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Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran
Dedicated to the victims of the flash floods in Uttarkhand, India ---------
About the Author: Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are, popular in “The Young World section” of THE HINDU His e-books and articles on nature, and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. He was associated in the production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.
Acknowledgement, to Google for some of the pictures, and scribd.com for hosting the e-books.
Humanity world over witness the fury of nature intermittently in the form of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and other nature related disasters gobbling up properties, consuming precious lives and leaving behind constellation of survivors trying to piece together their shattered lives.As the name implies, natural disasters are inevitable in our world, "Events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and tornadoes are natural disasters because they negatively impact society Our goal is to understand these natural disasters that occur in our area and to respond in each situation, to minimize the catastrophe. Many of the Asia and Pacific developing countries are situated in the world’s hazard belts and are subject to floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, windstorms, tidal waves and land slides, etc. The major natural disasters that occur periodically in this region are largely due to climatic and seismic factors. India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disaster on account of its unique geo-climate conditions. Natural disasters such as Heat waves, Tornados, Avalanches, flash floods, wildfire, earthquake, tornado, Hurricanes, Lightning, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes, affect thousands of people every year. Besides, droughts and epidemics also affect humanity. Heat wave and wild fires:
A heat wave is a period of unusually and excessively hot weather. . It resulted in hundreds of wildfires causing widespread air pollution, and burned thousands of square miles of forest. Wildfires are some of the most dangerous of all natural disasters. Wildfires can kill humans, plants, and animal life. Numerous wildfires can start by careless human actions such as sparks from equipment, arced power lines, campfires, burning debris, and discarded smoking products. Wildfires can also be caused by natural occurrences, which are out of human control such as lightning.
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. This in turn, results in Drought - a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops. There are four different types of drought. They are meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic. Meteorological drought type is caused from the departure of rain and other usual precipitation for a certain geographical area. Agricultural drought happens when the amount of moisture in the soil does not meet the needs of a regional crop or plant. Hydrological drought happens when surface and subsurface water supplies are below the normal amount of water. Socioeconomic drought happens when a physical water shortage affects the public.
Floods: Floods kill an average of 140 million people a year, making them the leading cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms. There are many factors that can affect the way that floods develop. These include deep snow cover, frozen ground, wet soil, high rivers and streams, ice covered rivers, and heavy rain.
During a thunderstorm large quantities of deep snow can affect floods by melting into more water while it is raining heavily. Frozen ground adds to flood development by not allowing water and snow to sink into the ground. If soil is already wet a large amount of water rising quickly doesn’t allow the ground to absorb more water and excess water pours into rivers and stream, causing them to overflow. Rivers that are already full of water can overflow easily, which can flood areas around the river. Flooding is usually divided into two categories: flash flooding and river flooding. Both can cause death, injury and property destruction. Flash floods are usually caused by slow-moving thunderstorms that move over the same area one after the other. Flash floods usually occur within six hours of heavy rainfall and is usually more life threatening Another common factor in flood development is layers of ice floating on top of a river breaking apart and floating downstream - Avalanches have always occurred in the mountainous regions of the world Avalanches occur when the gravity pushing the collection of snow at the top of the slope is greater than the strength of the snow itself. A
change in temperature, a loud noise, or vibrations are all that are necessary to trigger one of these snowfalls that begin at a "starting zone." The avalanche continues down slope along the "track" and ultimately the avalanche fans out and settles in the "run out zone." Avalanche prevention and mitigation involves a variety of methods. Snow fences are built to prevent the buildup of snow in starting zones; structures are built to stabilize snow, deflecting walls are built to divert avalanche flows away from buildings and even entire towns. Hurricane:
A hurricane is a huge storm. It can be up to 600 miles across and have strong winds spiraling inward and upward at speeds of 75 to 200 mph. Each hurricane usually lasts for over a week, moving 10-20 miles per hour over the open ocean. Hurricanes gather heat and energy through contact with warm ocean waters. Evaporation from the seawater increases their power. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an "eye" in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. The center of the storm or "eye" is the calmest part. It has only light winds and fair weather. When they come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and large waves can damage buildings, and uproot trees.
