A Year After Sandy, Do You Approach Disaster Differently?
* November 7–11, 1913 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 claims 19 ships and more than 250 lives.
* October 4, 1914 - The Burdur earthquake was centered near Lake Burdur in southwestern Turkey and the mainshock and subsequent fire destroyed more than 17,000 homes, and caused 2,344 casualties.
* January 13, 1915 – An earthquake in Avezzano, Italy, registering 6.8 on the Richter scale kills more than 29,000
* July 1–12, 1916 – At least one shark mauls 5 swimmers along 80 miles (130 km) of New Jersey coastline during the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, resulting in 4 deaths and the survival of one youth who requires limb amputation.
* May 21, 1917 – Over 300 acres (73 blocks) are destroyed in the Great Atlanta fire of 1917.
* January, 1918 – 1918 flu pandemic: "Spanish 'flu" (influenza) first observed in Haskell County, Kansas.
* January 15, 1919, - Boston Molasses Disaster: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.
* February 20, 1920 - Gori earthquake: An earthquake hits Gori in the Democratic Republic of Georgia, killing 114.
* 1921 - Russian famine: Roughly 5,000,000 people die.
* January 13, 1922 – The flu epidemic has claimed 804 victims in Britain.
* July 10, 1923 – Large hailstones kill 23 in Rostov, Soviet Union.
* July 10, 1924 – Large hailstones kill 23 in Rostov, Soviet Union.
* February 28, 1925 – The 1925 Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake strikes northeastern North America.
* October 20, 1926 – A hurricane kills 650 in Cuba.
* February 14, 1927 – An earthquake in Yugoslavia kills 100.
* February 12, 1928 – Heavy hail kills 11 in England.
* November 18, 1929 – 1929 Grand Banks earthquake.
* November 25, 1930 - An earthquake in the Izu Peninsula of Japan kills 223 people and destroys 650 buildings.
* February 3, 1931 – Hawke's Bay earthquake: Much of the New Zealand city of Napier is destroyed in an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale.
* March 21, 1932 – A series of deadly tornadoes in the south kills more than 220 people in Alabama, 34 people in Georgia, and 17 in Tennessee during a two-day period.
* March 3, 1933 - A powerful earthquake and tsunami hit Honsh, Japan, killing approximately 3,000 people.
* May 11, 1934 – Dust Bowl in North America: A strong 2-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the region's worst dust storms.
* April 14, 1935 - Black Sunday, a particularly severe dust storm, was one of the worst dust storms in American history and it caused immense economic and agricultural damage. It is estimated to have displaced 300 thousand tons of topsoil from the Prairie area in the US.
* March 17 – March 18, 1936 – St. Patrick's Day Flood: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suffers the worst flooding in its history.
* May 6, 1937 – Hindenburg disaster: In the United States, the German airship Hindenburg bursts into flame when mooring to a mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 36 passengers and 61 crew on board, 13 passengers and 22 crew die, as well as one member of the ground crew.
* February 6, 1938 – Black Sunday at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia: 300 swimmers are dragged out to sea in 3 freak waves; 80 lifesavers save all but 5.
* January 13, 1939 – Black Friday: 71 people die across Victoria in one of Australia's worst ever bush fires.
* November, 1940 - The Armistice Day Blizzard (or the Armistice Day Storm) took place in the Midwest region of the United States on 11 November (Armistice Day) and 12 November 1940. The intense early-season "Panhandle hook" winter storm cut a 1,000-mile-wide (1600 km) path through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan. A total of 145 deaths were blamed on the storm.
* April 15, 1941 - Colima earthquake
* November 28, 1942 - Cocoanut Grove Fire
* February 27, 1943 - Smith Mine Disaster
* December 1944 - Typhoon Cobra strikes TF38, resulting in 790 lives lost
* August, 1945 - 1945 Texas hurricane
* December 5, 1946 - Hsinhua earthquake
* North American blizzard of 1947
* October 27, 1948 - Donora smog
* April 13, 1949 - Olympia earthquake
* Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950
* January 18, 1951 - Mount Lamington Eruption, approximate death toll at 3,000
* July 21, 1952 – A magnitude 7.5 earthquake (Richter scale) strikes Tehachapi, California, destroying unreinforced brick buildings.
* January, 31 - February 1, 1953 - North Sea flood
* January 12, 1954 - Blons avalanches
* August 19, 1955 – Hurricane Diane hits the northeastern United States, killing over 200 people, and causing over $1.0 billion in damage.
* August 8, 1956 – 262 miners die in a fire in a coal mine in Marcinelle, Belgium.
* February 4, 1957 - A coal gas explosion at the giant Bishop coal mine in Bishop, Virginia kills 37 men.
