We're not sure that anyone used these exact words, but it cannot be denied that in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction of New Orleans, the overriding attitude from the scientific community was "We told you so."
Which made us wonder: What other natural disaster do scientists know are coming that we will all pretend we knew were coming, too? If you answered, "Major California earthquake," you're wrong. Even the illiterate know that California will one day be an uninhabited island visible only from the beaches of Utah.
We wanted to dig deeper....[The story gets more serious and outlines possible scenarios for next five U.S. natural disasters.] - "The Next Five Disasters", The Wave Magazine, Oct 5-18, 2005
Before we get to the list of U.S. disasters waiting to happen, I'd like to point you to the Recovery 2.0 Wiki which is meant to prepare in advance for the next disaster in terms of web & internet & tech infrastructure. Instead of scrambling to get fundraising and disaster relief wikis and people finders up after an event, why not plan ahead?
Maybe even ways to disseminate information quickly as a disaster strikes to save lives (personal experience: even five minutes would have saved many thousands of lives this past Dec 26th). Even if that's simply SMS. For instance (yeah, I know this isn't totally feasible in US), "the Shanghai city government issued a text message to mobile telephones late on Sunday" warning residents of the impending deadly typhoon recently. Ideas? Contribute at recovery2.org. Also keep an eye also on Jeff Jarvis' blog for Recovery 2.0 and Technorati tags recovery2.0 and recovery2.
Ok, the list rolls on...
- Area: Pacific Northwest Event: Mount Rainer awakens
- Area: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas Event: Downtown tornado cluster
- Area: Eastern seaboard Event: Mega-Landslide/Tsunami [Since this one wasn't so obvious, I've included a snippet:]
Every seismologist and geologist is familiar with the mega-landslides that have taken place on the sides of volcanoes over the past 20 million years...
A mega-landslide off the Canary Islands, which [research geophysicist Dr. Stephen N.] Ward calls "one of the steepest places on earth," would result in a wave that is still more than 100 feet tall when it hits the eastern seaboard of the United States.
- Area: Boulder, Colorado Event: Flash Flood
- Area: Entire U.S. Event: Avian Flu Pandemic
(Source: "The Next Five Disasters", The Wave Magazine, Oct 5-18, 2005, not online as yet, but this should be URL next week for Vol 5, Issue 20)
I'm seeing more and more about this flu in the news. There's fear that if the virus mutates then human-to-human transmission could make this flu pandemic worse than the 1918 outbreak of H1N1, which killed 500,000 Americans and 50 million people worldwide.
Check out the October feature story in National Geographic is: The Next Killer Flu.
"The administration has failed to prepare adequately for a flu pandemic," said Senator Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. "The danger of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans was ignored until it was too late. We can't make the same mistake with pandemic flu." - "Bird flu preparation goes global", The New York Times, The Associated Press, Reuters, October 6, 2005
Read more about how we're preparing for the possibility of the bird flu and what scientists are doing with genetic studies including combing for the ancient 1918 virus from autopsy tissue and even flying to Alaska to dig up a mass grave buried in permafrost.