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What Are Natural Disasters?

Natural disasters are severely damaging weather events that have both dangerous and costly repercussions. These extreme events can be deadly and financially devastating to a community, demolishing expensive infrastructure, homes, and the environment.

Types of Natural Disasters in North America

Natural Disasters in the U.S.

  • Earthquakes: Earthquakes occur at fault lines where the earth is less stable. The San Andreas fault line runs through California, resulting in a high number of earthquakes there and in many of the surrounding states like Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. However, the most intense earthquakes recorded in the U.S. have been in Alaska. 
  • Droughts: Droughts occur most often in the southern and western parts of the U.S., affecting everything from available water for consumption to tourism to energy production.
  • Mudslides: Mudslides and landslides occur when an excess of saturation weakens and displaces the ground. States near mountainous regions, like Washington, California, and Oregon, tend to have the most landslides.
  • Flooding: While flooding can impact any state, coastal communities and those near rivers are at an increased risk of water damage. 
  • Hurricanes: Hurricanes hit the east coast of the U.S. hard. Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana have seen the most over the years due to their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. These states experience hurricanes anywhere from June 1 to November 30.
  • Tornadoes: Tornadoes affect many parts of the U.S., but are most common in the aptly named Tornado Alley, where cold air from Canada mixes with warm moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Texas and Oklahoma see the most, especially in May and June.
  • Tsunamis: Tsunamis develop from earthquakes and seismic activity. The west coast of the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska, have been affected by these huge tidal waves in the past. 

Natural Disasters in Mexico

  • Tropical storms: Tropical storms and hurricanes can hit Mexico from spring to fall, as it is situated between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
  • Earthquakes: Mexico is located on the Ring of Fire, which contains 75% of all volcanoes. Because of the eruptions and other seismic activity here, earthquakes can occur all throughout the country at any time. 

Natural Disasters in Canada

  • Flooding: Flooding severely affected British Columbia in 2021 after wildfires destroyed tons of vegetation, which had helped to absorb excess amounts of water.
  • Hurricanes: While they tend to be less frequent and less severe than hurricanes experienced in the U.S. or Mexico, Canada has seen its fair share of hurricanes, with the eastern provinces most at risk. 
  • Tornadoes: Tornadoes impact the southern regions of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick. The country sees 60 tornadoes on average each year
  • Earthquakes: Canada experiences around 4,000 earthquakes every year. These are usually found along the coasts. 
  • Landslides: Heavy bouts of rain can cause landslides. Mountainous regions of the country, like the Canadian Rockies, see many landslides each year.

Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters

There are many natural and manmade causes for natural disasters, as well as a plethora of damaging repercussions that impact the environment, daily life, and infrastructure.

Possible Causes

  • Deforestation: The removal of trees weakens the water-absorbing root system in an area, making flooding more difficult to control. This leads to an increase of erosion.  
  • Erosion: The instability of land due to erosion can create dangerous sinkholes and landslides. 
  • Climate change: The warming of the earth exacerbates the heating of the ocean. This increases the likelihood of unstable and extreme weather patterns like hurricanes and tsunamis. Earth increasing in temperature also amplifies the possibility of droughts. 
  • Movement in the Earth’s crust: Seismic activity, like the natural shifting of tectonic plates, can induce earthquakes, sinkholes, and tsunamis.  
  • Changing ocean currents: When ocean currents change, the water can become warmer, providing the perfect conditions for a tropical storm. 

Possible Effects

  • Loss of life: On average, there are 68,000 natural-disaster related fatalities every year. 
  • Erosion: The extreme flooding, high winds, and landslides associated with many forms of natural disasters can devastate the land. 
  • Private property damage: One-third of U.S. homes are at high risk of being impacted by a natural disaster. 2020 saw both a record number of hurricanes and the most wildfires ever recorded. 
  • Public property damage: No form of infrastructure is completely safe from natural disasters. Schools, bridges, public transit, factories and roadways are at risk of damage or collapse. 
  • Economic loss: Because affected people need to rebuild their community after a natural disaster, unemployment and mortgage delinquency skyrocket, greatly impacting the local and national economy. In 2020, natural disasters caused over $268 billion of global economic loss.  

