No Need To Complain About The Weather

The article focuses on the topic of natural phenomena and disasters.

No Need To Complain About The Weather

The «yellow» level of weather hazard is what Muscovites saw in the news feed first of all last weeks. Cold and gloomy spring and ice everywhere. Every year the only thing we do is complaining about the weather. This kind of weather can really be dangerous. A week ago, the weather in Moscow became warmer, and Muscovites watched floods of water from melting snow, and even earlier frosts captured the city in icy chains.

«Snow, rains, slush again» - these are the thoughts appearing in almost every mind. It is uncomfortable and depressing to walk through the streets. We have to wear winter clothes for at least half a year. We are tired of endless traffic jams, dull landscapes outside the windows, lack of sun, and other things caused by weather conditions. We look with envy at photos of sunny views from hot countries and look forward to the onset of real spring in our city. We want the weather be better and the  summer to come right away.

Snow, rains, slush again.

But is it really that sad? If we take a deeper look at all the merits and drawbacks of our Moscow weather, then maybe the opinion of many people will change. In fact, Moscow is a much safer place and part of the planet than we can imagine, compared to other places where the risk of disasters is very high.

Moscow is located in a zone of low seismic activity in the center of the East European Plain. There are no major tectonic movements in the region. Although small underground vibrations are sometimes observed, fortunately, they do not cause a particular danger. The remoteness of the city from the seas and oceans ensures a dry climate and the absence of typhoons, floods, and other serious disasters. To imagine the full scale of the disasters that the residents of Moscow and the Moscow region are deprived of, let us take a look at some of them.

Earthquakes are among the most destructive natural disasters. Most often they occur near the junction of tectonic plates. A third of the world's population lives in seismically hazardous areas, where a catastrophe can happen at any moment. More than 1,000,000 earthquakes are recorded every year. Earthquakes can be triggered by landslides. Volcanic earthquake shocks occur in the bowels of volcanoes, but the most destructive are underwater earthquakes that cause tsunamis.

«Messina earthquake» in 7.5 points occurred in 1908 in Italy in Sicily. Tremors provoked tsunamis that reached 12 meters. 100,000 people died in the end. «Kanto earthquake» of 8.3 points occurred in Japan in 1923, there were more than 350 pushes and tsunami waves up to 15 meters in two days! This disaster killed 170,000 people. «Spitak earthquake» in Armenia of 7, 2 points occurred in 1988. The city of Spitak was completely destroyed in 30 seconds. 150,000 people died. «Tianshan earthquake» was estimated at 8, 2 points and happened in 1976 in China. According to various information sources, the earthquake claimed the lives of 255 to 655,000 people. Cities and villages were wiped off the face of the earth. More than 80% of the world's largest earthquakes occur in an area 40,000 kilometers long, called the «Ring of Fire» or «Belt of Fire», where lithospheric plates collide. That ring runs along the coast of 5 continents: Eurasia, North America, and South America, Australia, and Antarctica. As you can see, the geographic diversity of the locations where disasters have occurred and continue to occur is enormous, and the figures of life losses are dire.

Other types of destructive disasters are hurricanes and tornadoes. A hurricane (typhoon) is a complicated weather phenomenon. The main feature of the hurricane is the extreme wind, its speed is over 30 meters per second, 120 km per hour. Air currents carry dirt, sand, and water with them, resulting in salt currents. If this happens in winter, then avalanches are coming. A strong wind destroys houses, uproots trees, overturns cars. Fires and explosions occur due to damage to power grids. The main place of occurrence of this phenomenon is the ocean, in particular, areas that are located in the tropics. The likelihood of a hurricane increases as you approach the equator. To understand how destructive the power of hurricanes is, let's recall some of them. A strong «Camilla hurricane» happened in 1969 in the USA in the states of Mississippi and Virginia. As a result, 248 people died and more than 8,931 were injured. The wind speed at that moment exceeded 340 km. per hour. More than 120 bridges and thousands of houses were destroyed by water. The 1780 «San Calixto hurricane» killed 22,000 people. It raged near the Caribbean archipelago, touched the islands of the Caribbean and Haiti. The waves reached 7-8 meters in height, the wind speed reached 350 km per hour. «Mitch hurricane» of 1998 affected Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. It claimed the lives of 20,000 people, and the wind speed reached 320 km. per hour. «Katrina hurricane» happened in 2005 is the most destructive in the United States (New Orleans). It killed 1,836 people, 705 people are missing, 80% of the area of New Orleans was flooded.