* September 27, 1958 - Typhoon Ida kills at least 1,269 in Honsh, Japan.
* January 22, 1959 – Knox Mine Disaster: Water breaches the River Slope Mine in Port Griffith, Pennsylvania near Pittston, Pennsylvania; 12 miners are killed.
* January 21, 1960 – A mine collapses at Coalbrook, South Africa, killing 500 miners.
* March 13, 1961 - A dam burst in Kiev, USSR, killing 145.
* February 7, 1962 - A coal mine explosion in Saarland, West Germany kills 299.
* February 21, 1963 – An earthquake destroys the village of Barca, Libya, killing 900.
* December 18, 1964 - January 7, 1965 - Christmas flood of 1964
* August 30, 1965 - An avalanche buries a dam construction site at Saas-Fee, Switzerland killing 90 workers.
* June 8, 1966 - Topeka, Kansas is devastated by a tornado that registers as an "F5" on the Fujita Scale, the first to exceed US $100 million in damages. Sixteen people are killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, and the campus of Washburn University suffers catastrophic damage.
* April 21, 1967 - An outbreak of tornadoes strikes the upper Midwest section of the United States (in particular the Chicago area, including the suburbs of Belvidere and Oak Lawn, Illinois, where 33 people are killed and 500 injured).
* January 15, 1968 – An earthquake in Sicily kills 380 and injures around 1,000.
* May 15, 1969 – An American teenager known as 'Robert R.' dies in St. Louis, Missouri, of a baffling medical condition. In 1984 it will be identified as the first confirmed case of HIV/AIDS in North America.
* January 5, 1970 - An earthquake (Richter Scale 7.7 magnitude) at Yunnan, China kills at least 15,621.
* February 9, 1971 - The Sylmar earthquake (6.4 on the Richter Scale) hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.
* April 10, 1972 - A 7.0 Richter scale earthquake kills 5,000 people in the Iranian province of Fars.
* October 15, 1973 - Typhoon Ruth crossed Luzon, Philippines killing 27 people and causing $5 million in damage
* April 3–4, 1974 – An enormous outbreak of tornadoes strikes the central parts of the United States, killing around 319 people. Known as the "Super Outbreak", the event was the largest and deadliest outbreak of tornadoes for almost 40 years until an even larger outbreak surpassed it in 2011.
* January 19, 1975 - Earthquake strikes Himachal Pradesh, India
* February 4, 1976 - In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake kills more than 22,000.
* January 28 - February 1, 1977 - Blizzard of 1977
* January 25 – January 27, 1978 – The Great Blizzard of 1978 strikes the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, killing 70.
* April 15, 1979 - Montenegro Earthquake: A major earthquake (7.0 on the Richter scale) strikes Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) and parts of Albania, causing extensive damage to coastal areas and taking 136 lives; the old town of Budva is devastated.
* May 18, 1980 - Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
* January 23, 1981 – An earthquake of 6.8 magnitude in Sichuan, China kills 150.
* December 24, 1982 – The "Christmas Eve Blizzard of '82" hits Denver.
* February 16, 1983 – The Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 76 people, in one of Australia's worst bushfires ever.
* June 8, 1984 – A deadly F5 tornado nearly destroys the town of Barneveld, Wisconsin, killing 9 people, injuring nearly 200, and causing over $25,000,000 in damage.
* March 3, 1985 – An 8.0 on the Richter magnitude scale earthquake hits Santiago and Valparaíso in Chile leaving 177 dead, 2,575 hurt, 142,489 destroyed houses and about a million people homeless.
* April 14, 1986 – Hailstones weighing 1 kg (2.2 lb) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
* July 31, 1987, An F4-rated tornado devastates eastern Edmonton, Alberta. Hardest hit are an industrial park and a trailer park. 27 people are killed and hundreds injured, with hundreds more left homeless and jobless.
* August 21, 1988 – Major earthquake of magnitude 6.6 hits the Nepal-India Border. Estimated 1,004 people killed and more than 16,000 injured
* March 13, 1989 – A geomagnetic storm causes the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid. Six million people are left without power for 9 hours. Some areas in the northeastern U.S. and in Sweden also lose power, and aurorae are seen as far as Texas.
* April 15, 1990 – Food poisoning kills 450 guests at an engagement party in Uttar Pradesh.
* February 1, 1991 - A deadly earthquake kills at least 1,200 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
* December 12, 1992 – An earthquake hits Flores, Indonesia, leaving 2,500 dead.
* March 13–March 15, 1993 – The Great Blizzard of 1993 strikes the eastern U.S., bringing record snowfall and other severe weather all the way from Cuba to Quebec; it reportedly kills 184.
* March 27, 1994 - The biggest tornado outbreak in 1994 occurs in the southeastern United States; 1 tornado hits a Goshen United Methodist Church in Piedmont, Alabama, killing 22 people.
