms, zone 1 for wildfires, and zone 1 for winter storms. The only significant threat that Plymouth Meeting faces would be close to the coast which is zone 4 tropical cyclones. It is hard to tell on the map to pinpoint my exact location, but it seems I could be in zone 2 for tornadoes. This being said, I have never heard of that necessarily being an issue in my area.
  2. After just watching a video earlier today of a massive volcano eruption I was interested in finding a volcano on the RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service. Earth this morning, March 31st 2016 at 6:37am Popocatépetl Volcano erupted in Puebla, Mexico. After doing a little bit of research I learned that Popocatépetl is 43 miiles southest of Mexico City and had two volcanic tectonic activity events on Wednesday, along with four low-intensity eruptions, 30 minutes of tremors, and 179 volcanic plumes. The tallest plume was incredibly two miles high (Some information can be found here). My hometown is not at risk of this disaster because the east coast is free of volcanoes. So far there has been no damage done in Puebla. I would assume they have taken precaution to keep people safe in the event of eruption. Ash tends to be the bigger issue than the actual magma in many situations. While this event would cause panic, it seems like it is not causing harm, I don’t believe my town would be affected differently.
  3. While not a traditional natural hazard, I would argue that potholes created by erosion from weather and wear and tear result in many dangerous situations resulting in damage to vehicles causing injuries and even death in some cases. Pennsylvania is very well known for having roads in horrible condition due to these potholes. In certain parts near my area there are roads that are practically not accessible because of the horrible condition of the roads. Flooding and heavy snow can often cause a lot of damage. Often the damages of heavy snow are more the effect is has on businesses. When towns experience excessive amounts of snow it slows everything down as most people can’t make it to work and have to stay in their homes for possibly multiple days.
  4. While there will always be natural disasters around the world, there are things that can be done to help protect against them. That being said, they will never be completely preventable. Often the salt on the roads to prevent snow buildup is what causes the pothole issue so fixing one issue may often cause another so that’s when you need to decide as a community which is the more important issue. I think State or Local government action is the only way to prevent these issues as a privatized prevention agency would likely not gain the funding needed. Other than these steps, the best thing you can do is to be aware of any upcoming events and be prepared for anything. I myself can inform friends, family, and others in my community when there is a reason to be concerned and take action.

Nathan World Disaster Map – Graham, TX

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters, my town of Graham, TX is susceptible to hailstorms (zone 6), tornadoes (zone 4), and wildfires (zone 2). I have lived in Graham for 18 months and during that time period I seen extreme thunderstorms that produced tornadoes and golf ball sized hail. The intensity and frequency of these storms can be very alarming. Two weeks ago, a F1 tornado destroyed homes about 30 miles from my house along a highway I frequently travel for work. The storm hit about 2 am in the morning giving residents little to no warning. During El Nino years, it is expected to be wetter with fewer storms. In comparison to this time last year, we have experienced less rain and fewer storms packing less intensity. During La Nina years, it is warmer and drier. During these cycles Graham has experienced extensive droughts leading to water restrictions. The area is very dependent on farming and cattle grazing so during these cycles, the economy suffers greatly. We are not well equipped to handle these episodes. The Brazos river flows through town but is controlled by dams. Water that is typically pulled from the river for irrigation does not occur because the Brazos River Authority reduces the river to little more than a large creek. During wetter seasons, the river floods which as I saw last year, destroyed homes and roads along the river.

According to the Hungarian National Radio Distress board, Eldridge, AL experienced a medium grade tornado today. The likelihood of that happening in Graham is pretty great. Graham is located in North-Central Texas on the edge of what is considered “Tornado Alley.” Each year severe thunderstorms pound the region during the spring and early summer with some storms capable of producing tornadoes. The cause of these tornadoes is due to the cold air coming down through the Rocky Mountains and converging with the warm moist air of the Gulf. From a topographic standpoint, Graham is very flat and that allows these storms to touchdown.

This was considered a medium storm. If it were to happen in Graham, we would experience the same kind of damage. Most people here have storm shelters or access to public shelters. There is also an alert system in place that sounds sirens if a tornado is possible. I think one possible solution to minimize the risk of human life would be for the city of Graham to offer grants or assistance to homeowners to purchase storm shelters.

Module 8: Natural Hazards

  1. North central PA has experienced some natural disasters in the past, but not in recent history. Nathan’s map of natural hazards help demonstrates some possible events that may occur. The main map of the world’s natural hazards demonstrates the possibility of heavy rain events in the Pennsylvania area. Furthermore, there are small risks of hail storms and stronger risks of winter storms in my home area of north central PA. Tornadoes pose a moderate threat to my home area, but wildfires are a smaller threat. Nathan’s map is a great tool for analyzing the various natural hazard risks in the world. Also, Nathan’s map can help determine where natural hazards can easily turn into natural disasters.
  2. The Pavlof Volcano in Alaska started erupting on March 28th, 2016. There were plumes of ash 20,000 feet into the air. Pavlof Volcano is on the Atlantic Peninsula about 600 miles away from Anchorage, Alaska. The USGS stated that the volcano is on the highest level of warning due to the hazards in the air and on the ground with ash and lava. This kind of disaster is highly unlikely in my home area because it is far from any tectonic plate boundaries or any active volcanoes. The Adirondack Mountain range goes through north central PA, but none of those mountains are active volcanoes. Barring a science fiction style event, a natural hazard of a volcano would never affect my home area. If there was a volcano near my home town an eruption would most likely cripple my town and hurt hundreds of people. A lot of people in my home town are elderly or poor so it would be difficult to just leave the area in the event of a natural disaster without help from the government. Those that are younger and can afford vehicles and other transportation would flood the rural roads and sparse highway roads with traffic that would still make it difficult to leave the area. Even if the volcano was a few miles out of town, the effects of ash fallout form the volcano would kill people and cause travelling to be very difficult. This doesn’t include the severe environmental destruction that would hurt my area ruining farms and water supplies.
  3. In the past 100 years examples of natural hazards have turned into natural disasters on a small scale in my home area. In the 1970’s there were three major floods.(tiogacountypa.us) The first occurred in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes came through north central PA. This natural hazards still exists today as flash flooding from slow moving heavy rain storms still occur today. A dam was built along the Cowanesque river in Tioga County, PA. This dam was built as a defense measure against natural flooding. Dikes along the river were also built to help prevent flooding. However, other flooding events still happen when there is simply too much rain to contain. Another natural hazard that has affected Tioga County is tornadoes. In a town a few minutes from my home town a tornado damaged various houses and knocked down trees over 100 years old. (ireport.cnn.com) This natural disaster occurred in 2011 and was the fifth tornado to hit the area in recent memory. (tornadohistoryproject.com)
  4. Many of the natural disasters in my home town cause serious damage, but this damage can be kept to a minimum with action. The high schools in the area only complete an occasional tornado drill, but with the recent tornado in 2011 they should be sure to teach tornado safety beyond that of a drill. There should be town meetins and drills to ensure that everyone is prepared in the event of a tornado. Preventing a tornado is not possible, but preparing for one is. Flooding is a problem that will also never go away for my home town, but they can try to alleviate it more. First of all, flood safety should be taught to the community so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a flood. Furthermoe, house designs, town projects, and other building projects should be prepared for the possibility of a flood so that properity can be protected. Myhome town’s council and mayor should be in charge of presenting this safety information to the public as they are the elected officials of the town to promote safety. By participating in these information sessions and practicing for possible natural disasters I can help show others how important the issue is and help spread awareness for these events.
  5. Sources: http://www.tiogacountypa.us/Departments/Emergency_Services/Documents/TiogaCountyHMPUApprovedPendingAdoption.pdf

Natural Disasters: How they affect Warren County, New Jersey

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters, Washington, NJ, my hometown, seems to be faced with Level 2 Tropical Cyclones that would hit the coast and effect the state. My town may be faced with Level 2 or Level 3 hailstorms, although they are very rare. My town seems to be in the Zone 2 for tornados and Zone 1 wildfires, which are low hazard. My area is affected by El Nino causing fewer storms, and will have more storms during La Nina. Looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Disasters was quite difficult when looking for information on a small scale. When viewing the whole map it’s hard to decipher what zone my small town would fall under. This map would be useful when looking at global weather perspectives and when trying to learn how the United States is affected by natural disasters.

According to The Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress, there was a power outage in Calloway County, Kentucky early this morning on April 1st. This power outage affected 15,000 people and was caused by severe weather. Power outages are a very common thing in my town in New Jersey after severe weather. After thunderstorms, tropical storms, snowstorms, and hurricanes the area is crippled with falling wires and trees, damaged telephone poles and blocked roads. The area is very familiar to these issues, and tries to accommodate people as soon as possible, however there were still times after Hurricane Sandy, where I was out of power for fourteen days. My town and Calloway County Kentucky are very similar in scale. My town although spread out, accommodates around 15,000 people as well. Power outages affect most people in our town at the same time. Although, when it comes to restoring power to the homes, they are addressed by township. There are developments in my town that are newly constructed, and the power grids are completely underground. These people are the best off after severe weather. Unfortunately, the people who live in town, where the telephone poles are wires are above ground are more negatively affected by the power outages because of the falling poles, trees, and dangling wires. It becomes a very dangerous place until the area is restored. This gap between the new developments and the people that reside in town also depicts the different socioeconomic classes in my town as well. The people that live in the developments are wealthier than the people that reside in the immediate town. Another factor when considering who is affected by power outages is the electric companies fix the most populated areas first. So those developments and the town get fixed before the farm streets and back roads are fixed. These people are forced to live without power for a longer time. This is what happened to me after Hurricane Sandy. To reduce my towns vulnerability to power outages, it would be beneficial to mimic the new developments and try to get the power grids in the town and on the back roads to be underground as well. This would make it a safer place after a natural disaster, and would save electric companies from having to make so many repairs after disasters.

