The Week: Most Recent Natural Disasters:Natural Disasters recent posts.en-usTue, 30 Oct 2012 15:15:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Natural Disasters:Natural Disasters from THE WEEKTue, 30 Oct 2012 15:15:00 -0400How do hurricanes get their names?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Since Europeans first came to the Americas and the Caribbean, hurricanes have been named using a variety of systems. First they were named after Catholic saints. Later on, the latitude-longitude positions of a storm&rsquo;s formation was used as a name. This was a little too cumbersome to use in conversation.</p><p class="p1">Military meteorologists started giving female names to storms during World War II, and in 1950 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) adopted the method. The WMO devised a system of rotating, alphabetical names. (Names can be retired at WMO meetings by request from a nation that has...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 30 Oct 2012 15:15:00 -0400The last 'Frankenstorm': Video of the 1938 nor'easter that ravaged New England<img src="" /></P><p>Hurricane Sandy is making its presence known across the Eastern Seaboard, with powerful winds beginning to lash the coast and rain starting to pour down from North Carolina to New York. And as millions of Americans across the East Coast hunker down, some are turning to history as a guide. In 1938, for instance, a&nbsp;category 3 hurricane left 600 people dead in New England.&nbsp;During that ferocious hurricane, also known as the Yankee Clipper and the Long Island Express, the Empire State Building reportedly swayed with wind gusts, and 60 people in New York City alone were killed,&nbsp;says Oren...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 29 Oct 2012 09:05:00 -0400America's war on wildfires<img src="" /></P><p><strong>How many wildfires were there?<br /></strong>More than 45,000, and they destroyed more acres of forest than in any year on record. An unusually mild winter that left little snowpack gave way to a hot, dry summer across much of the South and Midwest, turning huge swaths of the country into a giant tinderbox. Almost 13,000 square miles of land in California, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and other states &mdash; an area larger than Massachusetts &mdash; have been burned by wildfires this year. And the fire season isn't over yet. Last week, 34 large fires were still burning. Over the past decade, there have been six...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 14 Sep 2012 09:55:00 -0400Hurricane Isaac's wrath: Assessing the damage<img src="" /></P><p>Flooding coastal roads and knocking out power to 500,000 homes and businesses, Hurricane Isaac pelted New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast with high winds and soaking rains on Wednesday, seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. The first reports on Isaac's impact were frightening for those with memories of Katrina still raw in their heads, but, as of midday Wednesday, the damage has been limited. Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>Is New Orleans facing another Katrina?</strong><br />No, says New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The city "dodged a bullet" this time. Isaac hit with 80 mile-per...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 29 Aug 2012 13:32:00 -0400Will Hurricane Isaac rival Katrina?<img src="" /></P><p>Forecasters no longer expect Tropical Storm Isaac to rain on the parade of Republicans gathered in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate, but that's where the good news ends. Now that the storm is veering west of Florida, it will have more time to gather strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. That means it will probably be a more powerful hurricane than previously expected by the time it finally crashes ashore. Not only that, but Isaac's new path has it headed straight toward New Orleans, with landfall expected on the seventh anniversary &mdash; to the day...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 27 Aug 2012 16:22:00 -0400The raging Colorado wildfires: A slideshow<img src="" /></P><p>Rains helped cool Colorado's massive wildfires on Wednesday and Thursday, but not before the worst of the blazes, the Waldo Canyon fire, had become the most destructive in the state's history. Flames scorched 28 square miles in and around Colorado Springs, killing two people and destroying 350 homes. Click through for a look at the fight against the devastating fires in Colorado and across the West:</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 06 Jul 2012 08:14:00 -0400The Midwest's deadly tornadoes: 5 miraculous stories<img src="" /></P><p>A flurry of tornadoes in the South and Midwest killed 40 people last week, leaving&nbsp;a path of destruction across five states. But it wasn't all bad. Here, five inspiring stories of survival and miraculous luck:<br /><br /><strong>1. The kids who survived being blown from their home</strong><br />Latonya Stevens blacked out when a tornado ripped apart her North Carolina home. When she came to, only one of her four kids was at her side, and Stevens, fearing the worst, ran outside shouting, "Where's my babies!" The missing children &mdash; ages 3, 4, and 7 &mdash; had been in their rooms upstairs, and were swept away along with...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 07 Mar 2012 15:13:00 -0500The 'terrifying' earthquake footage from inside the Washington Monument<img src="" /></P><p><span><strong>The video: </strong>The National Park Service&nbsp;</span>announced<span>&nbsp;this week that the Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely,&nbsp;as the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that rocked much of the Northeast last month did more damage to the iconic obelisk than was originally disclosed. The organization also released two videos taken from security cameras located in the monument's observation deck, revealing debris falling from the violently shaking structure as terrified visitors quickly scrambled for safety. (Watch the videos below.) According to the <em>AP</em>, there's a crack &mdash; 4 feet long, 1 inch wide ...