What kind of natural disaster do you fear the most? Hurricane? Flood? Tornado? Mudslide? Solar flare? Zombie apocalypse? Elections? Your answer probably depends in part on where you live, how much news you watch and what was the last disaster movie you saw. A new survey polled Americans on which natural disaster they feared the most and the shocking (was it lightning?) answer defied the odds and blew away (wind storms?) the competition. The natural disaster Americans fear the most is … Not so fast. While you’re thinking about which type of disaster YOU fear the most, let’s look at the survey. It was conducted by Sperling’s Best Places, which is run by Bert Sperling, the “Guy Who Picks The Best Places” who has lived in Florida, California, Alaska and Oregon and since 1999 has run a free site where he provides and categorizes data on thousands of metropolitan areas, cities and neighborhoods. The Sperling site has a comprehensive database that allows users to rank places in a wide variety of ways in order to help people find a preferable place to live and help city officials improve their quality of life, fix problems and move their locations up the lists. If the “Most feared natural disasters in America” list was based strictly on number of deaths from 1974 to 2004 (a survey by University of South Carolina researchers), the answer would be heat or drought (3,906), followed by severe weather (thunderstorms – 3,762), winter weather (3,612), flooding 2,788), tornadoes (2.317), lightning (2,261), coastal storm surges (456), hurricanes (304), geophysical disasters (earthquakes – 302), mass movement (land and mudslides – 170) and wildfire (84).
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