As I mentioned before the most common natural disasters in New Jersey are severe storms. These storms produce violent rain, wind, and lightning that cause power outages and damage to homes and cars in the area. Sometimes accompanying the power outages is flooding. Many of the rivers in my area such as the Musconetcong river and more devastating, the Delaware river, flood and destroy peoples homes, was away valuable farm soil and make driving dangerous in my area as well. More rarely, according to FEMA records, there are wild fires in my area as well. With the vast protected farmlands and farmer burning away brush, fires can get started in the area after dry seasons. There was a fire documented in 2002 and 2007 and they were minimally destructive to the area however homes were evacuated.

“Disaster Declarations for New Jersey.” FEMA. Ed. New Jersey State Government. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016. <https://www.fema.gov/disasters/grid/state-tribal-government/37>.

In my town, I think it would be necessary to work on building resilience in non-disaster times. If my town were to convert all of the electric grid systems from above ground to underground, there would be little to plan when a severe storm is to happen. The electrical lines would be protected and the telephone poles would be gone. The only thing the town would have to worry about after a storm is cleaning up the streets because of fallen trees and debris and the damage to homes and cars. However, thinking ahead, the town could work to be prepared, and cut down trees that look like they will inevitably fall during the storm. This could eliminate more of the work after the storms. By implementing the underground electrical grids, the town would also be eliminating socioeconomic differences when it comes to natural disasters. The poor people in my town would feel less worried about their home during a storm, knowing they wont have to worry about fixing it because of fallen telephone poles or, living in a dangerous area until the wires are fixed. My town although not the wealthiest, does have high taxes and I think it would be beneficial to take these taxes and put them towards being preventative to natural disasters. To possibly put this plan into action I would have to speak with the mayor of my town or the officer in the municipal building about emergency protection plans. Obviously, something like this would take careful consideration and policy planning and would involve budgeting and networking with electrical companies.

Katie Greiner Module 8 Natural Hazards

  1. Harleysville, PA: According to The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, hail storms (zone 3), winter storms (zone 0), and tornadoes (zone 3) are all possible natural hazards that could occur in my hometown, but these hazards are pretty unlikely. This data was difficult to collect because of how hard the map was to read. The map was difficult to read because it included a key with minimal information, small font, and none of the regionals were labeled on the map. If the maps were clearer when you zoomed in, contained labeling, or were more interactive they would be more user friendly. This map would be more helpful if we were researching world, geographic region, or continent’s natural hazards instead.
  2. The emergency event I selected was the Biological Hazard in Florence Italy on March 5th 2016. The biological hazard involved an outbreak of meningococcal meningitis C. This type of disaster could happen in my hometown since it is a biological hazard. This lack of proper education on the importance of vaccination could potentially lead to an outbreak of any type of bacterial or viral disease. Health officials reported a dozen cases and 4 deaths of meningococcal meningitis C. The population of Tuscany is over 3.5 million people and spreads nearly 9,000 miles. Overall, Pennsylvania holds very low vulnerability to natural hazards. The population and size of my hometown and even my county is much smaller than that of Tuscany, by millions of people and thousands of miles. If this disaster were to occur in my hometown, at the same scale, it would be cause a greater impact than in Tuscany. Even though it would have a greater impact, it wouldn’t affect the resilience of my community because majority of the community is educated about vaccinations and have the money and ability to prevent the spread of the disease. The majority of the population in Harleysville, PA ranged from middle class to upper middle class. These categories of people would be less likely to be vulnerable to infection due to already being vaccinated for a disease, such as meningitis. There is some poverty in my community, and the members of this social class would be more likely to contract these diseases due to lack of wealth and education. If an outbreak of disease were to break out among the lower income portions of my community, it is more likely that the disease would be spread amongst the community. To prevent this, education about vaccination, school requirements for vaccinations, and the offering to provide vaccination would greatly help to reduce the spreading of bacterial and viral biological hazards in my hometown.
  3. According to the Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Residents of Montgomery County, which is the county that Harleysville is located in, the different types of possible emergencies are severe weather such as blizzard and winter storms, tornadoes, flash floods, thunderstorms, fires, earthquakes and landslides (Steven Wittmer). The county can also face threats such as biological, chemical, and radiological, and an Influenza pandemic. In my personal experience, my hometown experiences flash floods, winter storms, thunderstorms, fires, and Influenza pandemic hazards the most. In Harleysville, there are a lot of streams and rives that can flood pretty easily. Because of this, I would say flash flooding is probably the most common hazard my community faces yearly. (http://www.pennsburg.us/MontCoEmergency.pdf)
  4. Actions that can be done in my local community in order to reduce vulnerably to natural hazards rely on education, technology, having emergency response crews’ ready, and pre-event preparedness. By having improved technology along with proper pre-event preparedness, my community would be better informed of potential natural hazards as proper technology to alert and prepare people for in case of emergencies. For example, by being able to predict and track weather storms, members of the community will have more warning and information about winter storms. By providing early knowledge of storms, people would be able to purchase the proper supplies to make it through the storm. The best people to preform these actions would be meteorologists and news medias. If meteorologist work with the public news, it is easy for news stories about potential bad weather to spread the message. I can help by making sure my family is prepared for unexpected, but potential natural disasters.

Natural Hazards

  1. I am from the Philadelphia suburbs and throughout my life we haven’t really experienced any natural hazards. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my area is prone to heavy rain which can be due to tropical cyclones that form along the east coast. We can also experience some moderate hail during the winter months typically. Other than that, my area does not experience many natural hazards. When I was looking all of the different maps, it was kind of hard to see where my exact town is but I was in the general vicinity when looking at them. It would have been nice to see a map of just the United States for this task but I have lived in the same place for my whole so I pretty much know what type of natural hazards I have experienced.
  2. On March 5th at approximately 4:37 pm (UTC) in Tuscany Italy there was a meningococcal meningitis C outbreak that killed 4 people. This disease is spread from person to person through bacteria when they come in close contact with each other. Luckily not many people died from this outbreak because it can be easily treated if caught at the right time. This type of outbreak could happen in my area because meningitis is just spread through personal contact with people who have the bacteria. However, there are a lot of good hospitals in my area that can treat people in an appropriate manner. I have not heard of meningitis outbreaks in my town so it does not seem like my area is vulnerable to this disease but something like this could happen.
  3. The area of southeast Pennsylvania can experience the following hazards according to Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency  are transportation accidents, floods, fires, winter storms, tropical storms (tornadoes and windstorms), hazardous material accidents, geological incidents (earthquakes, landslides, and subsidence), nuclear facility accidents, dam failures, terrorism, and riots. Since I have lived in the same area for my whole life, I know which of the ones above are the most common. These would be transportation accidents, winter storms, and sometimes tropical storms. My area was hit pretty badly during hurricane Sandy and we’ve had a few bad snow storms like one who dumped about 30 inches in the area in January of 1996. On the other hand, transportation accidents are the most common because my area is becoming very urbanized and that means more people are on the road with cars. Luckily my area does not experience significantly dangerous hazards but there have been a few bad storms here and there.
  4. Considering winter and tropical storms are out of people’s hands, we can only help better prepare for them. For example, if we improve our technology we can get a more accurate timeline of the storm and possibly know its magnitude. There have been plenty of storms in the past that the weather stations have made out to seem really bad but then they were wrong when it actually came through. Knowing what to expect before a storm comes can help people prepare themselves whether it means stocking up on food or reinforcing their house. The other main natural hazard in my area is transportation accidents and we could reduce the vulnerability of them by reducing the speed limit on some roads that are winding and we can also add more stop lights at intersections that do not have any. There are a couple intersections in my town that are dangerous when people try to make turns onto.


Gunderson-Mod 8

  1. Casablanca, Morocco is located on the Northwestern side of the African continent. Casablanca’s propensity for earthquakes falls into Zone 0. For cyclones, Zone 0. Hailstorms, Zone 1. Extratropical Storms, Zone 0/1. Tornadoes, Zone 1. Finally the highest risk event: Wildfires falling into Zone 2. Casablanca suffers no anomalies during El Nino or La Nina, observed no real change in mean temperature, and observed very little change in precipitation since 1978. All of these natural disaster risks fall into the lower, if not the lowest, sections of each scale. This indicates Morocco as a safe place to live with regards to propensity for major natural disasters
  2. On 31 March, 2016 at 1938 (UTC), Sinabang, located on the Indonesian archipelago, experienced an earthquake that was a 5 on the Mercalli scale. It happened off the coast at a depth of 38.74km. This caused everyone in the affected area to feel movement. Though it didn’t seem too violent, dishes broke, smaller objects moved and things were spilled. The risk for Casablanca experiencing an earthquake of similar magnitude is pretty small, there’s a history of earthquakes not very far away to the North. Sinabang only has a population of 20,000 whereas Casa has almost 3.5 million packed into a much more urban sprawl. I would assume that the chance for injuries would be much higher based on the population density. The people here haven’t experienced any major natural disasters in recent history and are most likely very complacent in regards to any kind of immediate actions for personal safety.
  3. My assessment of Casablanca is that it would be extremely vulnerable to a major earthquake. The architecture is obviously not suited to any kind of earthquake whatsoever and would most likely crumble during any major seismological activity. The city’s emergency response is slow at best and traffic would hamper the movement of emergency response vehicles and other first responders, which would only serve to exasperate any casualty causing conditions. There is no type of emergency education or preparation made available to the general populace so there would be mass confusion during anything serious which would also only serve to complicate emergency response.
  4. To reduce Casablanca’s vulnerability to a major earthquake, there would need to be some sort of push to educate the populace in regards to emergency preparation and appropriate response to perspective disaster scenarios. The city’s government should implement evacuation plans and routes for all of the major neighborhoods and then tailor their first responder’s plans to fit those needs. The best people to perform these actions would include the King, because in this society you’ll never get anything done without his approval first. Then you would have to rely on the heads of the appropriate ministries within the government to implement these changes. Hopefully they would reach out to other places and people with real world experience in dealing with disasters.
Downtown Casablanca

Downtown Casablanca, this is just a taste of some of the structural engineering that can be found here.




