Floods, fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters

All the floods in the midwest have got me thinking about how lucky I am to live in Chicago where the last major disaster we suffered was the Chicago Fire in 1871. But I didn’t suffer any traumatic experiences from it and I now live a normal life despite the Chicago Fire. Oh, yes, we also had the Chicago Flood in 1992 caused by a pylon driven into a utility tunnel beneath the Chicago River, but that only flooded some tunnels under downtown Chicago and not many people were ever in any real danger. However, a few people lost their plum city jobs because of the incident. The only flooding I experience in my house occurs during heavy rainfalls when I get an inch or two of water in my basement. And I don’t suffer any damage because I have an unfinished basement with a stone foundation. Other people in the midwest haven’t been so fortunate. I usually go to the Wisconsin Dells every summer, but the heavy flooding washed away Lake Delton, so I probably won’t go this summer. Homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and other infrastructures have been flooded or washed away in recent weeks, with more flooded expected as more rivers will soon crest with the predicted rainstorms. Tornadoes have also caused plenty of damage across the midwest.

I lived in California for three years while I was in the Marines. Overall, the weather is very beautiful and much more pleasant than in the midwest. However, Californians have to worry about earthquakes, brush fires, flash floods, and sandstorms, among other things. I actually considered living in California after my discharge from the Marines. Two things brought me back to Chicago. Most of my family and all of my friends lived in Chicago. And, I was really afraid of the weather and other natural disasters in California. Sure I could have gotten used to them. But why should I place myself in danger’s way unnecessarily? Chicago is fairly safe in terms of meteorolgical events. The city itself has never had a tornado. We do live close to the New Madrid fault line and we do experience an occasional tremor, but we really haven’t had actually ever had an earthquake. Sure the tradeoff is that we do have a higher crime rate than most places, but at least you have a fighting chance against a mugger or a rapist. How do protect yourself from a tornado that suddenly appears in right front of you? I presently live in a house that was built in 1879, which is pretty old for a house in Chicago, and I feel safe living in this house knowing that it has survived everything that Mother Nature inflicted on it.

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!