Natural disasters around the world are occurring at an alarming rate in 2018. Every few weeks, we're witnessing earthquakes that demolish whole cities, wildfires that burn thousands of acres, and cyclones that cause mass flooding and property damage. In the wake of these disasters, people grieve the losses of loved ones and destroyed property while anticipating the long road back to personal and communal recovery.
Whether they're raging wild fires, deluges of violent rain, or forceful movements in the earth's crusts, the impact of natural disasters is merciless and immeasurable. High death tolls and property damage leave civilians devastated. And it's not only families and cities who suffer in the aftermath. The scope of these events inevitably causes political, social, and economic turmoil, amplifying the tragedy and creating a vulnerable climate.
Historically, some natural disasters have almost ended the world. This is why it's so important to keep an eye on the worst natural disasters of 2018 and consider the important environmental issues affecting the world. Ensuring we have a positive impact on the environment can help create a better future and that natural disasters in 2019 cause less loss.
Date: started September 13
Areas Affected: US East Coast, primary the Carolinas
Cause: The hurricane was caused by naturally occurring weather patterns
Damages: Within 24 hours of landfall, the massive hurricane flooded homes and streets in North Carolina, prompting evacuations. The Category 1 hurricane slowed to 2-3 mph, which means the Carolinas suffered a 24-hour cycle of torrential rain and hurricane winds up to 90 mph. Up to 40 inches of rain flooded areas of the Carolinas. Over 620,000 people lost power in North and South Carolina. On Monday, September 17, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression, but it still had winds up to 30 mph. Several rivers, including Cape Fear, Little, Neuse, and Rocky Rivers, hit major flood stage in only two days.
A week after the hurricane, major highways remained flooded and closed. A damn at the LV Sutton Power Station failed, and officials are worried that the 400,000 cubic yards of coal ash - which contains toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, and lead - could contaminate nearby Cape Fear River.
Death: 42 and counting
Super Typhoon Mangkhut
Date: Started week of September 9, 2018
Areas Affected: Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, and southern China
Cause: natural occurring weather patterns
Damages: The typhoon caused massive flooding and power loss throughout Guam and Marshall. Residents of the Philippines started evacuating on September 14 in anticipation of the Category 5 hurricane. On September 16, the typhoon made landfall in Guangdong, China, killing four people. Winds reached up to 107 mph and prompted emergency officials to evacuate more than three million people. Hundreds of houses went powerless, and extensive flooding plagued coastal areas. In the Phillipines, 54 people were confirmed dead from the storms, and even more were reported missing.
The After-Effects Of Tropical Storm Lane
Date: started August 23, 2018
Areas Affected: Big Island of Hawaii
Cause: Tropical Storm Lane, which started as a hurricane but was later downgraded.
Damages: after five days, over 51 inches of torrential rain hit the Big Island. This island was hit hardest, and families were forced to evacuate to dodge mudslides and other collateral damage. Dozens of people needed to be rescued from heavily-flooded areas. The downpour washed out streets, damaged homes, and sparked wildfires. The heavy rainfall also combined with lava from the rift zone created steamy white-out conditions.
Even though Tropical Storm Lane has passed, Hawaii is not in the clear yet. Tropical Storm Miriam may turn into a hurricane, and as of August 27, officials say the storm could increase in intensity and present more problems for the islands.
Date: Active since July 23, 2018.
Areas Affected: All over the state, from Redding in Northern California to Riverside County in Southern California.
Cause: Record-high temperatures combined with dry vegetation led to 17 active fires across the Golden State. The Carr fire is the most ruinous of the wildfires, and experts say it's the seventh most destructive fire in California history–and it's still growing. Firefighters from 16 states joined the containment efforts, making the total amount of firefighting personnel 12,000.
Police charged Brandon N. McGlover for arson. Authorities believe he started the Cranston Fire and several other small fires.
Damages: Over 103,000 acres of land burned at and around Redding. The Ferguson Fire scorched 57,846 acres. In addition, the Mendocino Complex Fire has already burned tens of thousands of acres, but an exact calculation has not been made. Experts estimate fires destroyed 300,000 total acres across the state.