Module 8: Vulnerability Reduction

The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards helped me identify the natural hazards that my town in northeastern Pennsylvania can face. According to the maps, my area is at risk from tropical cyclones, an increase in heavy rain, hailstorms (up to zone 3), extratropical storms (up to zone 0), tornados (up to zone 3), and wildfires (up to zone 1). The maps in the Nathan map document show a general risk for a specific area and a specific threat. In some of the maps it is hard to identify what category a specific area is in. I do agree with the metrics provided for my area. Living in this area, we can experience crazy weather sometimes. I was actually born during the blizzard of 1993, there was a tornado a few miles away that destroyed car shop a few years back, number of floods, strong storms with damaging winds and hail, and a few small brush fires that lasted a day or two.

The current disaster from the RSOE EDIS is a 90-foot wide sinkhole in Tarpon Springs, Florida. My hometown can experience this same type of disaster. The risk for this type of disaster is higher than other parts of the country. My area is vulnerable the acid in our groundwater being able to dissolve the porous rocks. My area is not as vulnerable as Florida, but they seem to be more common. The scale of this disaster relative to the size of my hometown would be the same. This happened in a mobile home park and displaced about twenty people. My town also has a mobile home park about the same size that is described. The sinkhole opened in an area where there is a higher density of people living and that is why the impact was higher. If it happened in front of my house, the impact would be far less. The severity of this type of disaster on the human population in my hometown depends on where it happens. The population is mixed with older and younger people. If this would happen near a senior living complex, the severity would be high because of the assistance need when trying to evacuate quickly. These type of disasters do not have advance warning and give little time to leave the affected area. Reducing my town’s vulnerability to such a disaster would begin with the inspection of areas looking at water runoff, underground pipes, the types of soil and rocks. Another way to reduce the vulnerability is to have a proper waste water disposal system.

I was able to find a site that compiled natural disasters and weather extremes from 1950 to 2010 and calculated the likelihood of an event. The data says that the chance of an earthquake in Lackawanna County is about the same as the Pennsylvania average and is far lower than the national average. The risk of tornado damage in Lackawanna County is lower than Pennsylvania average and is also lower than the national average. The site also has a chart that shows the number of events that happened. The top three were thunderstorm winds, floods, and hail. I would agree that these events occur the most often and sometimes they can be destructive. Flooding is usually the most impactful because I live in a valley, and effects a widespread of people.  

Lackawanna County Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.usa.com/lackawanna-county-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm

There are many actions that can be done to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in my town. The first action would be make sure my town and its people are prepared for multiple different types of natural hazards. This can be done by practicing response times, rescue training, making sure people know where to go, and have emergency items before something happens. Emergency responders also need to know what to do when a natural hazard occurs and how to handle it. After the event the area impacted needs to have a concrete plan in place to recover and rebuild in the shortest time possible. I personally can stay alert and know what may happen and know where emergency supplies are. I can also help in a time in need by helping neighbors, family, and other people that may need assistance to safety.

Module 8-Vulnerability Reduction

My hometown is Leesburg, Virginia. Leesburg is located in Northern Virginia and is about 40 minutes outside of Washington D.C. After looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I was able to see the hazards that directly affect where I live. Based on the map my area is in zone 0 for earthquakes, zone 3 for tropical cyclones, zone 2 for hailstorms, zone 0 for extratropical storms, zone 3 for tornadoes and zone 1 for wildfires. While I find this map interesting in helping determine my areas natural hazards, I do think there are some flaws. It shows my hometown is in zone 0 for extratropical storms which is very surprising considering within the past couple years and especially this year we received over 48 inches of snow. Overall I think this map is very difficult to understand which specific zone your area is in due to the lack of clarity within the map itself.

A current disaster that I found using the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ (RSOE) Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS) was a Volcano Eruption in the US state of Alaska. No one was found dead, missing or injured. My hometown will not be able to experience the same type of disaster. Though in the state of Virginia there are two extinct volcanoes, there are none in my area. A volcanic eruption cannot happen within my area because there no is no volcanic activity. The ones that are in the state of Virginia however are extinct, meaning that they have not had an eruption for over 10,000 years. The scale of this volcanic eruption relative to my hometown is huge. This volcanic eruption created an ash cloud that stretched more than 400 miles into the inside of Alaska. The town of Leesburg is 12.47 miles long that means the ash cloud was almost 32 times that of my hometown. It is difficult to determine the impact of this disaster if it were the same scale of my hometown. However, it seems as though all Leesburg residents would be effected by it, not just one set of people. In Alaska this natural hazard is affecting a lot of the air traffic within the state as the ash from the eruption is now 37,000 feet high. With a volcanic eruption everyone is vulnerable, however we have a very large community of elders within my town and I believe it would be harder for them to evacuate and withstand the effects of the air quality after the eruption. The only way we could reduce my town’s vulnerability would be to evacuate everyone as soon as possible and hope for the best.

Tornadoes are the main natural hazard for my hometown, according to USA.com. I can personally attest to this fact as it is true. While living in Virginia we had a tornado warning and had to go into our basement away from the windows for about ten minutes until the siren stopped. We live in an area with a forest in our backyard and after the tornado warning there were trees broken off and some very close to falling on the electrical telephone wires.

World Media Group. “Virginia Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” Virginia State Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes. USA.com, 2016. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

I think the actions that could be done to reduce vulnerability to the natural hazards in my town is to emphasize on what the module calls “Pre-event Preparedness.” If we could determine the natural disasters such as tornadoes further ahead of time that would allow my town and many others to be prepared and properly evacuate if necessary. This action would also allow ample time for those elders as mentioned above to be safe from any harm of the tornados. The best people to preform these actions would be meteorologists or the National Weather Service, which would be able to find out certain patterns of these tornados or natural hazards. As a resident of Leesburg I can do my best to become aware of the weather changes that occur in my hometown. I would also do my best to be apart of the emergency response in order to help educe harm.

Hazards in my Hometown – Kyle Hoke

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my hometown of East Stroudsburg in Northeast Pennsylvania is vulnerable to a few different natural hazards. My town is in a moderate risk zone for cyclones, or hurricanes, but like discussed in the module, Hurricane Sandy affected a lot of the northeast. It also appears that my town is in a moderate zone for Tornado frequency. These metrological hazards involve lots of wind, which can be damaging to my town, since there a lot of trees that can fall on houses, cars, or even people. The people that live in the woods would be most at risk, since their homes and possessions are surrounded by trees. The map is tough to read since it shows the whole world. It is difficult to pinpoint how a hazard will affect the exact spot of my hometown


On the interactive map of hazards, I chose to look at Biological Hazard in Tuscany, Italy. It was a meningitis outbreak that occurred on March 5th and left 4 people dead. My hometown can definitely experience this same type of disaster. The risk is relatively high, as there is a pharmaceutical company that creates vaccines for diseases in our town. There is no doubt samples of many diseases in those labs that have the potential to cause an outbreak. This hazard was stated as Tuscany-wide, meaning it was throughout the entire state in Italy. Italy is developed just like Pennsylvania, and also includes a lot of countryside. So like it states in the module we can look at how they dealt with this hazard, and relate it to the scale of Northeast Pennsylvania in the case of a biological hazard. I think the outbreak would cause more deaths due to the population being more dense in my hometown than throughout the state of Tuscany. There are definitely people that could be more affected than others. Those who are wealthy enough to afford good healthcare and hospital stays will be more likely to survive an outbreak. There are also those that may not be wealthy, but live far away from people on farms. They may be able to stay secluded and essentially quarantine themselves from others with a disease.

Vulnerability Reduction Carmela Madrigal-Lua

1.My hometown is Abbottstown, Pennsylvania. I felt that it was difficult trying to locate the exact point on the map since it is such a big scale. I would have to say that since my town is small it does not experience many natural hazards or disasters. Looking at the maps perspective I would say that were at a level zone of zero for earthquakes and extratropical. It also said that for a wildfire it is level one, for tornadoes it is a level two, and it scored a much higher zone for hailstorms it was a level three. I would say that I am not sure how accurate these locations really are because I don’t have an actual exact location. The levels that it ranked my town seem to be accurate. Another thing is during a winter storm my town can expect to get a lot of hailstorms which does occur. Overall, I think that this task would be easier if there was a better system to view a better accuracy of the results.

2. From visiting, The Hungarian National Association web site, I would focus on the power outage. This took place on April 1, 2016 at 3:42 am in the state of Kentucky, Calloway County. The cause of the power outage was due to serve weather. There were 15,000 people affected because of this incident. Although no one was injured and there were no casualties. I can say that my hometown could experience the same kind of weather disaster. The reason why is that power outage is common to occur when there is a server weather and it has happened in the past. I think that most of the times that this has happened it has not lasted long because they get to the issue and resolve it as soon as possible. The reason I believe it is something that is handled quick and fast is because of the size of my town which is small. Although I know that if this were to happen elsewhere like a town which is 30 mins away from me called York it would take a longer time since it is a bigger populated area. This kind of disaster would affect everyone differently because in my neighborhood everyone lives in single homes. I think that the only thing once can do for cases like these is have the generator in case that one of the power outages are very severe that we go days without power.

3. From my personal experience, I have been living in the sam place for about 8 years now. I can say that there are not many natural hazards or disasters that occur. The only one time I can recall is when it rained and hail stormed at the same time. I was driving home from my classes and I misjudged how bad the roads really were. As I arrived home the driveway seemed fine to walk on until I slipped and I cut my temple. Once in a while when it rains there will be flooded, but other than that I can’t really recall other forms of natural disasters.

4. Ever since that incident, I learned to be more alert. I think that we misjudge what we see and think it is still safe. I think that it is a harder task to know how bad it really is if it is dark outside which was the case for me. Something that I should have done differently was calling my parents to ask them how the weather was before I headed it. Another thing is it is always important to check the weather forecast because you can prevent incidents like mine. In order to prevent situations like these is that my town should add more night lighting around my neighborhood for better visualization. The best person that would be able to perform this task would be by going to my borough and placing a request. In conclusion, I think that I could play my part in collecting signatures from my town to make this happen.

