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Which are the Deadliest Natural Disasters?

Updated on July 4, 2014
Source

Natural Disasters seem to be happening at an alarming rate. l have researched information from governmental agencies and news sources to find out what natural disasters occur the most frequently and which create the most loss of life. My findings are below. I start with the natural disasters with the smallest death tolls and worked my way up to the largest.

Blizzards

The worst recorded blizzard in regards to loss of life was in 1972. After four years of drought a snowstorm came to Iran for one whole week in February of 1972. Iran was hit with between 10-26 feet of snow, depending on the area and temperatures dropped to minus 15 degrees fahrenheit. (minus 25 C). This amount of snow and cold blocked roads and communication lines, trapped 4,000 villagers, and froze pipes which led to a lack of water.

Below is a list of blizzards by death toll.

Blizzards

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
4,000
 
Iran
1972
400
Great Blizzard of 1888
Northeastern United States
1888
318
1993 North American Storm Complex
Northeastern United States
1993
235
School Blizzard
Great Plains, United States
1888
144
Armistice Day Blizzard
Midwest, United States
1940
54
Blizzard of 1978
Northeastern United States
1978
29
Blizzard of 1977
Buffalo, New York
1977
5,180
 
 
 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association only listed seven significant blizzards. I thought there would be more but this indicates it is not as significant when it comes to loss of life.

Fire

Fire
Fire | Source

Hinckley Minnesota has had the most devastating fire on record, in terms of loss of life. On September 1, 1894 a fire grew out of an extremely dry year. Winds pushed the fires until it spread to 400 square miles. 418 people died in Hinckley and the surrounding community.

Below is a list of natural disaster fires by death toll provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fire

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
418
Hinckley Fire
Minnesota
1894
250
Thumb Fire
Michigan
1881
160
Miramichi Fire
Canada
1825
75
Ash Wednesday
Australia
1983
71
Black Friday
Australia
1939
62
1967 Tasmansian Fires
Australia
1967
60
SE Victoria Bushfire
Australia
1926
1,096
 
 
 

I was surprised by the low amount of fires listed in the NOAA report. This seems to because only fires that were caused by nature were included. For instance, the Great Fire of London that took place in 1666 and destroyed 70,000 homes. This was not included because of it's cause. It started in a bakery so it was caused by man and not nature.

Tornados

Tornado
Tornado | Source

The deadliest tornado occurred on April 26, 1989 in Bangladesh. The United States is known for having tornado alley but Bangladesh also has a considerable amount of tornado's. The 1989 tornado leveled the towns of Manikgank sadar and Saturia and resulted in 1300 deaths and 80,000 people without homes.

Tornadoes

Death Toll
Event
Location
Year
1,300
The Saturia - Manikganj sadar Tornado
Bangladesh
1989
695
The Tri-State Tornado
Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana
1925
500
he Narail-Magura Tornadoes
Bangladesh
1964
350
Tornados
Unites States
2011
317
The Great Natchez Tornado
Louisiana & Mississippi
1840
255
The St. Louis - East St. Louis Tornado
Missouri & Illinois
1896
233
The Tupelo Tornado
Mississippi
1936
203
The Gainesville Tornado
Georgia
1936
181
The Glazier Higggins Woodward Tornados
Texas, Oklahoma, & Kansas
1947
160
The Chakislampur - Goborghata Tornado
India
1998
150
The Purunabandha & Keonjhargar Tornados
India
1978
143
The Amite - Pine-Purvis Tornados
Louisiana & Mississippi
1908
139
The Assam Tornado
India
1963
118
The Dhaka Tornado
Bangladesh
1888
117
The Richmond Tornado
Wisconsin
1899
115
The Flint Tornado
Mississippi
1953
114
The Waco Tornado
Texas
1953
114
The Goliad Tornado
Texas
1902
94
The Worcester Tornado
Massachusetts
1953
54
The San Justo Tornado
Argentina
1973
5,352
 
 
 

NOAA's list of deadly tornado's only included twenty events. Some of those events included multiple tornado's. Tornado's happen all the time, especially in the Midwest where I live. While they seem to be very scary to me they are not actually the deadliest natural disaster. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that sixty people are killed per year from tornado's, mostly from flying debris.

