October 04, 2007

Shake It Up, Burn It Down ... California's Natural Disasters

Nature can be a terrifying force, and each year the U.S. experiences it's fair share of nature's mayhem. Devastating hurricanes slam the southeast ... violent tornados tear through the midwest ... blizzards bury the north ... and southern California watches it all on TV while enjoying moderate temperatures and sunny skies. "Oooh, only 62 today .. better pull out a sweatshirt." But not so fast. California weather may be idyllic, but nature's fury has not left this great state untouched.

California has earthquakes. And moving to California, I was constantly reminded that at any moment "the big one" could hit and rock the state back to the Stone Ages, leveling cities and swallowing up whole cultures. "How could you possibly want to move to a place with earthquakes?" Friends, friends ... nothing is going to get swallowed up. If you do your reading, you will find in the "Putting down roots in earthquake country" brochure that large gaping crevices inhaling the helpless masses during an earthquake is a complete Hollywood myth. If you ever experience such a phenomenon, you can sit back and chuckle, because this is definitely not an earthquake. Then you can pull out your trumpet and play along with the heavenly angels because the end of the world is probably upon you.

Cracks everywhere!
SoCal faultlines

But how about all that shaking. Well, as the Southern California Earthquake Data Center can attest, there are over 40 earthquakes a day in California!!! You can hardly stand up straight here! Actually, despite the fact that I have experienced an estimated 30,000 quakes since moving to California, I have yet to feel the rumblings. But that day may come unexpectedly, and I need to be prepared.
California residents are frequently reminded of the importance of being prepared. We are given such timely advice as protect your head and neck, don't run toward downed electrical wires, tie your belongings to the walls, and be ready to "stop, drop, and roll" at a moments notice. Wait ... maybe that last one was in case of California's second most famous natural disaster, the wild fire.
Wild fires are no laughing matter. Every year, thousands of acres of dry tinder burn to the ground in California, threatening countless rich white folks with houses in the hills. To avoid property damage due to wild fires, there is a simple solution ... don't buy houses in the hills! Come join us in the streets of Long Beach! Barring an outbreak of riots or illegal fireworks displays, it is highly unlikely you will ever be affected by "wild" fires in Long Beach. But if you do, however, find yourself out in the trees on a sunny autumn day with the dry "Santa Ana wind" blowing through your hair, causing your lips to crack and nose to bleed ... do be careful and control your inner pyro.


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