Vulnerability Reduction Peter Han

1.In my hometown of Niles Michigan, we can experience zone 4 hailstorms, zone 3 tornados, zone 0 earthquakes, and low wildfires. Niles is in the southwest corner of Michigan, which is very close to where a large number of tornados hit every year. It is gets very cold in the winter and hailstorms can happen as shown on the map. In the 12 years that I have lived in this area, we have had many tornado warnings as well as small tornados that have hit nearby as well as hailstorms but neither of these have caused much damage or been very dangerous. This map is a little hard to read as it was challenging to pin point exactly where my hometown was as it was on the border of the different natural disasters and their zones.

2. In Ovalle, Chile, they experienced an earthquake at 2:40 AM on April 1st. This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.5, which caused many things to shake. People inside of their houses could feel shaking as well as pictures, dishes or other objects being thrown off walls or spilled out of cabinets. My hometown can get earthquakes but they are very rare and minor. Therefore it is not at a very big risk of disaster. This earthquake was rated a 4 out of 12 on the Mercalli Scale, which measures the intensity of the earthquake. This earthquake was not very strong and did not cause much damage, but it may cause more if it were to hit my hometown as we do not have earthquakes very often and would not be as prepared. Especially since my hometown is 5 times smaller than Ovalle. Those with bigger homes or more stable homes are less likely to be damaged by an earthquake, while those who do not have as much money and cannot build as nice of homes may be more in danger if an earthquake were to strike.

3. Niles is most likely to experience tornados. As I said in my answer to number 1, I have experienced many tornado warnings and a few tornados near my town but never one too close to cause harm or put me in danger. Tornados are the most extreme natural disaster that my hometown can face but the most popular are thunderstorm winds and hail according to usa.com. Last year, I was trying to drive home from my friend’s house, but because of the high winds and rain, it was highly advised that everyone stay inside and not drive. There have been many situations like this where the high winds and rain could be dangerous if you get stuck in the wrong place and the wrong time.

4. Being prepared can greatly decrease the vulnerability to natural disasters. Many hailstorms and thunderstorms can be predicted in advance and then can allow people to be prepared for them. Sending out emergency alerts in advance will allow people to buy any items they need as well as knowing when to stay off the roads and stay inside a stable building. Tornados on the other hand, can be very hard to predict in advance. However, because they are common in my area, families can stock up in advance. Also, building tornado shelters in the case of a surprise tornado. News reporters could help get the word out if heavy rain storms are approaching. Also, the mayor could help tell people to always be prepared and stocked up in case of these emergencies. Being prepared for natural disasters and being educated on them will allow my hometown to reduce the amount of damage natural disasters cause.



Module 8- Vulnerability Reduction

  1. I am from Wyomissing, PA, which is about an hour west of Philadelphia. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where many natural hazards do not happen very frequently. I live in Zone 0 for earthquakes; volcanoes, tsunamis and storm surges, and iceberg drifts are not present in my area; I do not live in an area of high climate impacts. There is a slight risk of tropical cyclones where I live because we are not far from the eastern border of the United States. Where I live, hailstorms are frequent; the map puts us in zone 4 or 5. We are located in zone 2-3 for winter storms, zone 2 for tornados, and zone 1 for wildfires. The Nathan map was helpful, and very interesting to look at, but at times it was hard to decipher which zone my town was in. It would have been easier to look at if I could have zoomed into my state to get a better look.
  2. The disaster I chose was a volcano eruption in Mexico on March 31st. The volcano affected States of Puebla, Mexico, and Morelos, and residents are being told to avoid the area. Falling ash may affect nearby towns, and people may have to evacuate if it gets worse. The volcano is only 50 miles southeast of Mexico City. My hometown will not experience this type of natural disaster because there are no volcanoes anywhere near where I live. While the event did not affect many people because of its location, it was still very dangerous. The eruption reached a height of 11,482 feet, and the volcano is one of the country’s most active volcanoes.                 If a volcano erupted in Pennsylvania, I think it would cause a lot more damage than where it did in Mexico. The area around the volcano is Mexico is not too populated, because people are aware that the volcano is active. Pennsylvania is too populate that if a volcano were to just randomly erupt, people would definitely be affected by it.                                                                                                                      People in Mexico are probably much more educated on volcanoes than people in Pennsylvania because they live near them and need to be aware of the possibility of eruption. In Mexico they are more prepared for volcanoes, as we do not have any volcanoes in Pennsylvania. If a volcano popped out of the ground and erupted, no one in Pennsylvania would be prepared, and they may not even be educated enough on volcanoes to know how to act. The volcano would also cause a lot of damage because of the amount of money that people in Pennsylvania have compare to the amount of money people in Mexico have. People in Mexico also know not to build expensive house or have their valuables near the volcano because they would lose everything as soon as the volcano erupted. If we did not know there was a volcano in Pennsylvania and it suddenly erupted, everyone would lose their valuables.                                                                                                                            To decrease vulnerability of volcanoes, people near volcanoes need to be educated on the effects of a volcano. They need to be prepared to get up and leave if a volcano is suspected to erupt, and they also need to keep all of their valuables far from the volcano. People in the area need to know the severity of the volcano and how likely it is to erupt. If there was a volcano is Pennsylvania, people would have to live far enough from the volcano as to not be affected. There would also have to be emergency response teams available just in case of eruption.
  3. I chose to specifically look at hail storms in Pennsylvania because they are one of the most frequent natural hazards that affects my hometown. In May 2014, a hail storm occurred in my hometown, Wyomissing, PA, with hail larger than golf balls. The amount of damage was more severe than other storms that had occurred in the city before, including flooding and heavy snowstorms (Joas, 2014). Vehicles and buildings were damaged, but luckily there were no serious injuries (Joas, 2014). Since Pennsylvania is not usually affected by many natural hazards or sever natural hazards such as tornadoes, tsunamis, great amounts of flooding, or large hurricanes, this storm definitely came as a surprise to the people of my hometown. To say we were unprepared is by far an understatement.
    1. Joas, J. (2014, May 23). Pennsylvania Insurance Department Works to Help             Victims of Hailstorm. Retrieved from http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-berks/Local/pennsylvania-insurance-department-works-to-help-victims-of-hailstorm/26143438.
  4. While my hometown does not experience many natural hazards, it is definitely important to decrease vulnerability in any ways we can, just to be safe. To decrease vulnerability, people in my hometown should be educated on all natural hazards that could possibly take place there. They should be given information on how to come up with a plan in case of emergency and practice these plans ahead of time. People should also be told to evacuate ahead of time if the hazard may cause a lot of damage. The best way to prepare people for natural hazards is to educate them from a young age in schools and keep them updated through the news and other alerts. If children are taught about any type of hazard when they are young, they will know how to act if it should ever occur. They should be given examples of how to keep themselves safe in all situation. People should also be constantly updated on the news, by radio, and by telephone if a natural hazard is likely to occur in their area. I can prepare my friends and family for natural hazards ahead of time by helping to educate them, and I can also make a plan for my family to follow in case of emergency. I should also have food and water prepared that I have access to in an emergency.

Module 8 – Natural Disasters

According to the Nathan World Map, the region I am located in is subject to multiple natural hazard. To start, my town is subject to an increase in heavy rain. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed how much the precipitation has increased. In the summertime, the heavy rainfall brings a deep fog that can block one’s view in an extreme way. In the winter, the heavy precipitation comes with more snow and ice storms. Due to the high level of precipitation, there is also a higher chance that my region will get hail storms as well. This is also stated on the Nathan World Map. With high precipitation comes high winds and my area is also more subject to tornadoes. This map has helped me identify the hazards in my area accurately and it has helped me see the increasing trend of the weather patterns.

In my hometown, there is no possible way for a volcano to erupt. There are no volcanoes around to cause harm to my town. If this disaster were to hit my hometown, in the middle of the town, there would be thousands of students and residents misplaced. The scale of the disaster is too big for my town to handle, especially if they are not trained in how to handle it. Since the ashes ruin the buildings in a certain radius, if this were to happen in my town, all of the buildings would be ruined. When looking at the town that it actually happened in, a few schools were damaged and the students were placed in other schools for the time being. If this were to happen at the same scale in my town, then there would be less people to find a place for. The population in my town is closely condensed. If something that spreads quickly were to happen then a lot of people would be impacted. Some people would be more subject to damage than other. Some people live in town houses that are connected to one another so that puts them at a greater risk for spreading the damage to one another. A way to prevent this, is to stop building houses so close together.

In my personal experience from living in my hometown for all of my life, there has been many times that the level of precipitation has been a hazard to the people in the town. There was one situation that I will never forget. When I first got my learners permit to drive when I was in high school, there was a night that I was driving home from work with my mom. On this night, there was a rain that was so heavy I could not see more than 5 feet in front of my car. In this particular situation I was on a windy back road and I had to slow down to below 5 miles per hour to be able to safely drive. There was no shoulder to pull over on and if I had completely stopped in the middle of the road someone would have crashed into me.

In order to prepare for the possibility to driving during heavy rains, there should be shoulders added to different back roads so the cars on the road have the option to safely pull over without driving into the grass. In order to solve this problem, more tax dollars can go to adding these to the roads. Once the state has money to do construction on roads, they can send employees out to create these shoulders to add more safety to the roads that run through the town. In order to get this done, I can get the information out to the people in town and to the state company that is in charge of all of the roads to get this hazard fixed.