A tornado is a vortex, in which the air moves from bottom to top. This happens at a very high speed. The air in the tornado is mixed with sand and dust. It is a funnel that «hangs» from a cloud and rests on the ground. The funnel diameter can vary from tens to hundreds of meters. In another way, a tornado is called a «whirlwind». When a tornado approaches, a terrible rumble is heard. The tornado sucks in whatever it can lift off the ground and spirals it up. Although earthquakes and hurricanes are considered more deadly, tornadoes (wind whirl) also represent a greater danger. Let's consider some of them. The disastrous 2011 «Joplin tornado» destroyed more than half of the Joplin city of Missouri. The damage can be estimated at $ 2.8 billion, 158 people died. At its peak, it reached 1.6 km. in wide. It destroyed 7,000 buildings, most of which were residential. «Gainesville tornado» caused losses of $ 13 million, 203 people died. It hit the southwestern United States. Two separate tornadoes linked up near the town of Gainesville, Georgia, and within minutes the entire city center of Gainesville was utterly destroyed. A 1936 «Tupelo tornado» caused $ 3 million in damage and 216 deaths. This tornado struck the Mississippi city in Tupelo. It completely wiped out the residential area of ​​the city, which includes about 48 city blocks. Among those who were saved that day were a mother and a one-year-old boy who later became the greatest musician. His name was Elvis Presley. "Daulatpur-Saturia tornado" is the deadliest tornado. It happened in 1989 in the Manikganj area, Bangladesh. This South Asian country is one of the few countries that periodically suffer from devastating tornadoes. The tornado vortex was 80 km wide. in the area of ​​Dhaka. The storm wiped out more than 20 villages and several large cities, and about 80,000 people lost their homes. The death toll was 1,300.

Volcanic eruptions do not threaten Muscovites either. Fortunately, the places where lava emerges on the surface have long been known. These places represent the joints or places of the interaction of lithospheric plates. In places where the blocks of the earth's crust are most mobile and active, magma gets the opportunity to break out. When a hot liquid leaves the bowels of the earth and comes into contact with air or water, it is called lava. Lava incinerates everything that happens in its path. The most famous active volcano is «Vesuvius». It is located 15 km from Naples in Italy. The last eruption happened quite recently in 1974 and almost wiped out from the face of the Earth two whole Italian cities!

However, in terms of the scale of the catastrophe, this eruption does not compare with the volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The eruption lasted more than a day, ash and dirt ruthlessly destroyed Pompeii. For the inhabitants of Pompeii, before the eruption, the volcano was useful and supplied them with fertile soil rich in minerals. They could not suspect of a further terrible event in such a flourishing and comfortable area. Almost every inhabitant of Pompeii ended his life under a layer of lava, mud, and ash. At the moment, there are much more volcanoes located around the globe than you can imagine. For example, «Unzen» in Japan, «Tambora» and «Krakatoa» in Indonesia, «Mont Pelée» in Martinique, «Nevado del Ruiz» and «Toba» in Colombia, «El Chichón» in Mexico, and many others.

The list can be continued endlessly. The earth is shaking constantly. Destruction and loss of lives, economic losses, not to mention the fear and constant expectation of such unkind nature phenomena. As you can see, we live in a relatively safe place.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we are quite lucky living in Moscow with its location and climate conditions. Plus, remembering the absence of a large number of insects, locusts, cockroaches, mosquitoes, carriers of tropical diseases (like malaria), as well as a huge number of poisonous snakes and dangerous predatory animals at every step, we can confidently say that our life is wonderful.



Text by
Maryana Selezneva