Storms

Storm Clouds
Storm Clouds | Source

The most catastrophic storm took place in 1999. A year's worth of rain feel between December 14 - December 16th 1999 in an area of Venezuela in the Sierra de Avila Mountains. The amount of rain created massive mudslides that resulted in 8,000 homes and 700 apartment buildings being destroyed. 30,000 people died in the mudslides but only 1,000 bodies were recovered.

Storms

Death Toll
Event
Location
Year
15,000
Torrential rains and mudslides
Venezuela
1999
1,364
Heavy Storms
Philippines
2004
250
Great Lakes Storms
Great Lakes Basin
1913
16,614
 
 
 

NOAA only included three storm natural disasters so it is not very high on the list. However, this seems to be related to flooding. Storms and flooding go hand and hand so it seems odd to me to separate them as such. However, the devestation in the most significant storm was actually mudslide related.

Heat Waves

2003 was one of the hottest summers on record in Europe. This is considered to be a result of global warming and the lingering effects of El Nino that took place in 2002 and 2003. August 10, 2003 was London's hottest day on record at 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Several other temperature records were broken including 104.7 degrees in Roth Germany, 106.7 degrees in Grono Switzerland, and 117.1 degrees in Amareleja Portugal. In Europe there were a total of 35,000 deaths with the elderly being most affected.

Heat Waves

Death Toll
Event
Location
Year
35,000
European Heatwave of 2003
Europe
2003
10,000
1980 United States Heat Wave
United States
1980
4,000
Heatwave
Texas, Middle East, & India
1998
739
Chicago Heat Wave
Chicago, Illinois
1995
437
Southern Regions, Australia
Australia
1895-1896
271
Heat Wave
Midwest & Northeast
1999
50,447
 
 
 

I was surprised that heat waves were listed so high on the list with six incidents totalling 50,447 deaths.

Volcanos

Volcano
Volcano | Source

Mount Tamora on the Island of Sumbawa in Southern Indonesia was thought to be a long dormant volcano. However, that all changed in 1812 when it began to cause rumblings in the area and dark smoke could be seen at its peak. This continued until April of 1815 when the volcano began to erupt. From 15 miles away three columns of flames could be seen shooting into the sky. Pumice stones as large as six inches in diameter hailed down on surrounding islands, the sky became dark with ash, wind increased and tsunamis hit the island. The result of the eruption were 92,000 deaths as well as worldwide environmental effects. That next year the spring and summer had cold temperatures, so cold that crops did not grow and became known as the year without summer. This caused widespread famine in addition to the 92,000 deaths caused directly by the volcano and it's original aftermath.

Before Mount Tambora exploded it was 13,800 feet tall. After it's explosion, it was only 9,200 feet tall.

Volcanoes

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
92,000
Mount Tambora Volcano
Indonesia
1815
36,000
Krakatoa Volcano
Indonesia
1883
29,000
Mount Pelee
Martinique
1902
23,000
Nevado del Ruiz
Colombia
1985
18,000
Mount Vesuvius
Italy
1631
15,000
Mount Unzen
Japan
1792
10,000
Kelut
Indonesia
1586
9,350
Laki
Iceland
1783
6,000
Santa Maria
Guatemala
1902
5,115
Kelut
Indonesia
1912
4,000
Galunggung
Indonesia
1822
3,600
Mount Vesuvius
Roman Empire
79
3,500
El Chichon
Mexico
1982
1,680
Soufriere
St. Vincent West Indies
1902
1,000
Cotopaxi
Ecuador
1887
700
Mount Pinatubo
Philippines
1991
245
Nyiragongo
Congo
2002
152
Mt. Ruapehu, Tangiwai
New Zealand
1953
57
Mount St. Helens
Washington
1980
258,399
 
 
 

NOAA included nineteen volcano events totalling an estimated 258,399 deaths. This list includes the well known Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79AD.