Module 8- Natural Hazards

  1. My hometown of Wyckoff, NJ was really difficult to pinpoint on the map because the scale is very large. The color code is difficult to identify along with closely seeing the state of New Jersey and my town on this map. But really looking into the Nathan World map of natural disasters, I was able to tell that my hometown has a medium-low risk of winter storms, along with a low risk of wildfires and a medium risk of encountering tornado and hail storms. This map would be better suited for this assignment if, we were focusing on areas of the world rather than focusing on our individual hometown.
  2. The disaster that I chose is a biological hazard in Angola, Africa that started on February 16th, 2016 at 3:12 am. There is a yellow fever outbreak in Angola, which has caused 168 people to die, and 1,132 people infected. Unfortunately, infected mosquitos transmit the viral hemorrhagic disease. My hometown of Wyckoff, NJ has a very rare chance of experiencing yellow fever because unlike Africa, my area is not exposed to mosquitos quite often. The only times we are exposed to mosquitos are during the hot summer months of June, July, and August. With the amount of hospitals in my area I would think that fewer people would be affected from this disease before it spread around, unlike in Angola. Angola, Africa has a population of 21.27 million people where Wyckoff, NJ has a population of about 17,000 people, which if the disease affected 1,132 people in my area, it would cause more damage. Different people and areas of the world are more vulnerable due to money and where they live. In my town, the wealthier people are more protected because they have more resources to protect them from the disease where, the less wealthy are more vulnerable because they don’t have the proper protection and resources. My town could improve its vulnerability of this disease by being more educated about the severity of yellow fever and being aware of the danger of mosquitoes.
  3. Living in Wyckoff, NJ I’ve had my experiences with heavy rain storms causing power outages, falling trees, and heavy water outside and sometimes seeing it in my own or my friends homes. With New Jersey being at significant risk of rainstorms, it explains the hazard that Wyckoff faces throughout the year. From the map below, you can see that the Township of Wyckoff is at risk for rainstorms along with a bunch of other neighboring towns surrounding the area. When hurricane Sandy hit a few years ago, I experienced power outage along with seeing the damage that it caused the roads, houses, and cars.


  4. To fix this issue in my hometown, I believe that first the town should trim trees or cut down trees that are in dangerous shape and causing harm to the town. This would help to protect the community along with power issues that might be caused by strong winds or heavy rain. The best people to perform these actions are the department of public works. They can take steps to ensure a safer and cleaner environment for the whole community. As a member of the community of Wyckoff, I can take action in reducing vulnerability to natural hazards in my town by increasing my education on disasters that are going to occur in my area. By increasing my knowledge about disasters, I can be ready to take action if these disasters occur. I can also educate my friends and family so, they are prepared as well.

Easton’s Natural Hazards

My hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania does not seem to face too many natural hazards, according to my experience. Even the maps show that it is a Zone 0 for earthquakes. The same applies for tropical storms, for which wind speeds fall into Zone 0 and into Zone 1. Another natural hazard that the map does not show as a common issue in the city is wildfires- Zone 1 (Low). Interestingly though, the ocean closely to the right of the city is around Zone 2 and 3 and it is a Zone 2 to 3 for hailstorms as well. Easton is also more likely to get tornadoes as it lies in Zone 3 on the map showing frequency and intensity of tornadoes. The Nathan map is effective in determining relevant storms. Easton area indeed rarely experiences earthquakes, wildfires, and extremely fast winds; it does experience hailstorms and tornadoes though.

On April 1, there was a wildfire in Cherokee National Forest, possibly started by humans. A risk is that the fire may be small, but can spread fast and far. This fire spread to 150 acres, which can be difficult to manage. In Easton, an area known for its woody lands, the fire would easily spread. Since the area is not prone to wildfires, the wildlife has not evolved yet. Often, trees will adapt through serotinous cones, triangular shape, and so on, but Easton trees have not adopted these traits. This means it would be harder for Easton to recover from the incident. Another issue is the close population throughout the city with houses built closely together, near forests and stores. If the fire spread, it would spread throughout a civilization area, unlike the Cherokee Forest which is not as inhabited by humans. It would harm many people who would not be prepared for such an event because of the lack of experience with this natural hazard. Without the experience and preparations, the fire would not be as easily managed. The Cherokee event resulted in 0 casualties, but this would not be the case for Easton. The vulnerability in Easton would be a human starting a fire; preventing that can keep the area in a low zone of wildfires.

Many large storms that Easton faces is often winter storms or floods (caused by winter storms or rain in the summer). We get feet of snow some winter days, when roads become icy and slippery. Later, the melted snow adds to the rising water levels. Recently, we have had more tornadoes and tornado warnings closer to home, which is still rare despite what Nathan’s map says. Two of the most surprising events were the small earthquake (one of the first in a long time) and Hurricane Sandy. The latter resulted in flooding and power outages; the power outages were an issue since it was cold at the time. USA.com includes thunderstorm winds as a common weather extreme with a count of 2,275 events from 1950 to 2010.

Preparedness and post-event recovery reduce vulnerability to natural hazards (Module 8). Many storms common in Easton can be predicted beforehand; hailstorms are projected way ahead, but tornadoes may be projected with less time to prepare. This allows citizens to buy emergency items like food, water, first aid kit. Since tornadoes are common, stocking these items at all times is a good idea to manage with less projection time. My experience shows that storms happen close to each other, timeline wise. That’s why we should be fast in post-event recovery. Thus, value time to repair basements and roofs to provide in times of tornadoes and winter storms; underground powerlines are helpful according to my experience during Hurricane Sandy. Maybe even optimize safety in non-disaster times. It is best to take action yourself to assure your safety; it’s each individual’s responsibility to evaluate a house and preparation for natural hazards.

Vulnerability Reduction: Los Angeles

  1. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, Los Angeles is located in an area at risk of earthquakes. It shows that it falls under Zone 3 and 4 indicating that the probable maximum intensity is very high. This map is not very helpful when you are trying to look at specific cities, but it definitely gives you information on a larger scale. According to UNEP’s Global Risk Data Platform, Los Angeles has had relatively high peak ground acceleration and Spectral acceleration. Los Angeles also has over $600 million Multi-hazard average annual loss.
  2. According to the RSOE and EDIS, there is an Earthquake happening in Shingu, Japan at a 6.0 magnitude. This does not necessarily mean people will die, there is just damage to poorly built buildings and furniture is visibly moving. Los Angeles can definitely experience this type of event because we are located along the San Andreas Fault. It seems that Shingu, Japan has built their buildings to withstand earthquakes of this magnitude and I know Los Angeles has made an effort to do this as well. So, if we were to experience a 6.0 Earthquake I am sure most of our buildings could withstand it. However, since we are due for a very big earthquake the likelihood that a 6.0 earthquake would cause an aftershock with an bigger magnitude is possible. Also since Earthquakes can cause Tsunamis, Los Angeles could potentially deal with a second disaster because it is along the coast. Other than alerting people ahead of time, the only other way we could decrease vulnerability from a Tsunami is by evacuating. When it comes to Earthquakes, we must keep our infrastructure up to date and educate people on what to do when it happens.
  3. I have been in many earthquakes due to growing up in Los Angeles, however, I have not experienced an earthquake as large as a 6.0. I know that in the next decade we are supposed to experience a large earthquake along the San Andreas Fault. In school we have earthquake drills and I have taken courses at the Red Cross for earthquake awareness. Since southern California also experiences droughts it supposedly increases the friction along the fault line which causes it to build up even more tension.
  4. In order to decrease vulnerability in Los Angeles I believe we should continue to educate in schools about what to do when in an earthquake and the importance of storing emergency supplies. Elementary and High School teachers are capable of educating kids and organizations like the Red Cross can continue to offer courses as well. My role is to make sure earthquake awareness is a conversation that is held with my family and friends.

Natural Hazard Vulnerability

  1. Being from Doylestown Pennsylvania, I am less susceptible to extreme natural hazards. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I am in zone 0 for Earthquakes, zone 1 for hailstorms, zone 1 for winter storms, zone 1 for wildfires, and have no threat of volcanoes. The only major threat I see for Doylestown is that the coast, which is about 90 minutes away, is vulnerable to zone 4 tropical cyclones. This makes sense since Doylestown was affected by Hurricane Sandy, and experienced prolonged power outages. As for how well suited the map is, I think it does a good job indicating certain risks for certain areas. It is clear to read, however, it would be clearer with the ability to zoom in and focus on one particular area.
  2. On March 31st at 3:25AM, Tulsa, Oklahoma experienced multiple tornado touchdowns. There has been reports of lofted debris, structural damages, trees down, and nine reported injuries. Transportation has been stalled due to closed roads. According to the Nathan World Map, my area appears to be in zone 3 for tornadoes, and Tulsa falls in zone 4. It surprised me that the entire East Coast is in zone 3 since I have never seen a Tornado in my life time, or even heard of one occurring near me. Despite this, it appears that my area is vulnerable to a similar hazard experienced in Tulsa. The damage from this event has been classified as “medium.” The center of the tornado was just minutes from the city of Tulsa, an urban area much larger and more built-up than Doylestown. Had a tornado of similar qualities touched down in Doylestown, it would face less structural damage due to the size difference of the towns. In retrospect, Tulsa is a city and Doylestown is a small town, so Tulsa would experience a more costlier and laborious recovery due to the difference in population size and structural landscape. However, since Doylestown rarely experiences Tornadoes, our structures are probably less resilient to withstand a tornado. Population wise, elderly and children would be more at risk due to their lack of mobility and/or education. In order to reduce vulnerability in Doylestown’s residential areas, for example, it would be productive to make sure each house has a tornado shelter. For example, every house should have a safe and secure basement.
  3. The most severe natural hazards that Doylestown has experienced are the occasional hurricanes. Doylestown is relatively close to the coast, and therefore experiences impacts of these coastal storms. The earliest, and arguably most severe, happened when I was just three years old. Hurricane Floyd struck the North East and caused major flooding in Doylestown. According to my mom, both of my older brothers were sent to school the day of the storm. My mother ended up driving in torrential rain to pick my eldest brother up, and my other brother took the bus home as usual. The bus ended up being stalled due to flooding, and my brother was stuck on the bus until my dad braved the storm to pick him up as well. Once they got home, they noticed our basement had completely flooded. While I don’t remember most details of this storm, I do remember walking down the stairs and seeing a basement completely under water. Every year during hurricane season there is always a storm that poses a threat, but typically ends up simply being a rainy day. The next two hurricanes that I remember being substantial were Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. I remember Irene being incredibly windy, and Doylestown was urged to sleep away from windows in case of glass shattering. We ended up not experiencing too much damage, just some torn shingles from our roof. Hurricane Sandy, however, was more problematic. Doylestown was without power for over three days, and school was canceled for about a week. Trees were down, roads were closed, unfortunately we even experienced some fatalities. It appears that hurricanes pose a serious threat to Doylestown. (Resource list: My mother’s recollection of Hurricane Floyd and my own experience.)
  4. Given that Doylestown is vulnerable to hurricanes, it is crucial that our homes and structures can withstand heavy winds and flooding. Strong windows help provide safety from fast winds and sump pumps prevent basement flooding. If there is potential for a serious hurricane to strike, cancel school and don’t leave kids stranded on school buses. Educate those living near rivers the risk they face once water levels rise. Encourage people to seek shelter once a storm is coming and not to drive once it hits. Be mindful of trees that have potential to fall during strong winds. The borough of Doylestown needs to be effective in informing the residents when a storm is coming and how severe it will be. As for myself, I will make sure myself and my loved ones are safe, and help others in need during recovery.

