Natural Disasters

Unpredictable forces of nature like tornadoes and hurricanes can have a devastating impact on humans and our environment. Learn how natural disasters work and how science aims to better predict them.


When a major storm is barreling down, the reasons why some people choose to shelter in place are complicated.

Words matter when talking about those seeking shelter from the storm. What's the difference between hurricane evacuees and refugees?

Historic Hurricane Irma is being supercharged by the effects of climate change heating Earth's oceans.

'You really can't describe to anybody what it's like to sit through a hurricane,' says Ruth Clark, who lived through Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

Hurricanes are the strongest storms on the planet. How we categorize them has helped save lives.

Researchers from Montreal's Concordia University have figured out why the air inside a tornado vortex is cooler and less dense than the surrounding air.

What happens when two unpredictable storms show up to dance? And what about when one finally heads out to sea — then abruptly turns inland again for a one-two punch?

It's every evil mad scientist's dream. Could it ever be a reality?

According to Chinese mythology, a great flood once swept the land. Now geologists have found reason to believe that the legendary catastrophe was real.

New research links massive historic volcanic eruptions in Asia to a baby boom generation of the iconic Sonoran Desert cactus.

Trying to wrangle Mother Nature has successfully saved millions of lives, even if, at other times, it's quite literally blown up in our faces.

Billions of years ago, asteroid strikes caused mega-tsunamis made up of liquid water and frozen ice, scarring the red planet forever, according to new findings.

Your bathtub is great for taking a soak, giving the kids a bath, or even washing the dog. But can it protect you during a tornado? Read on to find out why — and why not.

There's a tornado coming! What do you do first? Grab your valuables? Seek shelter? Panic? Open the windows? Wait, what? Some say opening the windows in your house makes a tornado cause less damage. Read on to find out the truth.

Every year during tornado season, we see devastating effects of twisters in flat regions. But what about mountains? Do tornadoes steer clear of mountainous landscapes?

If only all tornadoes took us to the Land of Oz. Unfortunately, they only force us to seek safe shelter. If you're driving with a twister on the horizon, is it safe to ride out the tornado in an underpass?

Twisters are among the most frightening weather events since, well, forever. Is it true that a tornado can't jump a body of water? Are you safe if you grab a boat and paddle away?

Have you ever watched a waterspout move over the ocean or a lake from what you thought was a safe distance? Don't get too comfortable next time. Waterspouts and tornadoes are closely related.

If you live in a mobile home park, are you more likely to be hit by a tornado? Media images certainly make it seem that way. Find out if there's any truth to this scary stereotype.

Are you safer from tornadoes if you live in a city? Would Dorothy have ended up in Oz if she lived in New York rather than Kansas? Let's separate fact from fiction.

Mother Earth seems to have a love/hate thing going on with humans. While the planet we call home has all the essentials we need for life, it also has some nasty — and deadly — surprises.

North America certainly has many claims to fame. It's got the Great Lakes, the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls -- all pretty impressive stuff. But can it claim tornadoes as uniquely its own -- and if so, what's up with that?

Determining the safest place on Earth can be a little tricky. After all, if we all knew where it was, wouldn't we all be clamoring to live there already? And anyway, what do we even mean by "safe" -- and safe from what?

Some things in this world you can just count on. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Certain types of birds will always fly south for the winter. But do tornadoes really only move from west to east -- and if so, why?

Only a few natural events pack the power to knock global civilization on its heels. One is a planet-killing meteor. Care to guess the other?