A new survey has found Americans fear earthquakes more than any other type of natural disaster. This is despite the fact that earthquakes have only killed 70 people in the U.S. from 1990 to 2016. Several types of natural disasters, like tornadoes, average more deaths per year.
When it comes to natural disasters, Americans fear earthquakes more than anything else. A new survey shows that 21.1 percent of those polled said they’re most fearful of earthquakes, with tornadoes coming in second place at 17.6 percent. Wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and droughts were also among the six types of natural disasters most feared by the 1,100 people surveyed.
Earthquakes worry us for a number of reasons, thanks to their violent nature and the psychological terror of the earth moving beneath our feet. They strike quickly and without warning. Storms, on the other hand, are tracked by meteorologists and can be prepared for or avoided by evacuation.
What about other natural disasters?
But if you’re going to truly frighten yourself over natural disasters, earthquakes are not the most likely to kill you, especially if you don’t live in an earthquake zone. From 1990 to 2016, only 70 people died in the U.S. from earthquakes. That pales in comparison to the 3,263 deaths from tropical cyclones from 1990 to 2017.
In fact, tornadoes average as many deaths per year as earthquakes have killed in the last 27 years combined. Flooding, which can sometimes be a slow-developing natural disaster, kills even more – 84 per year.
And while it isn’t traditionally categorized with the more violent natural disasters, heat is far deadlier than all other types of extreme weather, killing an average of 131 Americans each year.
Only three earthquakes in U.S. history have official death tolls higher than that. But of course when the next Big One hits Cascadia, San Francisco or New Madrid… The consequences will be cataclysmic!
What is the natural disaster you fear the most?