Lesson 8

A natural hazard is an unusual event that occurs naturally and causes harm.  Natural hazards identified on the Nathan map that my city of Williamsport faces include intense hailstorms and possible increase in heavy rain.  This map has both positives and negatives.  The scale of this map is large and thus allows the viewer to see the worldview of natural hazards but it fails to be a great source for local viewing.  For example, flooding may be a natural hazard in a local valley but the map fails to mention that.

On the EDIS map, what caught my eye was the biological hazard in Tuscany, Italy.  It states that four people have died and the biohazard level is high due to an outbreak of meningococcal meningitis C.  It is very possible that the city of Williamsport experience a biological hazard similar to this one in Italy.  Our vulnerability is higher than some because the city is poor and does not have an average high education rate.  Thankfully we are still in the United States so the size of a biological hazard can be limited versus biological hazards that occur in other parts of the United States due to the medicine and resources we have available.  The scale of the event is small.  While Tuscany, Italy is a larger area than Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the state of Pennsylvania is more populous than Tuscany, Italy.  There are only four people affected in Italy which is possible in Pennsylvania and should be about four times as much in Pennsylvania based on the population difference.    Some people in my hometown would be less vulnerable because of the distance to each other.  This disease spreads via human fluids, including spit, and most of our town is spread out.  Those that do use the public transit may be more vulnerable as well as those that live in apartment buildings in close proximity.  To reduce the vulnerability, one would educate the public on symptoms and on personal hygiene and in the case of an outbreak, close down schools in the area so that it can be contained and treated.

Viewing Lycoming County’s website shows that Williamsport is most likely to be affected by floods.  Many of the areas lie near the Susquehanna River and its’ off branches and are prone to flooding (Schnitzlein, n.d.).  This is the same experience I had in the area in the fall of 2012 when the river flooded and left me stranded in a retail location overnight.  While that was a large flood which is rather rare, regular flooding does occur quite often in the area and is the most common natural hazard to affect the area.

To help reduce the vulnerability, the area needs an even more organized flood preparation plan.  As of the fall of 2012, there were not enough resources to help people stranded in the area.  People in flood areas have to have a plan as to where to go and like the hurricane planning community engagement seen in Sarasota County, Florida, local neighborhoods should have annual meetings in which people learn how to react and what to do in such a situation.  The government should also keep regular tabulations on citizen movement so they know what parts of the city are busiest at what times of the day in case evacuation is needed.  Even more importantly, high risk areas should not be allowed to be developed like they were until a few days ago.  The government workers and emergency crews are the best people to handle it but I can help assist with community involvement.


Schnitzlein, Josh. N.d. “Hazard Mitigation.”  Lycoming County. http://www.lyco.org/Departments/PlanningandCommunityDevelopment/HazardMitigation.aspx

Vulnerability Reduction: Kelsey Somers

  1. My hometown is Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Pottsville is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I found the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards very interesting to survey. Using the Nathan World Map, the map showed that Pottsville is in zone 0 for Earthquakes, zone 2 for hailstorms, zone 2 for winter storms, zone 3 for tornados, and zone 1 for wildfires. Also, my area is very susceptible for increase in heavy rain shown in the first map. I would have to disagree with the tornado rankings because my hometown does not experience tornados. It’s rare we experience a tornado, maybe once every four to five years. I do agree with the level of rankings for hailstorms and winter storms which we do experience. Overall, it was hard to exactly tell what the weather is like for a specific town. I tried to zoom in on the map, but after zooming in the map became blurry and hard to read. 
  2. From the Hungarian National Association of RSOE and EDIS map, the disaster I chose is a biological hazard in Angola, Africa which started on February 16th 2016, at 3:12 AM. The biohazard level is a high of 3-4. There is a yellow fever outbreak and unfortunately 168 people are dead and 1,132 people are infected. It is the first epidemic of the disease to hit the country in 30 years. There is no specific treatment for the viral hemorrhagic disease which is transmitted by infected mosquitos. Vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever. There is a very rare chance for my hometown to experience yellow fever. My hometown is not exposed to mosquitos all year round unlike Africa. We’ll experience mosquitos in the summer especially if it’s hot. My town is less vulnerable because we’re much smaller than Angola.  As I stated before there at already 1,132 people infected and my hometowns population is approximately 4,500. Angola’s population is much larger with approximately 21.47 million people. Therefore, most of the population in my hometown would be infected. One way to lower vulnerability for this type of biological hazard would be to take precautions for disease outbreak such as vaccinations and be educated on the severity of yellow fever.
  3. When I searched for natural hazards in Pottsville PA, not many sources came up. My hometown earthquake index is 0.09 (“Pottsville”). This earthquake index is ranked #846 in Pennsylvania. According to USA.com, the chance of earthquake or tornado damage in Pottsville is about the same as Pennsylvania average and is much lower than the national average (“Pottsville”). Pottsville is at a zero risk for volcanoes. A risk for a tornado is 115.81 (“Pottsville”).  According to the source, in 1992, Schuylkill County (where Pottsville is) was affected by a tornado that had a distance of 17.8 miles and a property damage of 2.5M (“Pottsville”). Two people were injured from that tornado in 1992. I was not born to witness this tornado, but my parents do remember it.
  4. There are several actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability in my town. We need to be aware of potential issues that can happen and be properly prepared. Also, being educated can help avoid natural hazards from happening. Pottsville can experience severe rain and winter storms. To reduce the effects of these disasters we can keep people off of the roads besides emergency vehicles. If a natural hazard type of event is going to occur, stock up on items that you and your family needs to keep you nourished and safe. What I can do is watch the local news and be well prepared for natural disasters approaching. Being prepared is the most important.

Source for #3:

“Pottsville, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://www.usa.com/pottsville-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm>.

Natural Hazards

1.) My hometown is Williamsport, PA which is only about an hour from State College. Located in the Northeast of the US its pretty clear that the Northeast in general has a pretty mild intensity of natural hazards. Tropical cyclones and earthquakes aren’t even relevant and for other natural hazards it remains in the low zones. For example, for wildfires and extratropical storms its shown as being in zone 1, and for hail storms and tornadoes its a zone 2. I think the NATHAN map is pretty accurate in illustrating natural hazards in regions. I can say that for Williamsport and pretty much all of Pennsylvania, the map is accurate in the sense that we face low degrees of natural hazards and mainly get the aftermaths of natural hazards from other regions such as hurricanes which come at a much lower degree for us in comparison to more vulnerable regions.

2.)The natural hazard I would like to focus on is considered a biological hazard in the city of Beijing, China. More specifically there has been an outbreak of yellow fever and has been confirmed to have infected three people so far. My hometown could absolutely face this kind of hazard. Being that it is biological and disease related, geography really plays no part and any town could become infected. I would say that some cities are more vulnerable to this type of hazard than others. Beijing being that it is a country capital, a high tourist place, and just a place in general where a lot of people are traveling through makes it much more vulnerable than others as a high population of people coming in and out increases the risk of spreading and bringing in diseases. My town is less vulnerable as it is much much smaller than Beijing and isn’t a tourist trap, or a place where a lot of people travel through. However it is still vulnerable to an infectious disease breakout due to potential travelers but not as vulnerable as say NYC or Philly.If we consider the scale of the event, only three people so far have been infected, and Beijing has a very high population of people (approx 11.5 million). So 3 out of 11 million people really doesn’t seem like a major hazard. However if you scale this problem down to Williamsport which roughly has 30,000 people the hazard becomes much larger and is at risk for effecting a greater percentage of the total population of the city.Different people in Williamsport definitely have different levels of vulnerability. First off the geography of different people plays a huge part. Although Williamsport is a city, it is widely spread out consisting of a main downtown/city, suburban areas, and very rural areas. Those who live in the city and suburban areas are generally going to have more contact with people on a daily basis, thus increasing their risk of infection than people who live way out in the country. Socioeconomic status also plays a huge part. People of the lower class are not going to be able to afford precautions like those of the middle and upper classes such as staying home from work, vaccinations ect. For diseases like yellow fever, vaccinations do exist, but without health insurance its going to be very hard for certain people to get them making them more vulnerable. One way to lower vulnerability for this type of biological hazard would be to take precautions for disease outbreak. Educational classes could be offered to educate the community on how to decrease the risks of spreading disease and also how to personally prevent it. If a disease outbreak did begin, health clinics could offer free vaccines to people in need similar to the method of free flu vaccines offered yearly.

3.) As I mentioned above, Williamsport is not in a region of high vulnerability for natural hazards. In fact when I searched this the first thing that came up was an article ranking cities for natural hazards and Williamsport being on the list of lowest risk. Through my experience I have never witnessed a natural hazard in my town. Sure we’ve had big snow storms or small tornadoes, but never anything harmful enough to be a hazard.

Resource: CBS News Features Sperling’s Natural Hazards Ranking. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.bertsperling.com/2013/06/18/cbs-news-features-sperlings-natural-hazards-ranking/

4.) Although Williamsport is not a common place for natural hazards, I believe education is truly the key to lowering vulnerability. The more educated people of a community are the safer they feel and more prepared they are in hazard or disaster did strike. People of higher power and authority such as mayors, representatives ect should be the ones taking charge and delivering these methods. People are going to listen more if someone they respect is the one educating. Personally, I have learned a lot from this module and although I am not a politician I can certainly educate the people around me and hope they keep spreading awareness.