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 27 Sep 2011 15:40:00 -0400Should scientists be held responsible for earthquake deaths?<img src="" /></P><p>On Tuesday, six Italian scientists and one former government official went on trial for manslaughter for failing to adequately warn the citizens of L'Aquila before a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck on April 6, 2009. Though a series of smaller quakes preceded the fatal temblor, which razed much of the medieval city and killed 309 people, the seven defendants decided at a meeting held a week before it hit that the region was safe. The civil defense official told the public that there was "no danger."&nbsp;Do the scientists really have blood on their hands?</p><p><strong>No. This is a "travesty of justice":</strong> Charging...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 21 Sep 2011 11:04:00 -04006 controversial reactions to Hurricane Irene<img src="" /></P><p>When faced with a massive natural disaster that killed at least 38 people, caused many billions of dollars in damage, and left countless people homeless or without power, it isn't always easy to know the right thing to say. Here, a look at six people (or companies) who may have grabbed the Hurricane Irene spotlight for all the wrong reasons:</p><p><strong>1. Michele Bachmann<br /></strong><em>What she said</em>:&nbsp;"I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?'"&nbsp;</p><p><em>Reaction</em>: "We are willing to...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 30 Aug 2011 13:11:00 -0400Why the Weather Channel is so addictive<img src="" /></P><p>As hurricane mania kicked into high gear over the weekend, <em>NPR</em>'s Linda Holmes&nbsp;spent some 14 hours with her eyes glued to The Weather Channel (and if TWC's stellar ratings are any indication, she wasn't alone). What is it about 24-hour storm coverage that viewers find so fascinating? For starters, says Holmes, the steady stream of factoids from TWC's experts soothes storm anxiety by giving viewers an encyclopedic knowledge of storm surges and cold fronts. We're amused by watching TWC's weather nerds' excitement grow as the storm builds, and we harbor at least some sympathy for drenched reporters...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 30 Aug 2011 11:40:00 -0400Better safe than sorry<img src="" /></P><p>Did the media and the government oversell the dangers of Hurricane Irene? &nbsp;</p><p>Almost as soon as the winds in New York City began to slow, the media began turning a critical eye on the hyperbole surrounding the storm. Before it made landfall, federal and state governments warned of disaster from North Carolina to the top of the Atlantic seaboard. When, thankfully, the storm turned out to be weaker than predicted &mdash; much weaker than some predictions &mdash; the natural response was to criticize those who set off the alarms in the first place.</p><p>For instance, media critic Howard Kurtz of ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 30 Aug 2011 10:05:00 -0400Hurricane Irene in pictures<img src="" /></P><p>Hurricane Irene made landfall on the coast of North Carolina Saturday, churning its way up the East Coast and delivering its share of devastation even though it failed to strike with the force many media outlets were predicting and was downgraded to a tropical storm before hitting New York City Sunday morning: Damages from the storm are expected to climb to more than $13 billion nationally. Here's a look at Irene's path, and what the storm left in its wake:</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 29 Aug 2011 18:10:00 -0400Hurricane Irene: By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p>After slapping the East Coast from North Carolina to Vermont for two wet, windy days, Hurricane Irene slipped into Canada Sunday evening as a weakened tropical storm. The damage was less severe than the worst predictions &mdash; but still considerable &mdash; and communities along the Eastern Seaboard are still bracing for flooding as rivers continue to rise. Here, a by-the-numbers look at some of the punishment Irene exacted on everything from electrical grids to box-office receipts:</p><p><strong>14<br /></strong>Number of U.S. states and territories abused by Hurricane Irene, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 29 Aug 2011 11:12:00 -0400Hurricane hype: Was Irene 'overblown'?<img src="" /></P><p>Hurricane Irene &mdash; which was downgraded Sunday to Tropical Storm Irene &mdash; dumped water all along the East Coast this weekend, flooding towns, washing out roads, and blowing down trees from North Carolina's Outer Banks to Vermont's border with Canada. It was bad &mdash; at least 22 people died &mdash; but it was hardly the end-times scenario warned of on cable TV and by local and national politicians. In fact, "there seems to be a growing consensus that the storm was overblown by the media," says Charlie Spiering in <em>The Washington Examiner</em>. Government officials don't agree: "People say...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 29 Aug 2011 09:14:00 -0400Hurricane Irene: How bad will it be?<img src="" /></P><p>Hurricane hysteria is in full force. As news outlets across the country have been extensively reporting for days, Hurricane Irene is barreling toward the East Coast, and is expected to cause extensive damage from North Carolina all the way up through Massachusetts and New England.&nbsp;Irene will reach the North Carolina coast on Saturday before taking "dead aim at New York City" on Sunday,&nbsp;says the&nbsp;<em>Daily News</em>. Currently, Irene ranks in the "top 50 most intense hurricanes ever observed in the Atlantic basin," according to&nbsp;<em>The Wall Street Journal</em>.&nbsp;Just how bad might the storm...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 26 Aug 2011 17:44:00 -0400