* May 13, 1995 – An earthquake hits the regions of Kozani and Grevena in Greece, with an intensity of 6.6 on the Richter scale.
* January 7, 1996 – One of the worst blizzards in American history hits the eastern states, killing more than 150 people. Philadelphia receives a record 30.7 inches (78 cm) of snowfall, New York City's public schools close for the first time in 18 years and the federal government in Washington, D.C. is closed for days.
* May 10, 1997 – An earthquake near Ardekul, in northeastern Iran, kills at least 2,400.
* February 4, 1998 – An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale in northeast Afghanistan kills more than 5,000 people.
* January 25, 1999 – A 6.1 Richter scale earthquake hits western Colombia, killing at least 1,000
* February 9, 2000 – Torrential rains in Africa lead to the worst flooding in Mozambique in 50 years, which lasts until March and kills 800 people.
* January 13, 2001 – A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hits all of El Salvador, killing at least 800 people and leaving thousands homeless.
* January 17, 2002 – The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo displaces an estimated 400,000 people.
* May 21, 2003 – An earthquake in the Boumerdès region of northern Algeria kills 2,200.
* February 24, 2004 – A 6.5 Richter scale earthquake in Northern Morocco hits in the Rif mountains near the city of Al Hoceima, killing 613.
* February 22, 2005 – More than 500 people are killed and over 1,000 injured, after entire villages are flattened in an earthquake (6.4 on the Richter scale) in the Zarand region of Kerman province in southern Iran.
* February 17, 2006 – A massive mudslide occurs in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll is set at 1,126.
* August 15, 2007 – An 8.0 earthquake strikes Peru, killing 512 people, injuring more than 1,500, and causing tsunami warnings in the Pacific Ocean.
* January 25, 2008 – China's worst snowstorm since 1954 kills 133, delays traffic, and causes massive power outages in central and southern parts of the country.
* February 7, 2009 – The deadliest bushfires in Australian history begin; they kill 173, injure 500 more, and leave 7,500 homeless. The fires come after Melbourne records the highest-ever temperature (46.4C, 115F) of any capital city in Australia. The majority of the fires are ignited by either fallen or clashing power lines or deliberately lit.
* October 25, 2010 – An earthquake and consequent tsunami off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, kills over 400 people and leaves hundreds missing.
* March 11, 2011 – A 9.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the east of Japan, killing 15,840 and leaving another 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories. Emergencies are declared at four nuclear power plants affected by the quake.
* December 25–28, 2012 North American blizzard & 2012 Christmas tornado outbreak (and yes, the effects of these were worse than they would have been without Sandy)
* June 14–30, 2013 – Flash floods and landslides in the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh kill more than 5,700 people and trap more than 20,000.
Special notes about this list: On some of these years, I just grabbed the first natural disaster I saw and copy-pasted it into this list. Others I had to hunt down the NATURAL disasters among all the MANMADE disasters. And don't even get me started on WWI and WWII! I did my best to restrict my selections to just those that had no human component in it's initialization (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) Fires I gave myself some lenience on and went ahead and included a few, because sometimes the conditions are right whether a human is involved or not. In ALL cases every item on this list had some major impact on the nations they happened in, and in many, many cases the whole world.
I'd also like to point out that during my 100+ year jaunt through history to find all the entries on this list, I've seen entire CITIES get wiped out, nations become powerful and humbled and disappear off the map, companies founded and ended, heroes honored, serial killers apprehended and not, wars go by without most of humanity noticing, fleets of ships damaged or destroyed, technologies take the forefront and disappear, and whole philosophies rise and crumble.
What's my point? I'll make it clear: Sandy was nothing special in the disaster-track of mankind's life on this Earth. Sandy was a flippin' blip on the radar! There are so many things that happen every year that if you're NOT thinking like a prepper you head is in the damn sand! Sandy MIGHT have been enough to shock you into thinking you need to do something to protect yourself, your property, and your data in the event of a disaster, but honestly if you weren't shocked into that kind of thinking by the 2011 earthquake, the 2010 tsunami, the 2009 bush fires, the 2008 blizzard in China, the 2007 tsunami, the 2006 mudslides (etc., etc., etc...) then you just plain aren't going to be shocked into it by "superstorm" Sandy.
On a personal note, while yes, the 200+ people who lost their lives in 2012's headline disaster are a tragedy, going through this exercise has highlighting to me just how much of a whine-fest we in the western world hold when something like this happens to intrude on our sheltered, spoiled lives. When 200 people die on the east coast of the US, somehow it's a deep tragedy that affects the whole world and we all need to pause and think about it, but when 5,700 people die in India, it's just a statistic.