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The rest of this book deals almost exclusively with the dangers we ourselves create. But every once in a while, mother nature decides to throw a disaster our way. Being prepared and knowing what to do ahead of time can help your family survive these events.

The remainder of this chapter explores different natural safety hazards topic by topic. But first, here are some interesting facts about extreme weather:

The Definition of a Severe Thunderstorm
Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur in the USA each year, only about 10% are classified as “severe.” The National Weather service defines a thunderstorm as severe if…

A) Wind speeds reach 58 mph or faster, or

B) The thunderstorm produces a tornado or tornadoes, or

C) Hail is one inch in diameter or larger.

Facts about extreme weather & natural disasters

  1. The USA experiences more severe weather than any other nation on earth, according to Scott Asbury, a program manager for Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  1. Approximately one-third of the nation’s economy – or roughly $3 trillion – is sensitive to weather and climate, according to the National Weather Service.
  1. Although big weather events get our attention, researchers note that highly publicized single events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires tend to cause fewer than 5% of weather and natural disaster-related deaths. (Gillum, 2008) Here are the leading causes of disaster-related deaths in an average year:
  • Heat/drought: 19.6%
  • Severe weather (Hail, rain, thunderstorm, etc.): 18.8%
  • Winter weather: 18.1%
  • Flooding: 14.0%
  • Tornado: 11.6%
  • Lightning: 11.3%

(Source: Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina)

  1. Flooding is the #1 cause of death from extreme weather.


Every year thousands of US citizens are killed due to extreme weather. Learn about the most threatening types of extreme weather & how to keep your family safe.

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