Tsunamis

Tsunami
Tsunami | Source

The worst tsunami on record is one that I am sure we all remember. It occurred in the Indian Ocean in December of 2004. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a tsunami that traveled 3,000 miles and caused destruction in 11 countries. Waves were reported as high as 50 feet in some places. The result was almost 300,000 deaths and many homeless. The US Geological Survey estimated that the tsunami released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima type atomic bombs.

Below is a list of catastrophic tsunamis.

Tsunamis

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
287,000
Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunamis
Outside Indonesia
2004
100,000
1755 Earthquake, Tsunami & Fire
Portugal & Morocco
1755
70,000
Messina Italy Earthquake & Tsunami
Italy
1908
40,000
South China Sea
China & Taiwan
1782
36,000
Krakatoa Volcano Explosion
Indonesia
1883
30,000
TmkaidM-NankaidM
Japan
1707
27,000
Tsunami
Japan
1826
25,674
Tsunami
Chile
1868
22,070
Sanriku
Japan
1896
19,846
Earthquake/Tsunami
Japan
2011
15,030
Mount Unzen
Japan
1792
13,486
Tsunami
Rykkyk Trench
1771
5,223
TmkaidM - Kashima
Japan
1703
5,000
NankaidM
Japan
1605
5,000
Moro Gulf
Phillipines
1976
4,000
Borneo
Indonesia
1952
3,000
Tsunami
New Guinea
1998
3,008
Sanriku
Japan
1933
2,000
Great Chilean Earthquake
Chile, Hawaii, Philippines & Japan
1960
2,000
Bristol Channel
United Kingdom
1607
540
Java Earthquake
 
2006
165
Aleutian Island Earthquake
Hawaii & Alaska
1964
46
Southeast Cost of Big Island of Hawaii
Hawaii
1868
51
Placentia Bay
New foundland
1929
23
Nice
France
1979
716,162
 
 
 

There are 25 catastrophic tsunamis included on the list that total 716,162 deaths.

Hurricanes

Hurricane
Hurricane | Source

The worst disaster in the Hurricane Category occurred in Pakistan, in what is now Bangladesh. It is called the Bhola Cyclone and occurred in November of 1970. It made landfall as a Category 3 storm and makes land fall in the early hours of November 13th. Winds over 140 miles per hour ravaged the coast line of East Pakistan. High winds caused a storm surge at the same time as high tide. This created a 20 foot wall of water that destroyed everything in its path. The Bhola Cyclone killed an estimated 500,000 people.

Below is a list of catastrophic hurricanes.

