Infographic: Which American cities are most vulnerable to natural disasters?

Map reveals where not to live if you want to stay out of the way of nature's wrath.
Written by Tuan Nguyen, Contributor

As adept as humans have become at designing and building safer cities, we're still far from immune to the kind of devastation brought on by natural disasters.

Americans received a reminder of this last week when violent storms battered the south, and in the wake, claimed 300 lives. But one thing we do know, at the very least, is that some regions are more prone to nature's wrath. For instance, California is nested on a major fault that makes it susceptible to earthquakes. The southeast coastal region is, at certain times of the year, hurricane country.

But to give people a more precise understanding of the kinds of risks posed by living in a city like, say New Orleans, publisher Sterlings BestPlaces fed available statistics and other historical data on natural disasters into a computer and generated a very telling infographic that maps out the various natural disaster hot spots throughout America.

The best infographic maps are designed to be as self-explanatory. In this case, higher populated regions are, the bigger the circle and areas with increasingly higher risks of natural disasters are represented by intensifying colors.

Here are some highlights of the map, recently published in the New York Times:

  • Some of the most hazardous places to live are located close to the border area of the Gulf of Mexico, a region that includes the eastern part of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
  • The map points out that Dallas, Texas has highest risk of natural disasters.
  • Some of the safest places to live are concentrated in the Northwest in states like Washington and Oregon.

The researchers also produced separate maps that shows which areas are vulnerable to specific threats such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes.

The data is interesting. But what do you think? Would this sway your decision of where in the country you would be willing live?

(via New York Times)

Image sources: Sperling’s Best Places; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (tornado map); University of Miami (hurricane map); U.S. Geological Survey (earthquake map)

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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