Editorial: Don’t be fooled by this listPublished 9:24am Friday, April 8, 2011
We take umbrage with a list of U.S. cities deemed as 10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters.
The list comes from Wisebread.com. While interesting and provoking, the No. 1 safest city is said to be Chesapeake, Va.
Did the creators of the list already forget about Hurricane Earl? Earl achieved H4 status at is strongest point and was at H3 as it shot right up the East Coast.
Chesapeake is among the agglomeration of cities near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay — Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Suffolk and Hampton.
In late August, the people of the Chesapeake Bay area were worried about Earl striking. But it continued northward and never came on land until reaching Nova Scotia in Canada as a tropical storm.
By no means is our Tornado Alley safe, but the East Coast and Gulf Coast get hit by storms that start in Hurricane Alley (a real term). All Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast cities should be automatically removed from the list.
The other cities in the 10 Safest were:
2. Erie, Penn.
3. Fort Wayne, Ind.
4. Grand Rapids, Mich.
5. Green Bay, Wis.
6. Henderson, Nev.
8. Provo, Utah
9. St. Paul
10. Stamford, Conn. (also on the Atlantic coast)
Here is Wisebread’s methodology: “From a list of American cities with populations over 100,000, those cities that had a higher likelihood of being struck by tornadoes (in Tornado Alley) were eliminated, as were those cities that were more likely to be hit by a hurricane (Gulf Coast cities and some Atlantic Coast cities). Cities that had a higher probability of experiencing a tsunami (Pacific Coast cities) or that were located near active volcanoes (concentrated in the Pacific Northwest) were also eliminated. Finally, cities in areas most likely to experience earthquakes (according to the U.S. Geological Survey) were removed from the list.
“Once the list was narrowed down from 276 to under 100, the top 10 were picked based on low violent crime rates — although not a natural disaster, crime rates are also a relative measure of safety.”
That sounds fair enough, but it leaves us asking: Why “some Atlantic Coast cities”? Where’s the methodology on which coastal places they left in and which they kicked out.
As for the methodology on crime rates, while Chespeake, Va., itself might have low crime rates, the general Norfolk, Va., agglomeration of cities has a bad reputation for crime. The Detroit area ranks as a safer place to live, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Frankly, if we lived in Chesapeake, we wouldn’t be tossing out the plywood for boarding up the house for hurricane winds just because this study claimed we were safe.
In fact, we would bet that Roanoke, Va., much farther inland and with a lower crime rate, is safer from natural disasters, even considering the Appalachians, which are old mountains that rarely have earthquakes.
And six of the 10 deadliest American natural disasters were, of course, hurricanes.