Monday, March 31, 2014
Where to Live V - Tornadoes
In some ways, tornadoes are the opposite of the nuclear power plants we discussed in Part IV. Whereas nuclear plants are stationary, tornadoes are mobile. Nuke plants are rare while tornadoes are common. But the third difference is, at least to me, the most important: when a nuclear power plant has a serious accident, it does far more damage over a larger area and for a longer time than even the largest tornado.
That's not to say tornadoes aren't serious; they can be. Drive through Joplin, Missouri, today and you can still see the path of the F5 that killed 158 people and injured more than 1000 in 2011. But three years later, more people are living in and around Joplin than ever. The same is not true of Chernobyl, which is today surrounded by an Exclusion Zone measuring 1000 square miles. No one lives there and maybe never will again.
This comparison gives us a two-sided grid under which the prepper can categorize threats: frequency (common/rare) versus impact (limited/massive). Nearly every conceivable threat can be measured that way. Those threats that are rare and of limited damage can often be safely ignored, for you'll have built in enough preparation already to handle them. Those that are both common and massive (e.g. hurricanes on the Gulf Coast) will demand serious preparation and perhaps even avoidance. Those massive threats which are deemed inevitable, like a dollar collapse, can perhaps only be planned for and muddled through.
Since no prepper can be safe from all threats or even prepare for all threats,** the prepper simply must prioritize. If the danger posed by a tornadoes is judged to be greater than that of earthquakes, California looks welcoming. If not, then the prepper will make another choice. We'll have a few more factors to throw into your threat grid over the next couple of weeks. Be safe.
* One of eight I'll see this year according to this handy-dandy map from NOAA.
** What's the plan for a planetary collision?