Major Catastrophes

Abraham Rivera, Staff Writer

Natural disasters are bound to happen. Some natural disasters are more devastating than others. They all affect us even if they are miles away from us. All natural disasters, no matter how small can seriously affect us in the long run.
On March 11, 2011 Japan had a major earthquake just off of its coast. It was one of the biggest earthquakes on record, coming in at 9 on the Richter scale. The Richter scale is how we measure how big an earthquake is and this earthquake was a 9 on the scale so, this earthquake caused some serious damage and also produced a tsunami that swept the same coast. The combination of both of these disasters cost over $300 billion. There were global economic repercussions, given Japan’s key position back then in the world’s economy.
In 2005, down in the Gulf of Mexico a category 4 hurricane came about. This was Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating hurricanes in American history. Katrina caused devastation mainly in New Orleans, Louisiana. It caused major flooding, loss of neighborhoods, and caused an estimated $100 billion in damages. (www.globalissues.org)
In Missouri, a rare winter flood brought a record or near-milestone crest along the Mississippi River. The flooding all together affected Missouri and Illinois, claiming 25 lives. The rare rainfall started December 26, 2015 and lasted 3 days with 9-14 inches of rain. The National Weather Service says 11.43 inches in Springfield, Missouri broke the cities 1895 record for rain for that month. Volunteers filled tens of thousands of sandbags; Illinois provided 988,000 to threatened communities. Illinois taxpayers also doled out 10,500 tons of rocks, 4,546 tons of sand and 717 rolls of plastic. The State’s inmates are contributing 8,187 hours of labor, filling 125,000 sandbags. The number of people that were forced to leave their homes and towns is not exact, though the number certainly goes into the thousands. The American Red Cross says,”[We] doled out to flood-stricken people in Missouri and Illinois, giving 586 victims refuge along the way as of Sunday night.” ( abcnews.go.com )
Southern California is no different; we are susceptible to natural disasters, just like other places in the world. The most common disasters in Southern California are earthquakes; however, we are also susceptible to wildfires, landslides/mudslides and tsunamis.
Southern California is very prone to wildfires because of low annual rainfall and warm summers.
Landslides/mudslides can be caused by earthquakes, rain or if the ground is unstable. But mudslides are different because they happen when heavy rainfall causes loose soil on steep land that causes them to slide down.
Tsunamis are the least likely to happen but there is still a possibility of them occurring. They are mostly caused by undersea earthquakes, and there is a potential for the Coastal areas in California to be affected by tsunamis. According to researchers at University of Southern California (USC) , “ A 7.6 magnitude earthquake under the seafloor near the Catalina Islands could cause a tsunami to hit the Southern California Coast. (www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov)
Earthquakes are the most common natural disaster in California. Some cities fall closer to the San Andreas Fault than others, that does not mean they cannot still get hit by a major earthquake. Ontario is a small town in the San Bernardino County, near the fault line and prone to a higher risk for earthquakes. The USGS database shows a 99.37% chance of a major earthquake, a major earthquake is considered to be 7.0 to 7.9 on the Richter scale, within 31mi. of Ontario, within the next 50 years. Are you ready? If not, you should get an emergency kit ready.