Vulnerability Reduction

My town of Grove City is a Zone 0 in Earthquakes. It is likely to increase in heavy rainfall with changes in the climate. It is a Zone 4 in hailstorms. Zone 1 in winter storms. Zone 2 in tornadoes.  Zone 1 for wildfires. Overall I think this map is pretty interesting but I also think it is kind of a common sense tool.  Where I live everything is pretty standard, now we will get the occasional hail storm but I don’t know if it deserves a zone 4 rating.  I do like how it mentions the heavy rainfall because I have noticed growing up it seems like definitely and increase in raining days especially heavy rain.  My father owns a landscape company so we watch the weather very closely and a rainy day is basically a lost day for most jobs we do.  Again I think this map is interesting but it only really looks at broad trends maybe not ones specific to your town. For instance search the Johnstown flood, the destruction of a town because a dam failed during a bad storm.

For my natural Disaster I selected a power outage in Leesburg Virgina.  Without a doubt my town can experience this as I have probably lived through about thirty of them in my life.  My town is susceptible to  power outages because we are a well developed town but we still have a majority of our power lines above ground. combined that my town is in a very wooded part of western PA and the high winds we face during summer storms, hail, and heavy snowfall in the winter it is easy for trees to fall and damage power lines.  My town is small so generally if my power goes out I can bet that a major of my friends are experiencing the same issue.  This current power outage is affecting essentially two towns in Virginia and about 23,000 people so it a much larger scale than my town of 8,500 people.  For us the power outages a generally not that big of a deal because my family is fairly well off so we always have plenty of food and drink in the house, but poorer people might not and if all the food they could afford that week were to spoil due to lack of power they could really be in trouble.  One way we are more vulnerable than the people in town is that we have an electric pump on our well so if the power goes out we have no water.  People in town would still have water because the water plant would run on backup generators until power was restored.  I think the greatest reduction to our vulnerability to such disasters would be too bury our power lines in our community.  This though expensive would eliminate the opportunity for trees to fall and damage power lines.

Another natural Disaster that my town cold possibly face is extreme snowfall that could make travel impossible.  Now I live about 40 miles south of Lake Erie so we generally don’t get the heavy heavy Lake effect snow that you see in places like Erie and Buffalo.  Every once in awhile though we do get an extremely strong blowing down from the north we generally refer to it as a nor’easter that can generate a ton of snow, sometimes as much as 24-36 inches or more! This can make travel almost impossible, shutting down schools, government offices, stores, and other businesses.  These shut downs can create tremendous economic losses through loss of Production. One of the greatest of these storms happened in march of 1993.  My parents like to joke that I wasn’t planned they were just really bored while being snowed in.  I ended up being born in December of 1993 so I think they are serious.

A Look Back At The Blizzard Of 1993

I think the main thing about my towns vulnerability is that we essentially have our guts of our town out in the open.  It would make much sense to have your veins on the outside of your body so I think our easiest solution is to bury them and make them less susceptible to the outside elements as they seem to be what fails most often.  I believe our burrough and surrounding townships should be the ones to foot the bill and perform this task.  That’s why I believe we pay tax dollars so they can build and protect our public utilities.  For my I think I just need to be more prepared. most of our natural disasters in my area involve losing power or being stuck inside.  Having extra food and bottled water goes a long way when you are stuck inside.  Also investing in a generator for my house so we could continue to use our well pump would help a lot too.  our town does a great job in getting streets cleared as fast as possible when we get heavy snow.  We have a huge fleet of plow trucks.  Power companies also do a good job of restoring power. I think in large part because it is such a small town they don’t have to search for the issue very long.

Module 8- Douglas Apple

I live in Hatfield PA, which is an hour north of Philadelphia. I found that my town is at medium risk for tropic cyclones, low risk for hailstorms, and medium risk for winter storms. I think these are all very accurate representations of my county. As for Tornados, we are in Zone 2 and I have never witnessed a tornado in my area. I think Zone 1 would be more appropriate because we have had some warnings for Tornados in the past but none have formed. The same goes for wildfires as the map shows Hatfield as Zone 1, but I have never witnessed one before that has caused damage. One good indication that this map is accurate is that Hatfield is in the area of warmer temperatures during El Nino and that is very apparent this past summer. I think this is a very good map to look at the global patterns of natural hazards but it can be very difficult to narrow it down by state or county.

On March 31st 3:34 UTC, a wildfire broke out in the Province of Ontario, Canada. Nine people were killed and there was high damage to the area. Based on Nathan’s World Map, it shows that Hatfield is at very low risk for wildfires. In fact, I have never heard of a wildfire breaking out anywhere in my area. The reason being is because it is an urban area with very low amounts of forest, as well as wildfires most often break out in dry areas. Therefore, my hometown is not vulnerable for such hazard. The scale of the disaster is similar to my hometown. The fire broke out in Pikangikum First Nation, which has a population of 2,100 people compared to 3,000 in my hometown. The reason that scale is so important is because that will determine how many people are impacted. If a wildfire broke out in a major city (which is unlikely), there would be more fatalities then a small county. Lastly, the level of vulnerability changes in retrospect to location, age, etc. A person that lives directly next to a large forest has a higher vulnerability than someone who lives in the middle of town with no forest around them. Age is also a factor because younger generations could possibly escape faster than an elder if they had to run to save their life. Although it is not necessary in my town, to reduce the vulnerability of wildfires, a town could cut down the number of trees. This will cause other environmental issues but it will lessen the possibility of a lightning bolt striking a tree and inducing a fire. They could also inform the people about the proper precautions if a wildfire were to break out and how they could escape.

Hatfield has had 14 major disasters declared. Most notably, 5 floods, 4 storms, and 3 hurricanes top the list. The disaster that I remember most vividly was Hurricane Sandy. We were out of school for four days, the power in my house was out for a week, and my basement flooded. Since, hurricanes are very rare in this area, we only had one sump pump, but it did not work once the power went out. In the south, they would be prepared for these large storms so depending on the level of vulnerability, most often times there is a different level of preparation. Another hazard that I remember is an earthquake that occurred six years ago. I was at a waterpark with my family and we were waiting in line and the ground began to shake. Since we are not used to it, we thought nothing of it until later that evening when the news declared it was in fact a small earthquake.

“Hatfield, Pennsylvania.” (PA 19440) Profile: Population, Maps, Real Estate, Averages, Homes, Statistics, Relocation, Travel, Jobs, Hospitals, Schools, Crime, Moving, Houses, News, Sex Offenders. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

The most important strategy to protect ourselves against natural hazards is to be aware. In my town, they are not very likely so they can easily catch the people off guard. As long as everyone is informed about proper precautions, everyone should be in good shape. We now live in a world that is dominated by technology so if there is a flash flood warning, tornado warning, etc. we often get a notification to our cell phones to get inside and stay safe. One group that is very beneficial and has a strong impact is elementary schools. They are required to do a certain amount of drills throughout the school year to inform the kids what they should do if a natural hazard were to occur. For example, we would have tornado drills and all the kids would go into the hallways where there were no windows and cover our heads. This will protect from flying debris that can cause serious damage. Town officials can also give warnings days in advance if a possible hurricane is on the way to evacuate the town or any necessary precaution to keep the people safe.

Disaster Vulnerability

  1. My town of Old Forge, PA has the lower chance of seeing natural hazards. We are between zone 1 and zone 2 for hailstorms, indicating a low frequency and intensity. I know we do have hail storms once in a while due to the colder weather in the winter. We are in zone 1 regarding winter storms. This seems reasonable since our winter is only a few months and is far from the coldest area. It looks like we are in zone 2 in regard to tornados. I know my step-dad told me a story about a tornado ripping off his garage door a while ago. We are in zone 1 regarding wildfires. This, I would think is because we do have woods but we are not densely surrounded by them. I like the Nathan map for this. However, it is slightly difficult to determine where Pennsylvania is exactly.

2. I chose a volcanic eruption in Mexico. My hometown cannot experience this due to the fact that there are no volcanoes around here. They are usually located near tectonic plate boundaries and are known to be in the ring of fire, which is near the pacific. The volcanic eruption reached a height of over 2 miles. In respect to my hometown, that would consume most of it since Old Forge is only 3.5 miles large. The volcano is about 70 km away from Mexico City, which is 573 miles squared. Clearly much larger than Old Forge. If this volcanic eruption were to happened at the same scale in my hometown, it would be demolished. A big thing in my hometown that would contribute to vulnerability would be wealth. We have a small area of project housing and we also have a lot of higher end developments. If a disaster happened, the wealthy would have more resources but they would end up with more monetary issues due to the amount of money they would have lost if the disaster took their home and their possessions. The poor lose less in monetary value but they may suffer in terms of sickness. If a disaster happened, they may not have the means to get medical attention or they may not be physically capable to endure the disaster. There are a lot of children in Old Forge which would also be a vulnerability. Children cannot endure a disaster on their own, they need support from older friends or family members. A way to reduce the vulnerability is to see the disaster coming before it happens with meteorology. When we see this we can evacuate possibly or make sure that our emergency response teams are prepared. We could also look to the future and prepare for disasters such as using building materials that can withstand certain potential disasters.

3. Two other hazards I could think of that can affect my hometown are biological and hydrological hazards. I hear many people in my town complaining about the landfill and how it can have negative impacts on our health. Whereas, there is no research done on this particular landfill in this particular place to indicate that it is causing health defects, I can understand their concern. There is research out there that proves that air pollution can harm our brains and cause respiratory infections. Also, I have experienced a couple of floods in my area. There was only one severe one and that was a few towns over in West Pittston and many surrounding areas following the Susquehanna River. Houses were floating down the Susquehanna River and others were flooded up to the second floor. People were cleaning up the area for weeks and many houses and businesses were lost.

