10 Subtle Hints Before a Natural Disaster

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Even after developing transforming technologies and genius ways, one thing human beings haven’t been able to tame is the nature. In fact, we are helpless in front of it, almost at its mercy especially when a natural disaster strikes. These disasters cause millions of deaths each year along with the loss of assets worth billions of dollars. And even after all this, science has still not devised a method to predict the occurrence of a disaster let alone its magnitude. But observing the nature and deciphering signs can allow us to sense a warning soon enough to avoid complete damage and save many lives, including our own. Here are a few signs and warnings that can help you avoid a clash with the nature.

10. Wildfires


Even though wildfires do not affect many human beings directly, it destroys not a part, but in some cases the whole of the ecosystem. The loss of flora and fauna is very high. Even though some wildfires are caused by careless human behaviour, they are mostly termed as a natural disaster. These can be prevented from spreading by paying attention to its signs like sudden, intense heat, smoke clouds, luminance and birds flying away. There are no warning signs or hints for fires to start; they can only be prevented from turning into a disaster.

9. Unusual activity in water bodies (Earthquake)


Even though it is still very hard to predict an earthquake, paying attention to minute changes and taking them seriously might just save your life. The level of water in wells and groundwater tanks might increase or decrease and these fluctuations at times might be a metre high. In addition to this, the water might also turn muddy or in some cases, may even begin to bubble, a hours before the earthquake. Unusual activity may also be observed in flowing water bodies where the flow of water might not only change its speed but also form a different course. Water levels may or may not return to normal after the quake.

8. Rising water levels (Flood)


The most primary sign of an approaching flood is the increasing level of water in the water body/bodies in question. The rising water levels may in turn have various reasons like excessive rain, snow melt etc. The increase in water levels can also be accompanied by roaring sounds produced in the water and also the water turning muddy. As the water rises it may eventually start to run off. In this situation one needs to reach a higher and secure place as soon as possible as contrary to popular believe, the speed of water increases once it starts to flood the area and enter the city. Warnings for floods are mostly issued by the authorities in advance.

7. Avalanches


An avalanche is a natural disaster that involves the sudden and rapid fall of snow down a slope of a mountain. A possible avalanche can be predicted by the quality of snow on the mountain whether it is fine and sticking to the surface or soft and moving. If there are cracks being formed with your steps or skis, the snow is unsafe. A warning for an avalanche could be a recent or even ongoing snowfall and heavy winds. The sound of rumbling snow is an immediate sign of an avalanche which is happening at that moment. In most cases, avalanches are started by people affected by it, thus, they can be avoided if proper precautions are taken.

6. Animal Behavior (Earthquake)


It is a popular notion that animals have a sixth sense, an ability to detect an earthquake days before it happens. Even though retrospective studies show that there might be a connection between abnormal animal behaviour and seismic activity, there is no scientific evidence to prove the same. Though it is well accepted that animals are more sensitive to primary waves than humans and feel it a few seconds before the quake finally strikes, but that is all of a ‘warning’ they have. However a BBC report has concluded that animals living in water like toads, fish and snakes are highly sensitive to its chemistry and can sense the changes caused in it due to stressed rocks days before they finally slip causing the quake.

5. Pre Shocks (Earthquake)


Foreshocks or pre shocks are observed in most cases before the actual or the main shock. The time duration between the two may however differ widely from minutes to even days. A fore shock is much smaller in magnitude than the larger seismic event and is caused because the earth’s crust is unstable several hours before the quake and such pre shocks are only a build up or preparation process prior to the main quake. This can be used as a warning and to ensure one’s safety. Researchers are constantly involved in developing a warning system out of this system of pre, main and after-shocks.

4. Receding Water in the sea (Tsunami)


Since a wave has both crests and troughs, it has been noticed that water level drops drastically (much more than the natural low tide level) just minutes before a tsunami strikes. The water moves because of the activity caused at the sea above the epicenter in order to regain equilibrium. However, it is a huge misconception that this shall happen in all cases. Such a scenario is seen mostly if the shore is far away from the epicenter and did not experience signs of the quakes. The water might also recede more than once i.e. after a series of waves, it can go back and then bigger waves might hit the shore. It is a key to identify such a hint and react to it.

3. Gas Emission (Volcanic Eruption)


An eruption occurs due to the building up of pressure in the volcano’s vents and fissures by the magma and gases accumulated over time. There are various scientific methods that have evolved over time with the help of researches conducted for predicting the eruptions which involve continuous monitoring by volcanologists and are too subtle to be understood by a layman. However, gas emission from the mouth of the mountain is mostly visible and should be considered as a warning for an eruption. Various unusual smells can also be observed accompanied by the gas emissions. Some volcanoes have gas emissions very frequently, then the change in the composition or the chemical makeup of the gases should be noted as premonition to a probable eruption.

2. Visual Evidence (Tornado)


Though prediction of a forthcoming tornado has now become possible and more and more accurate due to the advancing technology and weather radars, visual evidence stays as a hint of the approaching disaster. Identifying these signs is the key. A tornado is mostly preceded by the formation of a dark cloud, strong winds, rain, hail and such. A wall cloud can be seen around thirty minutes before the tornado is formed. These characteristics can be pretty evident if one learns to notice them. However, there are many misconceptions associated with the identification of tornadoes like a green sky will lead to one, but so is not the case. Storm spotting can be done by the weather, fire and police department and also by ordinary citizens.

1. An Earthquake (Tsunami)


Yes, one natural disaster might just be a premonition to another one. The abrupt deformation of tectonic plates leads to an earthquake. When this movement occurs in the sea floor (i.e. when there is an earthquake below the sea) the water above this area suffers sudden displacement. This water hits the shore as tsunami. However, it is not necessary that only an underwater earthquake will cause tsunami. An earthquake with its epicentre near the shore, if lasts more than 20 seconds and is of high magnitude, can result in tsunamis. Tsunami may strike within hours or even minutes after the earthquake.

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