I woke up and my entire bed was shaking, confused and still half asleep I thought my room mate was rather enthusiastically going at it with her boyfriend. The next morning I wake up and everyone is going on about an earthquake. In Lancaster? What the chuff is going on?!
The earthquake hit the UK at around 0056 GMT and was 15.4km deep in the earth -it was the biggest earthquake to hit the UK since 1984. Earthquakes actually happen up to 3 times a day in Britain. Admittedly they’re usually so small we don’t even feel them, but still, 3 times a day! In 1931 the largest earthquake to hit Britain to date measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. This one actually caused lots of damage to buildings and one woman died.
But enough facts, I want to know just how dangerous a place Britain really is. I mean there are loads of different types of natural disasters, if an earthquake can hit us – what else? So here’s your guide to natural disasters in Britain (written by a hypochondriac).
Floods are just one example of the many natural disasters just waiting to happen in the UK. We already know the damage they can do as we saw large parts of the UK get hit by them last summer. If you were lucky enough to escape the floods the last time you might not be again because in Britain 5 million of us live in flood prone areas. Four inches of flood water will ruin a carpet, 6 inches will knock you over and 2 feet of water can float cars. Considering how much rain Lancaster gets in one day alone I’d suggest you fish out your wellies fast.
Tornado’s – think they belong in Kansas with Dorothy – or perhaps a little more realistically at least in America where we often here of Tornado’s striking? Well think again. In one year Britain has more Tornados per square mile than America, which averages out to roughly 33 tornados per year. In 1091 a tornado destroyed 600 homes and a church in central London (yes it was over 900 years ago but that doesn’t mean the exact same thing won’t happen tomorrow). On 21st November in 1981 104 tornados hit Britain – this is the most Tornados to hit any one country in Europe in just one day. I’m sure it’s only because in the UK we’re clever enough to make our houses out of brick that they haven’t all been sucked away.
Volcanoes also seem a world away from Britain. But if the volcano on La Palma in the Canaries explodes, a 500m high mega-tsunami could hit parts of the UK. So not only are volcanoes a problem for Britain but tsunamis are too. Am I the only one imagining the scenes from films such as The Day after Tomorrow as I frantically tell my mum I love her before drowning in the streets?
After living in ignorant bliss, thinking that as a resident of a tiny town in Yorkshire I was safe from natural disasters, I have come to the conclusion that I stand as much chance as dying from a natural disaster as someone who lives on a volcano. But that is of course just my conclusion – I’m sure you can reach your own slightly more rational one.