How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

There are ways to prepare your home and community for a natural disaster.

Phases of Disaster Management

The phases of governmental disaster management are in place to assist areas before, during, and after experiencing a natural disaster.  

  • Mitigation of effects: This phase includes any actions taken to limit the potential causes and subsequent effects of a natural disaster. This encompasses the reinforcement of structures like homes and infrastructure, obtaining insurance to minimize reparative costs, and the implementation of flood barriers and erosion control
  • Preparation: In this stage, education is key. Developing a thorough plan of action in case of emergency, identifying areas that are more subject to damage, and gathering necessary supplies like food and water will prove beneficial if a natural disaster occurs.
  • Response: This phase is enacted post-disaster. Search and rescue missions are conducted and aid is provided to affected communities in the form of medical care, shelter, and nourishment.
  • Recovery: Restorative service begins, including the removal of debris and the rebuilding of infrastructure. 

Prevention of Natural Disasters: TrapBag Barriers

TrapBags are extremely effective barriers that help to prevent the damaging effects of various natural disasters. TrapBags can be arranged to work as:

  • Flood barriers: When a hurricane or extreme storm hits, TrapBag flood barriers can divert the damaging flow of water. TrapBags can even be arranged as a seawall alternative, providing necessary protection to coastal communities. 
  • Erosion control: Extreme winds and rising water levels associated with natural disasters can weaken the integrity of the land. TrapBag barriers can keep land safe from eroding, ensuring property values stay high and the ecosystem is intact.
  • Infrastructure support: TrapBags can be arranged to provide additional stability to bridges and dams during natural disasters, mitigating extensive damage and expensive repairs. 
  • Diversion walls: During mudslides, land can tumble into buildings and homes, leaving huge amounts of damage in their wake. TrapBags can be filled with concrete to build incredibly sturdy protective walls that block and divert mudslide and landslide debris. 
  • Dams: Reliable dams are crucial in the event of natural disaster-induced flooding. TrapBags can be arranged to block and redirect water, saving communities costly repairs later.
  • Levees: This form of TrapBag water barrier prevents flood waters from infiltrating elevated surfaces, like roadways and agricultural plots.
  • Water containment: During periods of droughts, TrapBags can create leakproof reservoirs. 
  • Stormwater containment: Natural disasters often result in contaminated runoff. If not properly handled, this debris-filled water can destroy land and pollute water sources. TrapBag stormwater detention basins help communities to comply with EPA regulations, keeping the inhabitants and environment safe and healthy. 
  • Spill control: Chemical and/or oil spills, like stormwater runoff, can be extremely detrimental to the environment. Due to their incredible strength and durability, TrapBags are a great solution to retaining toxic chemicals. 

Beneficial Properties of TrapBags

TrapBag barriers are superior forms of protection and prevention during natural disasters, as they are:

  • Versatile: TrapBags can be filled with a variety of substances including sand, washed gravel, and concrete. They can create many types of structures, as well as offer support during many forms of natural disasters. 
  • Durable and dependable: The exterior strength of TrapBags, along with the leakproof, accordion structure, makes them extremely reliable forms of protective and preventive barriers.
  • Easily installed: Unlike many other forms of protection, TrapBags do not require heavy machinery to be placed. Installation is made simple by the interconnected structure.
  • Quick to deploy: Natural disasters can happen quickly. TrapBags are rapidly deployable, offering a quick and strong form of protection. 

Use TrapBags for Protection from Natural Disasters 

Disastrous natural disasters happen every year, and no area is free of some sort of extreme weather event, whether it’s flooding from a heavy rain storm or erosion from a landslide. Utilize TrapBags for all of your prevention and protection needs. Message us today to learn more, or place an order now to give you peace of mind during a natural disaster.  

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