Lightning, an electrical discharge which is released from mature clouds, is an exciting and even beautiful natural phenomenon with many different forms, shapes and colors. Every minute of every day 1,800 thunderstorms are taking place somewhere on the earth, releasing around 100 lightning bolts apiece. During these storms, it is likely that 1 person out of every 700,000 will be struck by lightning. A single lightning bolt is very powerful, releasing enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for more than three months. This electrical surge is created by a buildup and discharge of positively charged and negatively charged electrical energy. Air rising and descending from the thunderstorm and water and ice particles separate the positively charged areas and the negatively charged areas. The lightning strike begins as an invisible channel of electrically charged air trying to get to the ground. Then a surge of electricity from the ground moves upwards, creating a lightning strike. Although lightning is always accompanied by the sound of thunder, distant lightning may be seen but be too far away for the thunder to be heard. Tornado
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby lowhanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. Various types of tornadoes include the land spout, multiple vortex tornado, and waterspout. Waterspouts are characterized by a spiraling funnel-shaped wind current, connecting to a large cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud. They are generally classified as non-super cellular tornadoes that develop over bodies of water. These spiraling columns of air frequently develop in tropical areas close to the equator, and are less common at high latitudes. Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. However, the vast majority of tornadoes occur nearly anywhere in North America. They also occasionally occur in south-central and eastern Asia, northern and east-central South America, South Africa, northwestern and southeast Europe, western and southeastern Australia, and New Zealand. Tornadoes can be detected before or as they occur through the use of PulseDoppler radar by recognizing patterns in velocity and reflectivity data.
A tsunami (pronounced sue-nahm-ee) is a series of huge waves that can cause great devastation and loss of life when they strike a coast, produced by a seaquake or undersea volcanic eruption. From the area of the disturbance, the waves travel outward in all directions causing ripples of waves. Earthquakes, Landslides, Volcanic eruptions, Explosions, and Meteorites can also cause Tsunamis. Tsunamis can originate hundreds or even thousands of miles away from coastal areas. Areas at the greatest risk are those located 50 feet above sea level and within one mile of the shoreline. As the Tsunamis near the coastline, it grows to great height, and smashes into the shore causing a lot of damage. They are sometimes confused with tidal waves, even though they have nothing to do with tides. Valcano A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot magma, volcanic ash and gases to escape from the magma chamber below the surface.
A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock below the surface of the earth. When pressure builds up, eruptions occur. Gases and rock shoot up through the opening and spill over or fill the air with lava fragments. Eruptions can cause lateral blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash and floods. Volcano eruptions have been known to knock down entire forests. An erupting volcano can trigger tsunamis, flash floods, earthquakes, mudflows and rock falls. Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves. The seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release accumulated energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage. Epidemic
An epidemic is a disease that spreads rapidly among many people in a community, a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease; many people are infected at the same time. Widespread contagion, usually a bacteria or virus that kills or severely sickens a large number people in a particular geographic area. Natural disaster will continue to cause problems. Consequently the idea of preventing natural disasters will never be possible. However the prediction of such disaster is possible with the advancement of technology. The latest scientific equipments are used to predict the likelihood of earthquakes, mudslides, and volcanic eruptions as well as prepare for natural disaster response. Forecasting of natural disasters and awareness of calamity in prone areas is crucial. An approach is proposed that allows the development of coherent scenarios of climate changes, ecosystems evolution, and trends of hydrological and hydro-meteorological disasters. This provides the base for more adequate and accurate forecasting of disasters, and to integrate the
developed forecasts into the decision making systems. The approach allows the examination of regional risks features in the context of global changes, permits the analysis of both the general and separated peculiarities of dangerous processes and, finally, builds the disaster management measures into the regional land-use and development strategies.
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