Hurricanes

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
500,000
Bhola Cyclone
Bangladesh
1970
300,000
India Cyclone
India
1839
300,000
Haiphong Cyclone
Vietnam
1881
229,000
Super Typhoon Nina
China
1975
138,000
1991 Bangladesk Cyclone
Bangladesh
1991
100,000
Cyclone Nargis
Burmese Peninsula
2008
60,000
Typhoon
China
1922
60,000
1964 Calcutta Cyclone
India
1864
50,000
Typhoon
China
1912
40,000
Cyclone
India
1942
30,000
Cyclone
Bangladesh
1965
22,000
Great Hurricane of 1780
Barbadoes, Martinique & St. Eustatius
1780
22,000
Cyclone
Pakistan
1963
20,000
Cyclone
India
1977
18,277
Hurricane Mitch
Central America
1998
17,000
Cyclone
Bangladesh
1965
10,000
Cyclone
Pakistan
1965
10,000
Cyclone in Orissa
India
1999
10,000
Typhoon
Hong Kong
1906
9,574
Cyclone
India
1999
8,000
Galveston Hurricane
Texas
1900
8,000
Hurricane
Dominican Republic
1930
8,000
Hurricane Fifi
Honduras
1974
7,200
Hurricane Flora
Haiti & Cuba
1963
6,000
Typhoon Thelma
Philippines
1991
6,000
Cyclone
Pakistan
1960
5,000
Typhoon Vera
Japan
1958
4,170
Newfoundland Hurricane
United States & Newfoundland
1775
4,075
Lake Okeechobee Hurricane
United States
1928
4,000
Hurricane
Canada
1775
3,433
Hurricane
Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic
1899
3,107
Hurricane
Cuba
1932
3,037
Hurricane Jeanne
Haiti
2004
3,000
Hurricane
Atlantic Ocean
1782
3,000
Hurricane
Cuba
1791
3,000
1737 Calcutta Cyclone
India
1737
2,500
Cyclone
Andhra Pradesh
1996
2,334
Typhoon Iris
China
1959
2,150
Hurricane
Caribbean
1935
2,060
Hurricane David
Dominican Republic
1979
3,000
Hurricane
Central America
1934
2,000
Hurricane
Gulk of Mexico
1780
2,000
Hurricane
Florida
1781
2,000
Hurricane
Cuba & Florida
1870
2,000
Chenier Caminada Hurricane
Louisiana
1893
2,541
Hurricane Katrina
United States
2005
1,620
Hurricane Stan
Mexico, Central America
2005
1,600
Typhoon Mary
China
1960
2,500
Hurricane
Windward Islands
1831
2,500
Hurricane
Central America
1931
1,500
Hurricane
Greater Antilles, Mexico
1909
1,430
Tropical Storm Sendong
Philippines
1430
1,300
Typhoon Ike
Philippines
1984
1,200
Hurricane Hazel
Grenada, Bahamas, Haiti, United States & Canada
1954
1,145
Hurricane Gordon
Haiti & United States
1994
1,115
Hurricane
Jamaica & Cuba
1780
2,000
Sea IslandsHurricane
Georgia & South Carolina
1893
1,000
Hurricane Inez
Greater Antilles & Mexico
1966
1,000
Cyclone
India
1998
921
Hurricane
Greater Antilles & Mexico
1888
709
Hurricane
Cuba
1926
700
Hurricane
Georgia
1881
700
Hurricane
Greater Antilles
1891
700
Hurricane
Unites States
1788
682
New England Hurricane of 1938
United States
1938
602
Hurricane Georges
Greater Antilles
1998
600
Hurricane
Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Texas
1919
600
Hurricane Fox
Cuba
1952
680
Hurricane Janet
Honduras & Mexico
1955
424
Hurricane
North Carolina
1857
408
Labor Day Hurricane
Florida
1935
400
Last Island Hurricane
Louisiana
1856
400
Cyclone Mahina
Australia
1899
400
Hurricane Hattie
Belize
1961
400
Hurricane
Texas
1915
550
Hurricane Aubrey
Louisiana
1957
390
Hurricane
United States
1944
387
Hurricane
Unites States
1866
383
Hurricane
Windward Islands
1898
364
Hurricane Donna
United States
1960
350
Hurricane
Louisiana
1909
318
Hurricane Gilbert
Jamaica & Mexico
1988
350
Great Miami Hurricane
Florida & Louisiana
1926
256
Hurricane Camille
United States
1969
253
Hurricane Sandy
United States
2012
228
Hurricane Allen
Caribbean & United States
1980
217
Hurricane Cleo
Caribbean & Florida
1964
216
Hurricane Joan
Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador
1988
200
Hurricane Hilda
Mexico
1955
200
Hurricane Diane
North Carolina
1955
128
Hurricane
North Indian Ocean
2012
122
Hurricane Agnes
Eastern United States
1972
120
Hurricane Ivan
Caribbean, Alabama, Florida
2004
113
Hurricane Rita
Florida, Mississippi, & Texas
2005
96
Hurricane Diane
Mexico
1990
96
Typhoon Nari
Taiwan
2001
86
Hurricane Hugo
Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina
1989
80
Hurricane Eloise
Hispaniola & Eastern Unites States
1975
76
Hurricane Betsy
Louisiana
1965
 
 
 
