The Maximums of Maximums: The Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Other Disasters That Worry Emergency Planners Most – The Atlantic

Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the “maximums of maximums” that keep emergency planners up at night.

The biggest disasters seem so far out of the range of the normal possibilities of daily life that it’s nearly impossible to even envision the scale of the destruction and upheaval, even for people who have survived one. Huge hurricanes could all but wash major cities away. Earthquakes on the West Coast and even in the center of the country could knock out power for months, make running water a distant memory, and deprive residents of the roofs over their heads. A deadly epidemic, such as the U.S. hasn’t seen in 97 years, could take the lives of tens of thousands. A terrorist could unleash an improvised nuclear device in a major city, killing thousands—an event without historical precedent.

For the full article by David A. Graham featured online at, click HERE.