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.