.“Corrected West Pittston Flood September 8th and 9th, 2011,” Youtube video 5:06, recap of West Pittston flood, posted on September 10th, 2011, posted by “RoxyDtv”, March 31, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qDGbqW6d7U

4. There are several actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability in my town. We could prepare for potential issues by watching the news and keeping up with the weather. This will keep us updated on any potential threatening weather conditions. We could use our education by writing or orally dictating if there is a disaster or hazard coming. We could also make sure that we have effective rescue teams that are prepared in case of emergency. We could also use building materials that can withstand certain disasters. Everyone can help in this. We could all watch the weather and be cautious. We need medical help and engineers to help in terms of rescues and buildings. I can use my education and watch the news. If I see that we are at a potential risk for a disaster, I could alert people by social media, phone or in person.

Hometown Natural Hazard

I live in Carbondale, PA. I found this map very interesting to see how different parts of the word are affected by different zones (low or high). Where I lie is ranked zone 2 for hailstorms, zone 1 for winter storms, zone 2 for tornados, and zone 1 for wildfires. My town have seen all of these things before, although strong tornados are not common. We are surrounded by mountains so the tornados usually get broken up before reaching my town. Wildfires are common. When I was 10, my dad and I saw a wildfire while riding around on our quad. We immediately called 911 when we got back to the house. I think the Nathan map is very clear on what area gets what level of intensity of a natural hazard.

On March 31, 2016 at 10:35:09 PM there was an earthquake in Paraparaumu, Australia and New-Zealand, New Zealand. The magnitude of this earthquake was 3.2. The depth of the earthquake was 52.11 km (32.38 miles). They are considering this earthquake to be minor because people did not feel any Earth movement. Carbondale, PA is not vulnerable earthquakes because it is not located close to fault zones. This does not mean we cannot get earthquakes. I remember a few years ago there was one only because it was so strong that it reached us. That was the only time me or my parents could remember Carbondale having an earthquake. There was no damage done to Carbondale. The scale of the event is much larger than my town. Carbondale is only about 3.2 square miles which would be 8.3 kilometers where as the depth of the earthquake is 32.38 miles and 52.11 kilometers. I feel as though if an earthquake lie this was to happen in Carbondale it would have little damage but I think we would be able to feel it happening. Because my town is built on mountains, I think it would depend on where you lived if you felt an earthquake or not. Also, our building and homes are not built to handle that kind of natural hazard so if something was to happen, our homes and building could be destroyed.

When I search Carbondale, PA for natural hazards, nothing useful came up. I think this is because we are such a small town. I decided to search the next largest city near me which would be Scranton, PA. According to usa.com, Scranton is is a very low risk for earthquakes (0.08) and we have a zero percent chance of volcanos. For tornados we have a risk of 77.46. The types of natural hazards my area faces are thunderstorms, winds, snow storms (although the last few winters have been mild), very cold weather in the winter, and floods. If rain gets too bad in my town the Lackawanna River can become very close to flooding.

“Scranton, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. 2016. Accessed March 31, 2016. http://www.usa.com/scranton-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm#EarthquakeIndex.

In module 8 it talks about vulnerability to Natural Hazards. In an area, if people are well educated, they can learn how to avoid or reduce many impacts. I think this is very important. People should be aware of the natural hazards that can happen in their town that they re living in. If people take the time to educate themselves it can save their town, lives, and many other things like building and homes. Something else I think is important to avoid or reduce natural hazards is wealth. This is self-explanatory. If a town has funds to prevent something from happening, then that town will be better off than a poorer town. Wealthier towns have the funds to build building that can hold up to certain weather conditions. And if something does happen, that town can have the funds to clean it up. I think these are the two most important concepts to towns that are vulnerable to natural hazards.

Module 8- Vulnerability/ Natural Hazards

1. After analyzing the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I learned that my hometown of Scranton, PA can face natural disasters such as winter storms (zone 1), heavy rain, hail storms (zone 2), wildfires (zone 1), tornados (zone 2), and even tropical cyclones. I never realized that my area is subject to tropical cyclones, since I live no where near the tropics. I had difficulty determining the zones of the map, so I am not sure if I correctly determined them. The reason why I am not sure is because the scale of this map is too large. Also, the colors and the faintness of boundaries of the states and countries make it difficult to examine disasters of a specific region. Thus, I don’t think that this map is well suited to describe hazards of certain areas. I feel that this map is more suited to determining disasters of larger scaled regions as opposed to specific towns.

2. The event that I chose to look into from the RSOE and EDIS dealt with a wildfire in Palau. On March 27, 2016 at 3:30 AM, there was a huge forest fire on Mt. Apo (cause is unknown) that almost spread all the way to Lake Venado. As a result, many climbers were evacuated and officials prohibited campfires, fireworks, burning items, and cooking with wood, logs, and charcoal. Although the risk for wildfires in Scranton is low since the climate isn’t as dry as other places, there still could be a possible outbreak. Scranton and Northeastern PA contains many forests, and many people who live in these areas burn wood/other debris, have bonfires, use fireworks, etc. As for scale, the event impacted more than 100 hectares (about 250 acres). This is pretty small considering Scranton is 16,281.6 acres. Where the fire broke out in Davao del Sur, is about 2,160 acres; thus, in terms of scale, the impacts are much greater where it occurred. However, the impact of this fire would impact Scranton more since we are not used to dealing with wildfires; therefore, many houses would be burned and lives could be lost. Different people in Scranton would have different levels of vulnerability due to where they live. Those who live in wooded areas would be at a higher risk of being impacted than those who live in Downtown Scranton. Human factors that can fret vulnerability/ disproportionate the impact of such disaster would be carelessness when dealing with fire. For example, many people from Scranton love to have bonfires, and they carelessly throw items such as plastic into the fire. On the 4th of July, people here tend to blow off fire works by trees. I think the best way to reduce vulnerability of wildfires in Scranton is to educate people when it comes to any form of fire. Laws preventing wood burning, bonfires, and firecracker use in certain areas can also help.

3. When I searched for natural disasters in Scranton, PA, not many sources came up. According to USA.com, Scranton is at a very low risk for an earthquake (USA.com, 2010). Scranton is at 0 risk for volcanoes, and 77.46 risk for tornados (USA.com, 2010). This made me recall my mother telling me once about how there was actually a tornado near my area, not too long ago. Other extreme events in my area involve thunderstorms, floods, blizzards, cold, hail, winter storms/ heavy snow, drought, and strong winds (USA.com, 2010). From my experience, I recall last winter’s extremely cold weather that was 15 degrees below zero. Also, Elysburg (about an hour away from Scranton), has experienced a lot of floods due to the Susquehanna river overflowing damaging many homes and NEPA’s beloved Knoebel’s Amusemant Park.


  1.  “Scranton, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. Accessed March 31, 2016. http://www.usa.com/scranton-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm.

4. Based off of Module 8, I think that it is important that consider human factors, more specifically governance and education. I think that education is most important in prevention of anything. If people are educated about the causes of natural disasters and what to do if one occurs, then so many lives can be prevented since they know what step to take when it comes to comes to pre-event preparedness, emergency response, and post-event recovery and reconstruction. Large organizations such as FEMA give money to help prevent and aid disasters. However, I believe it is ultimately the public who must collectively act the most because there are more of us than there are of organizations, and we are the ones who live daily in vulnerable areas (such as Scranton). As for what I can do, I can make educate people on what disasters can occur in Scranton and what to do in those situations through social media, flyers, or simple conversations. By doing so, more and more people will be educated and will spread the knowledge throughout the population of Scranton.

Module 8

I live in Waynesboro, PA and I found this map to be quite interesting and correct for the most part. Where I live we are located in Zone 2 for hailstorms which is reasonable, zone 2 for tornadoes, and zone 1 for wildfires. These are all definitely threats to my town and we have seen all of these things occur here. There have been multiple instances of small tornadoes as well as hailstorms and a few wildfires. The Nathan map is very well suited for this task and shows very clearly where certain weather patterns are found and for Pennsylvania it was pretty accurate.

On March 31, 2016 there was a flash flood in Galicia, Spain.Nobody was injured but there was a high damage level. My hometown can experience this type of disaster and we have flash flood watches and warnings quite often. There are many creeks around Waynesboro which cause it to be vulnerable when there is a lot of rain put down in a short amount of time. The creeks grow quite large and become very fast and powerful. These flash floods can wash your car off the road, take down sheds, and flood houses and their basements. The flash flood is occurring region-wide in Galicia which is about the same as would happen around my town. They would have about the same impact depending on the amount of rain fall. There are different levels of vulnerability in my town during the event of a flash flood. People who live near creeks and bodies of water are more vulnerable than people who live in the mountains or higher elevations. To reduce my towns vulnerability I would suggest creating walls around creeks when they are near houses. Most places do have some sort of barrier so that the creek is low enough that there shouldn’t be a problem but that’s not always the case.

There are many natural hazards that occur in Waynesboro, however most are not severe. I have been through two very surprising earthquakes in the 21 years that I have been alive and both of them have been pretty recently. According to the Earthquake Index at usa.com, Waynesboro is a 0.04, which means its possible but not likely. There have also been multiple tornadoes around my area while I’ve been alive. Waynesboro is 115.34 on the Tornado Index. Waynesboro also is effected by strong winds, floods, blizzards, hail, wildfires, and droughts (Waynesboro). All of these hazards can create a lot of damage but since we are used to most of these hazards we have learned how to protect ourselves.

“Waynesboro, PA Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes.” – USA.com™. N.p., 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2016. <http://www.usa.com/waynesboro-pa-natural-disasters-extremes.htm>

There are many ways we could reduce our vulnerability to these natural hazards and for the most part a lot of these ideas are already implemented. We have Smoky the Bear who shows us the level of risk we are for wildfires which in turn helps us protect ourselves by being more careful with fires or not have fires at all. DCNR and firefighters are the best at helping protect from these vulnerabilities and with their help of identifying situations where wildfires are prevalent we can stop ourselves from causing an accident. We can’t really do anything to reduce damage from hail except find a place to keep our cars and important things covered. One thing we are really not prepared for is a very bad tornado. Western states who get tornadoes all the time have cellars and shelters underground for protection unlike most houses around here that don’t even have basements; let alone a tornado shelter. To reduce our vulnerability against tornadoes we need to start building more houses with basements, or build a big shelter underground that people can go to if they don’t have anywhere to go and there is enough time to react to a tornado watch.