Carrying on from last week’s article, we shall continue discussing the world’s most destructive weather patterns. This week, we shall see the immense power of water, which has decimated lands in the Far East in the form of floods.

6) Yellow River Flood, China: In 1887, after days and days of torrential rain, the river burst through the restraints the farmers had built, rapidly submerging the low-lying surrounding areas with such a high volume of water that most people were trapped without warning. 50,000 square miles of land which had been homes, farms and villages were enveloped in water from the river. The death toll was an unbelievable 900,000 – 2 million, with the resulting pandemic and lack of basic essentials claiming as many lives as the flood itself. It also left millions of people homeless

7) Great Tri-State Tornado: This tornado, from 1925, not only holds the record of being the longest sustained tornado ever recorded (traveling 219 miles), it unfortunately caused the highest casualty rate with approximately 700 dead. For three and a half hours it travelled a destructive path across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, destroying around 15,000 homes on its journey. Personnel at the U.S. Weather Bureau were left looking rather red faced as they forecasted strong winds and shifting rain!

8) Mount Washington Hurricane:  On 12 April 1934, a record surface wind was measured at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory. The 231 mph record still stands today! The story goes that by 5 a.m. the winds had reached 150 mph, and over the next 8 hours these speeds increased to top the 231 mark.  The Meteorologist Sal Pagliuca wrote in the official log: “Our first thought was, will anyone believe it?”.  Unbelievably, although this Hurricane was a record breaker; there were no casualties, human or otherwise.

9) Halloween Storm: The locals call it “the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991,” but Sebastian Junger, who wrote about, it described the almost unbelievable assembly of circumstances as,  “The Perfect Storm”. The three separate weather events that crescendoed over the course of five days: a low-pressure system forming over the Great Lakes, an icy-cold high-pressure system from Canada, and a late-season hurricane which was blowing up from the South. These three events combined to cause waves 30 to 40 feet high that battered the New England coast on the afternoon of Halloween. The Movie ‘Perfect Storm’ shows the terrifying events that occurred on the Andrea Gail fishing boat, where 12 men died.

10) The Johnstown Flood:  On 31 May 1889, Johnstown, Penn, became famous, not for its quality steel production, but for another entirely unfortunate reason.  Overnight rain hit the area, which was already prone to flooding, resulting in as much as 10 inches of rainfall in only 24 hours. By daybreak, railroad tracks and telegraph lines had been washed away. At mid-morning, the water was 10 feet high on the streets. Then just after 3 p.m. the South Fork Dam burst, spilling 20 million tons of water over Johnstown and the surrounding towns and villages.

FloodAs destructive and damaging as extreme weather can be, it really is out of our control. Mother Nature is in charge and sometimes we must stand by and let her do her work, whatever the consequences!

As Alex Trebek says:

“If you can’t be in awe of Mother Nature, something’s wrong with you”

[Photos by Camil Tulcan and Kakela]