Tornados, floods, violent thunderstorms many with headlines that include "Storm of the Century" "Historic Flooding" confuse me as those types of headlines fail to mention that humans have not really been recording weather including snowstorms, massive flooding, and even the severity of some earthquakes for hundreds of years.
Without hundreds of years of data how can the experts tell if these events are in fact "historic"?
I am not attempting to say these events are not horrible, devastating or try to lessen the impact they have on those who are or were affected by them what I am asking is, since people have only been tracking and recording weather patterns including high and low temperatures, rainfall amounts, wind speeds and directions and other weather related data for about 150 years (which in geological terms is equal to the blink of an eye) how can the experts know for sure?
Perhaps these weather patterns and intensities occurred ten thousand years ago or maybe as recently at five hundred years ago without adequate quantities of information drawing correlations and making definitive statements may be incorrect.
Medical evaluations that are conducted on less than a few hundred individuals is deemed in sufficient in the scientific community but weather data based on less than 200 sets of information is considered accurate. The willingness of experts to make definitive statements based on limited information troubles me.
Scientific instruments were available for those who could afford them as far back as the 1600s (earlier if you were a scientists with the funds to have these types of instruments built or had the knowledge and where-with-all to build them yourself) and early Americans recorded sporadic data from time to time (refer to http://www.weather.gov/pa/history/timeline.php and http://www.weather.gov/pa/history/index.php).
Back then the National Weather Service was dependent on volunteers to track weather patterns, record daily temperatures and rain or snow fall amounts and until the ability to communicate quickly with others was in place, weather related data tended to be localized.
While the severity and frequency of violent and destructive storms appears to have increased in and the dollar amount of damages is very high consider that a storm with the ferocity of the one that ripped Joplin, Missouri apart recently had occurred 150 years ago the damages and losses in dollar amounts and human injuries and fatalities would have been considerably less due in part to the reality that there were less people, structures, infrastructure and development.
If you don't have warehouses, mega-stores, cars lined up like soldiers on any given road and a population that is less concentrated the fiscal losses would be considerably less.
Animals have a sixth sense, even domestic ones, and many will bolt especially when dangerous weather patterns occur and most likely people living in the 1850s would recognize these alerts of impending storms allowing them to seek shelter limiting which would also help limit personal injuries and death.
Structures built in the 17 and 18th centuries were also smaller, contained less personal items and many could be reconstructed from debris since many were built by the home owner themselves from natural resources in the area. That type of reconstruction is not possible today as the modern elements including electrical wiring, electrical meters, junction boxes, cables, pvc pipe, furnaces and the like cannot be crafted by the home owner.
The state I live in recently held an earthquake readiness drill that was based on a fictional 7.5 earthquake along the New Madrid Fault including a fictitious epicenter. Officials computed the probable fiscal dollar amounts of damages, human fatalities, injuries and an estimated time frame to restore community services.
This particular plan did not provide for interrupted rail tracks, areas where helicopter landings would be impossible or the necessity of air dropped supplies. Major flaws occur with these types of scenarios since they are usually based on data that typically fails to include Murphy, as in Murphy's Law: "If it can go wrong it will."
And when things are going wrong they tend get worse before they improve for example, you're late for work and can't find your keys, you're late picking up your child from daycare and lock your keys in your car as you race inside, you were up late fixing a broken pipe and find out in the morning that in fixing the pipe something else was broken. Murphy's law. Buildings, bridges and other structures including many train and vehicle tunnels built between 1950 and 1990 built east of the Mississippi River were not built to earthquake specifications.
When you factor in the additional people, industrial parks, housing developments and so on an earthquake as strong as the one that occurred along the New Madrid fault in 1812 would cause devastation that would exponentially increase the experts "estimation" of injuries, deaths, industrial production, economic, business and personal losses.
It would be prudent for everyone, even those who are not part of the preparedness movement to keep emergency bags for all family members, what "preppers" refer to as Bug Out Bag ready for any type of emergency that might arise.
While 72 hours of supplies, including clothing, and specific types of gear may not be enough to sustain them for any given emergency having something in an emergency is always better than nothing. Schools practice fire drills, tornado drills and in some areas of the country earthquake drills and these types of preparedness drills should be included in all homes or apartments and conducted regularly.
Being prepared doesn't mean you have to view life through doomsday glasses, with or without conspiracy lenses it could include taking first aid courses so if you happen upon a car wreck you may be able to provide emergency assistance, taking CPR classes in the event that a coworker suffers a heart attack, making fire, storm and earthquake evacuation plans for your family at home work or school and keeping supplies in your home or apartment that will allow you to sustain yourself and your family until services are restored or rescue facilities are provided.