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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.

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What It’s Like to Experience a Category 5 Hurricane

'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.

What Hurricane Categories Really Mean

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

Why the Inside of a Tornado Gets Super Cold, Leaves You Gasping for Air

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.

Is a Double Hurricane Something You Should Start Freaking Out About?

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?

Could Humans Force a Volcanic Eruption?

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

China's Great Flood May No Longer Be Just a Myth

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

Saguaro Cacti Thrive When the World's Massive Volcanoes Erupt, Study Finds

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

10 Times Humanity Fought Against Nature (and Won)

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.

Evidence Two Ancient Tsunamis Reshaped Mars Points to Potential for Life

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.

Should You Get in Your Bathtub During a Tornado?

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?

Should You Open Your Windows During a Tornado?

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.

Do tornadoes really avoid mountains?

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?

Are underpasses safe during a tornado?

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?

Can a tornado cross a river?

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?

Can a Waterspout Turn Into a Tornado?

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.

Do tornadoes disproportionately strike trailer parks?

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.

Do tornadoes really avoid cities?

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.

10 Ways the Earth Is Trying to Kill You

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.

Do tornadoes only occur in North America?

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?

Is there any place on Earth that's safe from natural disasters?

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?

Do tornadoes always move from west to east?

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?

How Supervolcanoes Work

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?

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

Separating fact from fiction when it comes to tornado safety could mean the difference between life and death.

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?

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