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.


How a Sharknado Would Work

It's hard to resist a movie where bloodthirsty beasts fall from the sky, especially if Ian Ziering stars! How might the science behind this B movie work?

10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado

To stay safe during a tornado, it's important to separate fact from fiction. Should you open windows during a storm? Is one corner of the basement safer than another? We answer those questions and more.

Are tornadoes getting stronger?

Some of the most expensive tornadoes in American history have touched down in the past few years, leading researchers to wonder whether they're getting stronger. Are tornadoes really becoming more destructive?

How can rocks predict earthquakes?

We can predict hurricanes days in advance. We know when a volcano is about to blow its lid. But we still can't tell when an earthquake's going to shake things up. In their search for an answer, scientists have turned to an unlikely source: rocks.

Could a single volcanic eruption destroy all life on Earth?

The question about supervolcanoes, it turns out, isn't whether one could destroy all life on Earth. It's when will it do it again. Wait, what?

Can you really outrun a fire?

It sounds simple enough. A wildfire is burning in your immediate area, so you turn from it and run. But getting away from a fire on foot may not be as easy as you think.

Can you really outrun a flood?

Out of nowhere comes a flash flood, causing water to rise quickly in your immediate area. Should you jump in your vehicle to get away from the floodwaters or try to escape by foot? Trying to outrun a flood is a bad idea. Here's why.

Can you really outrun a tornado?

A tornado warning has just been activated in your area. Should you hunker down where you are, or should you hop in your vehicle and drive away? Trying to outrun a tornado sounds like a reasonable idea, but is it really?

Can you really outrun a volcano?

In the movies it looks so easy. A team of scientists are working near the crater of a volcano when it suddenly erupts. They jump in their vehicle and outrace the surging lava flow to safety. In reality, it just doesn't happen that way.

Could you really outrun a blast of deadly cold?

You're on a winter hike on a snowy path through the mountains when an icy blast of cold air swoops in. It's about to get dangerously cold, and you have a decision to make. Should you stay where you are or try to outrun the deadly cold?