The 'Big One' has scared the bejeezus out of a lot of folks on the West Coast.
The New Yorker magazine recently published a cover story describing how vulnerable the West Coast is to a huge earthquake...
When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades [a mountain range in the Pacific Northwest], will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west – losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries.
The leading earthquake expert – Dr. Chris Goldfinger – bets that "the odds of the big Cascadia earthquake happening in the next fifty years are roughly one in three. The odds of the very big one are roughly one in ten."
The U.S. has had nearly 15,000 earthquakes in the past year...
Most of those were small.
But every couple of years, a "big one" hits... an earthquake above a 7.0 magnitude. The chart below shows the biggest 10 earthquakes to hit in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in the last 40 years:
Notice anything? They're all focused along the western edge of the continent, also part of the Ring of Fire (a ring around the Pacific Ocean plagued by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes).
But the true danger isn't the earthquake... It's the tsunami that follows.
The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins.
By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable.
If that happens, for those on the coast... it's going to be rough living. As the New Yorker article states, "Whoever chooses or has no choice but to stay there will spend three to six months without electricity, one to three years without drinking water and sewage systems, and three or more years without hospitals."
While the threat of one, big devastating earthquake is confined mostly to the West Coast, all of us need to think about the potential havoc natural disasters represent...
More than 43% of U.S. homes are at a high or very high risk from at least one type of natural disaster, according to housing data website RealtyTrac. Whether you're at risk from a hurricane, snowstorm, or earthquake you need to be prepared for the next big disaster.
Any disaster that could leave you without the comforts of modern society for even short periods of time.
Could you survive six months without electricity? A year without a working sewage system? What about just a week? Do you have enough drinking water on hand for your family to rely on?
Two simple tips could save your life...
- Keep enough distilled water to last for at least one week. You'll need a liter per person per day. And when a storm is headed my way (or another crisis that can cause power outages), I fill up my freezer with water containers. A full freezer keeps frozen food cold for 48 hours, twice as long as a half-full freezer.
- And always keep extra food in your house that doesn't require refrigeration. I recently purchased a case of 32 freeze-dried meals. They just need a little water before they're ready to eat. My only worry is what wine to pair with them (cheap reds, I think). I also rotate approximately 50 cans of soup and beans in my cupboard.
Are you living a millionaire lifestyle? Our free daily letter is your guidebook:
This is an "at-minimum" recommendation. It's just the start of the steps that you absolutely must take to protect yourself... and your family...
If you want to be fully prepared for almost any crisis, we encourage you to read Doc's book, The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual, from cover to cover.
It details how to handle real-life crises: from what to do on a crashing jet-liner, to how to ship your assets offshore, to the must-have items for surviving an enduring crisis. Use it as your go-to guide in almost any type of crucial situation.
For current Retirement Millionaire subscribers, you can read an electronic PDF of the book here for free. It might save your life.
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