 
75
Hurricane Nilam
India
2012
72
Typhoon Toraji
Taiwan
2001
71
Cyclone Tracy
Australia
1974
62
Hurricane Andrew
Bahamas, Florida, Louisiana
1992
60
Hurricane Carol
New England
1954
59
Hurricane Beulah
Texas
1967
59
Hurricane Opal
Guatemala, Mexico, & Florida
1995
57
Hurricane Floyd
Bahamas & North Carolina
1999
51
Hurricane Cesar
Nicaragua, Central America, Columbia, Venezuela,
1996
51
Typhoon Herb
Taiwan
1996
45
1939 Long Beach Tropical Storm
California
1939
45
Hurricane Isaac
Carribean
2012
43
Hurricane Celia
Texas
1970
42
Hurricane Hortense
Leeward Islands
1996
41
Tropical Storm Allison
Texas
2001
40
Hurricane Isabel
North Carolina
2003
38
Hurricane Hilda
Louisiana
1964
35
Hurricane Charley
Jamaica,Cuba, Florida
2004
34
Hurricane Fran
North Carolina
1996
12
Hurricane Ernesto
Winward Islands, Jamaica
2012
10
Tropical Storm Debby
Cuba, Central America
2012
3
Tropical Storm Beryl
Cuba, The Bahamas
2012
2
Tropical Storm Helene
Winward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, ABC Islands, Central America, and Mexico
2012
1
Hurricane Rafael
Carribean
2012
1
Tropical Storm Norman
Mexico & California
2012
2,083,282
 
 
 

There are 125 catastrophic hurricanes that led to 2,083,282 deaths included on the list. The number of hurricane events is the largest on the list but it is not the largest in the total number of deaths.

Earthquakes

The deadliest recorded earthquake took place over 800 years ago on May 20th 1202. In the early morning it shook Syria, Egypt, and surrounding areas. It destroyed whole towns and killed an estimated 1,100,000 people.

Earthquakes

Death Toll
Event
Location
Year
1,100,000
Eastern Mediterranean
Egypt, Syria
1201
830,000
Shaanxi Earthquake
China
1556
287,000
Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunamis
Outside Indonesia
2004
255,000
Tangshan Earthquake
China
1976
230,000
Haiti Earthquake
Haiti
2010
230,000
Aleppo Earthquake
Syria
1138
200,000
Gansu Earthquake
China
1920
200,000
Xining Earthquake
China
1927
200,000
Damghan Earthquake
Iran
856
150,000
Ardabil Earthquake
Iran
893
140,000
Great KantM Earthquake
Japan
1923
110,000
Ashgabat Earthquake
Turkmenistan
1948
100,000
Messina Earthquake
Italy
1908
100,000
1755 Lisbon Earthquake
Portugal
1755
100,000
Chihli Earthquake
China
1920
88,000
Sichuan China Earthquake
China
2008
87,000
2005 Kashmir Earthquake
Pakistan, India
2005
80,000
Shemakha Earthquake
Caucasus
1667
77,000
Tabriz Earthquake
Iran
1727
70,000
Gansu Earthquake
China
1932
66,000
Ancash Earthquake
Peru
1970
60,000
Sicily Earthquake
Sicily
1693
60,000
Quetta Earthquake
British India
1935
50,000
Calabria Earthquake
Italy
1783
50,000
Iran Earthquake
Iran
1990
41,000
Bam Earthquake
Iran
2003
32,700
Erzincan Earthquake
Turkey
1939
25,000
Spitak Earthquake
Armenia
1988
23,000
Guatemala Earthquake
Guatemala
1976
20,000
Dgujarat Earthquake
India
2001
20,000
Valparaiso Earthquake
Chile
1960
17,118
Izmit Earthquake
Turkey
1999
15,621
Tonghai Earthquake
China
1970
11,000
Naples Earthquake
Italy
1857
10,700
Bihar Earthquake
India
1934
10,000
Agadir Earthquake
Morocco
1960
9,748
Latur India Earthquake
India
1993
9,500
Michoacan Earthquake
Mexico
1985
6,433
Great Hanshin Earthquake
Japan
1995
6,234
Java Earthquake
Indonesia
2006
3,276
Hsinchu - Taichung Earthquake
Taiwan
1935
3,000
1906 San Francisco Earthquake
California
1906
2,400
ChiChi Earthquake
Taiwan
1999
2,914
Irpinia Earthquake
Italy
1980
1,570
Romania Earthquake
Romania
1977
1,100
Skopje Earthquake
Yugoslavia
1963
1,266
Meishan Earthquake
Taiwan
1905
1,000
Friuli Earthquake
Italy
1976
1,847
Luzon Earthquake
Phillippines
1990
604
Earthquake
Turkey
2011
571
Morocco Earthquake
AlHoceima Province
2004
564
Zarand Earthquake
Iran
2005
306
Earthquake
Iran
2012
258
Napier Earthquake
New Zealand
1931
139
Earthquake
Guatemala & Mexico
2012
131
Goodfriday Earthquake
Alaska
1964
115
Long Beach Earthquake
California
1933
113
Earthquake
Philippines
2012
81
Earthquake
China
2012
75
Earthquake
Afghanistan
2012
66
Loma Prieta Earthquake
California
1989
65
Sylmar Earthquake
California
1931
57
Northridge Earthquake
California
1994
38
Earthquake
Myanmar
2012
27
Lone Pine Earthquake
California
1872
27
Earthquake
Italy
2012
13
Newcastle Earthquake
Australia
1989
10
Earthquake
Indonesia
2012
5,199,687
 
