'Safest Place to Live' Has Me Quaking in My Flip Flops

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safest place to live in americaNatural disasters have been brutal this year. The flood waters in Memphis come right on the heels of the devastating tornadoes in Alabama and the wildfires in Texas. While we discuss updating a house in the highly likely event of an earthquake, I find myself looking around for somewhere -- anywhere -- that doesn’t require purchasing extra insurance in the event of an act of god.

I've lived in multiple areas that are marked for destruction, so it's actually kind of amazing that I haven't given more thought to this. I've been through tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, a hurricane in New York (not to mention that whole terrorist attack thing), a tsunami watch in California, an evacuation due to fire in that same state, and now am bracing myself and my family for the big one. Because it’s coming, oh it’s coming.

If I were a smarter lady, I’d probably be looking at real estate in the safest place in America.

And then I'd move my butt to Storrs, Connecticut. The moderate temperature, non-hurricane area of calm makes this town a safe bet for worriers. Weather-wise, that is. Since the University of Connecticut is there, who knows what happens after dark.

Slate did some scientific and some unscientific research to identify the safest place -- natural disaster-wise -- in the United States. States with bad reputations for weather (looking at you California, Louisiana) were automatically knocked out. Then the crew checked for presidential declarations of natural disasters from the years 1995 until 2004. We’re talking hurricanes, floods, fires, blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes, heat waves, mudslides, and even volcanoes. States that had more than their fair share did not make the cut, and the final three states turned out to be Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The winning city, of course, had to be inland and away from any hurricane damage.

I don’t have a hankering to move to any of these states, although they’re all perfectly lovely, so I guess I’ll go on living in my triple-threat zone of Los Angeles. I do realize people think those of us who stay here knowing the big one is coming in the next 30 years are crazy. I think that too. But gee the weather’s nice. (It also, apparently, melts your brain to live in such SoCal grooviness.) But I do have a plan to beat the big one: If I wind up here 29 years from now and my home has yet to be rocked by a massive earthquake, I’m moving before my luck runs out. I’m no dummy.

Do you live in a natural disaster zone? Why, god, why?


Image via Seansie/Flickr

home life, home safety, newsworthy

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Wish2Be Wish2Be

Problem is that its entirely tooo expensive to live in those towns and states. Especially in this economy :(

KBSSJ5 KBSSJ5

I live in RI and that's a major plus around here no major weather activity. It snows (a lot at times) but that's about it.

Martha Mardueño

The Big One is only supposed to be around an 8.0 wich is 32 times smaller than the one in Japan. So it's not that bad. Most of the structures in California are built to withstand and earthquake of that magnitude. the biggest threat is the damage to life lines like sewers, gas lines, and all that.

Vanessa Pereira-Hagen

I live in RI too!  As all this craziness is happening elsewhere, we feel lucky to live in RI!.. we seem awfully fortunate to have only dealt with minor hurricanes and the flooding we had last year (that sucked)!

nonmember avatar Thanatos

I live in Tornado Alley a couple of miles from the Mississippi River in The Delta region just North of Memphis. Why? Because weather/natural disasters has NEVER been a criteria for where I live. Shit happens and you deal with it.

Yep, you may live in a place with few chances of nature bitch slapping you, but what's the crime rate? Unemployment rate? Housing costs? Cost of living? How good are the schools? How fire resistant is your home? What are the rate of traffic accidents? There's no such thing as safe - you just forgot something!

Aislynn Ribbe Locklear

We used to think we lived in a pretty safe place - southwest Virginia. We are four or five hours from the coast, so hurricanes don't affect us badly; the mountains are old, so little earthquake risk; it's not flat, so not as much flooding; and also little tornado activity because the mountains would block it, right? Mid-Atlantic would also equal less severe snowstorms. We felt pretty safe.


However, in the last year we have had monstrous snows, disastrous tornados, and even a small earthquake. I've since learned there's a fault line nearby, and in my mind, if California falls off the edge, the tectonic plates throughout the rest of the country will also be moving. Joy.

mommy... mommythree0508

I live in Louisiana and I'm not moving anywhere LOL.

nonmember avatar Shella

I live in the city south of Memphis and this flood, while tragic, is not common. A flood of this magnitude has not occurred since 1937. I feel perfectly safe living here!I agree with Thanatos!

Lisa Look Adams

I live in the northwestern part of Massachusetts. Whenever I watch national weather and news stories, I always thank heaven that my family lives here....about 2.5 hours from Boston and 3.5 hours from NYC. We can easily visit any cool city any time while we are surrounded by beautiful farm country while we're home.

clean... cleanaturalady

Yes.  Tornados abound here in North Texas.

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