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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Why do people buy up all the bread and milk before a storm hits?

You've heard the weather forecast on the radio: A storm is coming. That means time to hit the grocery store for bread and milk! But why those items, when they're likely to spoil with a power cut?

Did global warming cause Hurricane Sandy?

The thought probably crossed your mind. It crossed ours, too. So here's what we found when we investigated the connection between the Frankenstorm and the global issue.

Hurricane Sandy, October 2012

Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States on Oct. 29, 2012, causing extensive flooding and damage. Millions of homes, businesses and even hospitals lost power in the wake of the storm.

How Fire Tornadoes Work

Inject heat, ash and fire into a spinning mass of air. Watch as a funnel of flames leaps from the ground, reaches for the heavens and then races forward to consume everything in its path. Is such a phenomenon possible?

How Drought Works

What happens when the rains cease and water levels dry up precipitously? Everything from abundant grasses to apex predators suffers the consequences.

Where do hurricanes come from?

Where do hurricanes come from and how are they formed. Find out where hurricanes come from in this article from HowStuffWorks.

If you flew over an earthquake, would you feel the plane shake?

Let's say a big one strikes the home planet. You, however, happen to be flying above the earthquake's epicenter when the natural disaster ripples through. Would you feel it?

How Smokejumpers Work

Smokejumpers are the men and women who specialize in fighting blazes their ground-bound peers can't reach. So who are they, and what's the "Mutilator"?

Does the Bible say the world will end in 2012?

Numerous predictions of a 2012 apocalypse cite the Bible as their source material. But does the good book actually contain this information?

Apocalypse Now? A 2012 Survival Guide

With everything from geomagnetic reversals to serious solar flares forecast for 2012, a person has to have a plan for scraping by at the end of the world. We're happy to help.

Did Nostradamus make any predictions about 2012?

Every time disaster strikes, one man's name arises alongside the obsessive news coverage: Nostradamus. According to some folks, the famed French seer has predicted many of the planet's gloomy twists and turns. What did he have to say about 2012?

Top 10 Doomsday Prophecies

It seems like every few years someone comes out with a new doomsday prophecy. From aliens and asteroids to floods and earthquakes, how do people think the world will end?

5 Most Bizarre Year 2012 Predictions

As the clock ticks closer to Dec. 21, 2012, discussion regarding what exactly will happen to the world and human civilization continues to heat up. What are some of the wackier conspiracy theories about the year 2012?

Where did the idea of a 2012 apocalypse come from?

You've probably heard people whispering about the end of the world coming up in 2012. But how do they know for certain? Where did the rumor start?

5 Incredible Last-ditch Efforts to Avert Disaster

The path to disaster or salvation can be decided by the flick of a wrist -- it often all comes down to the wisdom of those final, Hail Mary schemes. What are five of the most incredible?

Japan Tsunami and Earthquake Pictures

Many areas were completely destroyed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. Browse these haunting pictures of Japan's destruction following the earthquake and tsunami.

How Sandbags Work

There may be a time when all that stands between your home and the rising floodwaters are some sacks full of sand. Will this defense keep you safe?

Guide to Wildfire Safety

With wildfires, prevention is the best medicine. The best way to protect your home is to make sure you never start a fire. But wildfires are inevitable in some areas, so how do you keep your family and property safe?

Top 5 Tips for Earthquake Safety

It's an uncontrollable situation -- the earth is shaking, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Other than crouching for cover, saying a prayer and hoping for the best, how can you improve your survival chances in a major earthquake?

Top 5 Tips for Hurricane Safety

When a monster storm is headed your way, it's best to have a game plan already in place. Ready for a rundown on smart hurricane safety practices?

Top 5 Tips for Tornado Safety

It's not just the stuff of Hollywood movies. Tornadoes strike hundreds of times in the United States each year -- often with deadly force. These tips will greatly improve your odds of surviving a twister.

5 Tips for Heat Wave Safety

Summer is a time for beach fun, backyard barbecues and liberating sunshine. But Mother Nature can also be dangerous if you don't give her proper respect. Here are several keys to staying safe in the swelter.

5 Tips for Thunderstorm Safety

Without question, nature can produce beautiful light shows. Add wind, rain and hail, and you have an awe-inspiring event. But thunderstorms are not to be taken lightly. Here's how to stay safe as Mother Nature displays her strength.

Earthquake Pictures

These earthquake pictures show building damage, road buckling and fault lines exposed from earthquakes. Click through our gallery of earthquake pictures.

Will earthquakes ever be predictable?

We know where major fault lines crisscross the Earth and where about 80 percent of the world's earthquakes occur; it's the "when" that seismologists have valiantly struggled with. Why?


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