 
 

There are 68 catastrophic earthquakes with 5,199,687 deaths on the list. This makes earthquakes the second most frequent in regards to natural disasters with loss of life.

Floods

Flood
Flood | Source

Yellow River (Huang He) Floods get the top three spots for largest loss of life. The most destructive flood took place in August of 1931. 88,000 square kilometers (54,680 square miles) were completely flooded while another 21,000 square killometers (13,048 square miles) were partially flooded. In some areas the water was 53 feet above normal. This flood resulted in 3,700,00 deaths and left 80 million people homeless. The Yellow River is also called China's Sorrow because millions of people have been killed by its flooding.

Floods

Death Toll
Name
Location
Year
3,700,000
Huang He Flood
China
1931
2,000,000
1887 Huang He Flood
China
1887
900,000
1938 Huang He Flood
China
1938
231,000
Banqiao Dam Failure
China
1975
145,000
1935 Yangtze River Flood
China
1935
100,000
Flood
North Vietnam
1971
100,000
1911 Yangtze River Flood
China
1911
30,000
1954 Yangtze River Flood
China
1954
25,000
Grote Mandrenke Storm Tide
Netherlands, Germany, Denmark
1362
10,000
Great Iran Flood
Iran
1954
2,200
Johnstown Flood
Pennsylvania
1889
2,142
North Sea Flood of 1953
Netherlands & United Kingdom
1953
12,000
Manchhu River Dam Burst
Imarvi, Gujarat, India
1979
1,909
Vajont Dam Landslide & Flood
Italy
1963
1,800
Southern Leyte Mudslide
Philippines
2006
3,363
Spring Flooding
Haiti & Dominican Republic
2004
1,700
Pakistan Flood
Pakistan
2010
1,000
Flood
Mumbai & Maharastra India
2005
900
Flood
Brazil
2011
813
Flood
Thailand
2011
673
Flood
North Korea
2012
509
Flood
Pakistan
2011
455
Flood
Pakistan
2012
400
St. Francis Dam Failure
California
1928
363
Flood
Nigeria
2012
315
North Sea Flood of 1962
Germany
1962
270
Great Sheffield Flood Dam Distaster
England
1864
247
Flood
Cambodia
2011
239
Flood
China
2011
204
Flood
India
2011
172
Flood
Russia
2012
124
Flood
India
2012
105
Flood
China
2012
95
Flood
Philippines
2012
94
Mameyes Disaster Landslide
Puerto Rico
1985
81
Holmfirth Flood - Bilberry Reservoir Dam Failure
England
1852
78
Austin Dam Failure
Pennsylvania
1911
71
Flood
Northern India
2012
70
Flood
Nepal
2012
70
New Orleans Dike Failure
Louisiana
2005
47
McDonald Dam Failure
Texas
1900
16
Brisbane Flood
Australia
1974
9
Flood
UK
2012
8
Flood
Fiji
2012
5
Flood
Romanian
2012
7
Flood
Peru
2012
7,273,554
 
