Where to Live in the USA to Avoid Natural Disasters

Hurricanes in the east, earthquakes in the west and tordanoes in the middle. Where should you live to avoid natural disasters?

Matthew Ericson, Joe Burgess and Bill Marsh of The New York Times created this infographic guide to find the safest and most dangerous places to live in America:

The analysis below, by Sperling’s Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, is an attempt to assess a combination of those risks in 379 American metro areas. Risks for twisters and hurricanes (including storms from hurricane remnants) are based on historical data showing where storms occurred. Earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments and take into account the relative infrequency of quakes, compared with weather events and floods. Additional hazards included in this analysis: flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather.

So, where should you live? The metro areas with lowest risk:

  1. Corvallis, Ore.
  2. Mt. Vernon-Anacortes, Wash.
  3. Bellingham, Wash.
  4. Wenatchee, Wash.
  5. Grand Junction, Colo.
  6. Spokane, Wash.
  7. Salem, Ore.
  8. Seattle

The highest risk:

  1. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Tex.
  2. Jonesboro, Ark.
  3. Corpus Christi, Tex.
  4. Houston
  5. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex.
  6. Shreveport, La.
  7. Austin, Tex.
  8. Birmingham, Ala.

Our hearts go out to the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri, and in Oklahoma, which happened just weeks after the deadly twisters that struck six southern states. It makes one wonders, what's up with all these tornadoes?

Weather experts were at a loss to explain the deadly flurry of tornadoes, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it had found no link between the recent storms and climate change. Environmentalists disagree. Is global warming to blame?

This map makes no sense when looking at the northeast and CA. I guess they say that hurricanes happen far more often than earthquakes (455 in CA in the last week), wild fires are not natural disasters and given how long they have had a drought that must be just status quo.

BTW while writing this Santa Maria, a green city, had a 2.3 quake. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqscanv/
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@Breakfastmachine: Actually I think Corvallis is lovely and I do enjoy visiting, but after living most of my adult life in San Francisco, I'd go batsh!t insane in Corvallis in a matter of weeks, even though I might spare a significant number of brain cells by not having to fret about the possibility of earthquakes. No offense intended to your town!
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I do not get this at all. This report seems to totally ignore volcanic risks from the Cascade (Mt Hood, Mt Ranier, Mt St. Helens, etc) as well as the recently discovered high level earthquake and tsunami risk from subduction zone stresses along the Oregon and Washington Coast.

The Pacific NW is a veritable tectonic time bomb! And this report ranks it the safest. All things considered, I would rate the Four Corner states of the SW as the safest from Natural disasters.
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Wyoming looks pretty safe until someday soon (geologically speaking anyhow) when the Yellowstone Caldera lets loose and buries half the West 10 feet deep. Pompeii and Herculaneum were nothing...
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The spot where it says Austin is is actually San Antonio. Having lived in San Antonio 21 of my 26 years, I can say this map is complete rubbish. I think my mom told me there was almost a tornado here once in the 60's. And when it does flood here it doesn't come close to a large scale disaster. We're too far away from the coast for a hurricane from doing anymore damage than a powerful thunder storm. The city is too large and spread apart for wild fires. The only thing that happens regularly which could be considered a natural disaster(if you're exaggerating)is the drought we have every spring/summer. I think someone made this map to make themselves feel safer about where they live by putting in false information.
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How the heck does New Orleans not make the top 2 for riskiest? Did you ignore that area because everyone has moved away from that catastrophe magnet?

LOL - Dallas as the most dangerous city - what garbage. The last time there was a deadly tornado in Dallas itself was in the 1950s. There are no earthquakes and hundreds of miles separate the Dallas metro area and the gulf (i.e. hurricane remnants are a non-factor.

I've lived in the Dallas area for over 30 years and have never even seen a tornado, much less been in one. I've never seen serious flooding, hurricane remnants of note, or any of this other rubbish.

I have to call B.S. on the obviously incorrect interpretation of the data used for this map. I mean, do you really think that out of all the other areas of the country that are hurricane magnets, or on active fault lines, the "highest risk" are two inland areas?

Anyone knows it is MUCH MUCH more risky to live in any costal area than a landlocked area like the DFW Metroplex.
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Hey !
I am in Jonesboro right now.
Glad to see that we made the list.....heh !
We did have some funky weather today, (maybe we'll get a break from it for a day or two).
We have had 2 serious tornados in the past:
1968 - 34 dead
1973 - In Jonesboro proper, only 2 fatalities...(could be wrong on that one).
It does make one think that we are overdue.

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I have lived throughout much of the western US as well as the DFW area the past 9 years..... I feel much safer in DFW than anywhere along the coast. I would agree that areas in the InterMountain West (Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Montana, and New Mexico) are pretty safe.
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Forget about the mountains you mentioned. Hood and Rainer are sleeping in comas, and St Helens is nothing but a minor belcher now. However, you do have a point about the fault off the coast that would cause the western part of Portland to flood from the tsunami wave. And the quake that would cause it is way overdue.
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Yay I live in the wrath of god free zone!

Yea, the only thing that's gonna kill Portland is the earthquake that's supposed to come and flatten the area but it isn't gonna hit us with a tsunami because Portland is 2 hours inland from the coast so unless this quake causes 2012 level tsunamis we're safe. The mountains are no worry either. If Hood ever blew it would all go east anyways like when St. Helens blew. Get some rain and some flooding but nothing like the Mississippi and thank god no tornadoes or hurricanes.
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2 hours drive is one thing, but when you have a major river (the Columbia) sticking its tongue into the ocean, nature has a way of speeding things up when it comes to giant tidals.

Most predictions say the trainyards in Portland will be underwater when the big one hits. Not a terrible catastrophe, but not great for people on the coast, either.
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Earthquakes (one minor one in my lifetime) and Volcanoes (one moderate one in my lifetime) are pretty bad but they are infrequent, especially compared to the South's Tornadoes (many almost every year) and Hurricanes (several almost every year).

I like my chances here in safe but boring Salem OR.
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Austin, Tx. really? I've lived here for 12 year and never once been part of a 'natural disaster', yet I've read of many earthquakes in California and massive snowstorms everywhere else. I find this article very flawed.
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Ya, Somethings is really screwy here. Dallas is the worst? WTF. This looks more like he just made shit up. I figured Flordia and anything near the San Andreas fault and Mississippi river.
I'll take a wild stab here and say this is a poor attempt by the reporter to get his insurance to drop a bit.
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