Naturall disasters in USA.

I wonder why people in florida or california still live there and don’t move to more safer places where there are no earthquakes or tornados.Or,after each big hurricane on the atlantic coast I see that people who lost homes build new ones almost right on the beach.Those new homes are build from the same fragile materials like the one before,could they not construct something stronger ?
Some homes in florida are made from concrete but I guess that is exception to the rule.
You can tell me that Japese live on most earthquake active area in the world and is OK,I know but they have no choice ,on the other hand USA is such a big country and rich that we could build citys in safer locations or at least build safer homes.
I guess insurance companies have the last word and they proffit from naivitee of some people.

It is not like Florida and California are going to empty out because of those risks. The climate is good and people are always attracted to the ocean. I am sure that there are a small number of people that don’t live in those states for fear of earthquakes or hurricanes. The risk to any individual person or property is still pretty small. The odds of dying in a car accident, for example, are much greater than dying in a natural disaster no matter where you live. I do wonder why people build houses right on the coast where the coastline is clearly erroding however.

Wow. Where to begin?

Freedom of choice verus calculated risk, plus $ to insure and desire to have = put a damn house on the beach.

Humans don’t avoid everything ‘risky’ or perceived to be risky.

I seriously think your issues are philosophical in nature, or require some research to determine whether your premise (It’s dangerous I tell ya!) is valid… and then it could wind up in the Great Debate forum (is it more dangerous?) or the Opinion forum (Hey, it’s dangerous and I don’t care).

People accept risk, and if they can take some action to offset it (Insurance, evacuation, etc) then they don’t worry much more about it. And some of the risks you touch on are so infitessimely small as to not warrant any thought, lest you can prove otherwise.

I grew up in California; very few people care much about the earthquakes. There have only been a few truly destructive quakes in my lifetime, but here in St. Paul, the temperature goes below zero every single winter, for days at a time… I’d gladly take the risk of an earthquake over winter any day; unfortunately, the relatively low chance of earthquake or other biblical plagues doesn’t drop the cost of housing in California to match that of the Midwest…

There isn’t such a place in the US (or, I suspect, in the world) where you can escape natural disasters. Northern Illinois had an earthquake this year. Maine can get a tornado now and then. Plenty of places flood. Heck, we’ve had some large brushfires in Illinois, and several years ago, Chicago had hundreds of people die in the span of a week or two due to heat. No matter where you move, you’re trading one risk for another, or trading away a number of advantages for less risk, or what have you.

Many beach houses are insured by the federal government because private insurers won’t go anywhere near them. So rather than doing the sensible thing and simply not building there, people build houses which just get knocked down and the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill.

Yes, federal insurance. Doesn’t Mr John Stosel of 20/20 fame who complains about waste and abuse in many segments own a beachfront home insured by the government?

I read an article about that. I think it was by Stossel himself. Apparently he had a beach house that washed away twice, and had no trouble getting a federal payoff for them both. Then he bought a house in a more sensible location. Apparently it was one of several experiences that lead him to giving up his liberal ways. :slight_smile:

From this I think you mean the insurance companies profit when people rebuild in “dangerous” areas and their houses get knocked down again. In fact, insurance companies LOSE tons of money during widespread natural disasters…there were a couple of hurricanes in Florida within the last 20 years that had a huge negative impact on the insurance companies.

Insurance companies make money when you buy insurance and nothing happens to your house or car or whatever.

The people that live on those barrier islands in North Carolina drive me nuts. Every time we see them on TV, complaining about the hurricane that destroyed their house (or is about to), I want to reach thru my TV set, grab them by the shirt, and yell, “Dude! You built your house on a freaking sand bar! And that sand bar is along a stretch of coastline that has a proven track record of getting pounded by a hurricane every few years! How can you be the least tiny bit shocked that your house was washed away?”

Exactly! or people who build big luxury homes in the middle of forrest .

I suppose that’s possible, but not in all cases. And I’d really like to see a cite for a federal insurance program for beach house. And what kind of insurance - flood? Fire? Earthquake? The fine folks in Malibu have either the most expensive insurance policies in the world, or none at all, and they regularly get every disaster possible. The underwriters simply can’t cover property that refuses to stay in one place for very long. When the Malibu homes burn, slide, shake to pieces or wash away, the owners are very much on their own dime.
You may be thinking of disaster aid, but that’s a different concept. Earthquake insurance is a very ephemeral thing, indeed, and I don’t think the federal government has any program at all providing it. Flood insurance, yes, but not earthquake. They do require insurance companies operating in California to offer it, but at rates and deductibles that make it very impracticle. But it’s there, if you’re really worried.

Here’s your cite. It’s flood insurance. People who buy houses in flood-prone areas are required by law to purchase it.

It’s not legally mandatory. From your cited site:

“Nearly 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the NFIP by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary.”
You might be thinking of lenders that require flood insurance before making mortgage loans in flood plains.

I can see where someone would be willing to gamble in Florida and rebuild. Just because they were wiped out one year does not mean it will happen every year thereafter.

But what about folks with houses on the banks of rivers, particularly in the northern regions where there’s an actual winter and inevitable flooding EVERY spring?

I see the same news report every year around March where they interview these people and they seem genuinely surprised that their basements were flooded once again.?? Go figure.

I know about the flood insurance. I was required to buy some a few years ago for a period of time while the Corps of Engineers was shoring up some levy upstream of us to finish a flood control project. It’s specific insurance for specificly designated areas. First of all, it’s still insurance and you have to buy it. While it’s federally sponsored to reduce catastrophic liability to individual companies, it still moves through established commercial underwriters who take the risk - not taxpayers.

Back to the OP, I, like most others who live in California, discount the very rare risk of a good shaker, for the otherwise good weather, among a lot of other reasons. But that isn’t even the point. The OP presumes that there are safer places to live, and that the country could get along fine if nobody lived: On the west coast (storms/earthquakes); the midwest (tornadoes); the gulf coast/ east coast - all of it (hurricanes); the northeast/mid-atlantic/great lakes/any mountainous area (deadly winter blizzards, any city (crime/risk of horrible traffic mutliation on a daily basis).
Do tell. Where can we all go to be safe. All of us. I truly don’t mean that in a snarky way. People do go where it is just insane to put up a house, but one man’s risk is another man’s slice of heaven.

Hell. why would people live in Tornado Alley? At least with a hurricane you get a little warning first. (OK, not so wtih earthquakes, but still…)

Tornado alley is a HUGE swath of the country - from central Texas up the midwest. Do you figure people in Scotland panic when London gets hit with a huge storm? The distances are about the same… I live in north Texas, right in the supposed “alley”, and in the course of a bad year you might hear about three or for possible tornados within a couple hour’s drive from home. It’s rare to have one close enough to worry about, and in 32 years of living in Texas I’ve only ever seen one funnel cloud with my own eyes - far away, on the horizon.

We’re probably in more danger being in the glide path for the tiny airport near our home than from any scary weather.

I can say one thing positive about living in West Virginia: we only get floods. No quakes, no twisters, no hurricanes :slight_smile:


You know what drives me nuts? Idiots who refuse to leave when there’s an evacuation order because a giant hurricane is coming. People like that are putting others at risk, like emergency crews who have to stick around to pick up the bodies of the morons who thought they could weather the storm. They oughta start slapping big giant fines on people who won’t leave, grrr.