 
 

There are 64 floods included on this list. This is not the largest in regards to number of events but it is certainly the most in regards to loss of life with an estimated 7,273,554 deaths. And, because of the significant loss of life surrounding the disasters around the Yellow River, China has the unfortunate distinction of most deaths due to natural disaster.

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All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs. http://homesteadbound.hubpages.com/hub/Creating-Dividers-to-Use-on-Your-Hubs

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    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Thoroughly researched and very interesting. I hadn't realized just how much our weather pattern here in Upstate NY has changed until I read your hub. We have had devastating flooding, earthquakes, heat waves, blizzards, tornado's and pulverizing hurricanes. Each brought death and destruction in it's wake. I definitely see and experience the changing weather patterns in my neck of the woods.

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      Tina Truelove 4 years ago

      Very interesting hub. I live 10 minutes from downtown Gainesville, Georgia. My grandparents used to talk about the tornado of '36 every time we had tornado watches and/or warnings in the area. Some victims were never found. Several years ago, they were remodeling one of the buidings around our town square. Remains were found within the structure which were later identified as someone who had been missing since that tornado. This area has a history of deadly tornadoes. About 15 years ago, an F-4/F-5 tornado came through this area, killing 12 and terrifying many others. It missed my home by a few miles. We take weather warnings very serious around here. I also noticed that the death tolls for some of the disasters you listed are phenominal. I just can't imagine that kind of destruction.

      Thanks for the information.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks shiningirisheyes! You do seem to be in an area that has had a lot of challenges as of late.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Tina! That's very interesting. I read a lot of reports about victims that were never found, particularly with the 1999 mudslide in Venezuela.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      This is really interesting information, Kimberly. I had so many thoughts as I was reading through all the disaster statistics. One thing that jumped out to me was how so much of the death toll is from many years ago, probably indicative of better warning and communication systems, at least in more advanced countries. Sadly, I remember the 1995 Chicago heat wave and the over 700 deaths. It truly was horrible, because it all seemed so preventible, especially in a major U.S. city. So many of those deaths were the elderly and so many of them were never identified. I never would have guessed that floods produced the greatest death tolls but they usually are without warning, as well as widespread. Again, very interesting information.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks ktrapp! I was surprised by the floods also. When I started my research, I never would have thought they would be the deadliest disaster.

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      jbshaban 4 years ago from California

      It's a pretty comprehensive list of disasters you've compiled. However, the information of the casualties on Austin Dam Flood that occurred in 1911 is off by quite a bit. The number is around 2000 although I don't know what the official number is. I grew up close to Austin, and have heard the story over the years.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Hi Jbshaban:

      My source for the Austin Dam Flood was the National Oceanic and Astmospher Association. The link to the information is below and included in my list of resources:

      http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/noaa_documents/NOAA_relat...

      I usual feel like I can rely on government sources for statistics but since you questioned it, I also checked with the Austin Dam Memorial Association. They also reported 78 deaths. A copy to the link is below:

      http://austindam.net/

      Let me know if you have different sources. I think when it comes to word of mouth stories, especially after 100 years, the details can change quite a bit over time.

    • jbshaban profile image

      jbshaban 4 years ago from California

      I think you must be right. I actually did some more research and indeed, the number that was the major consensus was 78. Although, I did see some of the outrageous numbers that I grew up hearing about in print. I think it must have been sensational journalism. It was great getting the information corrected, and it was still quite a tragedy as well as a harrowing story. One of the main characters was the owner of a "house of ill repute" as it was called back then. She actually got off the hook on a future charge for the good citizenship that she displayed when the the dam broke and she came to the aid of the town.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image
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      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Interesting! That is the kind of great story you don't get when you're just looking at numbers.

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