The occurrences of natural disasters are uncertain, but not totally random. Knowing what warning signs to look out for before a tragedy strikes can help you stay out of harm’s way.
Had you ever been hiking in the woods and seen a patch of trees bent into a J shape? Well, you might have escaped a disaster because that’s a sign of an impending landslide. Here the ground has been shifting slowly, making the trees grow strangely. Another sign of potential landslide is cracking in the ground, which can happen on the sidewalk, street, or dirt itself. Landslides occur on slopes though, so if you’re in a flat area, you’re probably safe.
If you want to try skating or just take a walk on a frozen lake, you should first make sure it’s safe. A quick look at the color can be a good first step to determine its safety. If it’s clear and blue, it’s probably safer than if it’s white or gray.
Dogs are good at telling you things, even if they can’t speak our language. So, if your dog is sniffing, licking or biting a particular part of your body more than usual, you’d better get it checked out. Dogs have such a powerful nose that they can sniff out evidence of cancer, and there have been plenty of cases that have proven it.
Lying on the grass and watching fluffy white clouds may be a peaceful way to kill time, but if you find yourself watching a wall of cloud, go to the shelter. This wall of cloud is lower than the rest of the thunderstorm and can be up to 5 miles long. If the cloud is rotating, it can cause a destructive tornado.
Be careful when you see a lot of dead fish or other dead animals on the beach, because the water might be poisonous. Chances are that a red tide is gathering in the water near the beach. When the water contains more toxic algae than normal, it’s called a red tide. The toxic algae can make the water reddish or brown, but sometimes the water’s color is normal. If you go into the water, you could develop respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and an itchy throat.
While avalanches are sudden, there are typically some warning signs you can look for or feel before one occurs. Do you hear a “whumping” sound as you walk on the snow? Does the ground feel hollow underfoot? Check around your feet for cracks in the snow. If there has been a heavy snowfall in the past 24 hours, significant temperature rise, or nearby avalanche activity, it should put you on red alert for a potential avalanche.
Generally, animals can sense an earthquake a few seconds earlier than humans, because they detect the initial micro waves that we can’t feel.
When a fire occurs, of course, you are usually able to see and often smell the smoke. But if you’re standing at a distance, look out for birds and mammals flying and running in your direction, and pay attention to whether the wind is blowing towards you. This could mean that you’re standing in the fire’s path and you need to evacuate immediately.
You might not know it but humans are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark. If your hair starts standing on end and your jewelry starts buzzing, lightning is likely to strike very close to you. Get to shelter immediately, or if you can’t, squat down on the ground and make yourself a small target. Touch the ground as little as possible and leave the area when you can.
Usually, the ocean has a calming and pleasant sound that many people like to fall asleep to, but sometimes, it roars like a train. If you hear this unusual sound, it’s likely that a tsunami is coming towards you, so get away immediately.
If you’re walking on the beach along the Pacific coast, and the waterline starts receding, you may be in trouble. Don’t waste any time looking at the flopping fishes or pretty corals, run to high ground as fast as you can, because a tsunami may be coming.
When around bees, the most important thing to do is not threaten or hit them. However, bees are attracted to sweet smelling and bright things, so accidents can happen – People get stung. A bee will die after stinging mammals, but the dead bee releases pheromones that call on nearby bees to attack. So, if you get stung and you’re near a hive, you should run to shelter, covering your head and face as best as you can.
If you see an area of choppy water in the sea, where seaweed and debris seem to be moving away from the shore, a strange gap in the waves, or even just section of discolored water, it’s likely that a deadly rip current lies underneath. Rip currents, commonly mistaken for riptides, are very fast, powerful channels of water flowing away from the shore. Swimmers who are caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore until out of it.
This oceanic pattern occurs when the waves from two weather systems that are far from each other meet. Waves from one weather system continue despite the wind shifting. Waves from the other weather system run at an angle, creating a shifting, dangerous pattern. Such a state is called a cross sea, which can be incredibly dangerous for ships, surfers, and swimmers.
The deadliest mushrooms belong to the Amanita genus, which includes the destroying angel and the death cap. Both of them look pretty ordinary. The destroying angel is all white, while the death cap can be yellow, green, brown or tan or rarely white. Most Amanitas live near trees, so it’s best not to eat any mushroom growing near a tree unless you’re an expert at identifying them.
Have you ever heard the old saying “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning?” Does it have any truth in it? Well, it does a bit. A red sky at night means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically then, good weather will follow. A red sunrise can mean that good weather has already passed and a low-pressure system and a storm are moving to the east.
Bulls are notoriously dangerous, but cows can also be dangerous. More people die each year from cows than sharks, so you should be attentive when around these animals. If you see a cow pawing at the ground or snorting, you should get something between the two of you, like a tree or a feeding trough.
A funnel cloud is a rotating cone of air that does not touch the ground, but the wind and the effects of the circulation may still have significant impact at ground level, causing extensive damage. If the funnel cloud reaches the ground, then it becomes a tornado. Strong tornadoes are one of nature’s most destructive forces.
Of course, one of the most famous warning signs in nature is the rattlesnake’s rattle. The snake uses the rattle to warn enemies and predators not to get too close. If you do, it will bite you and inject its venom. The venom is normally used for killing small mammals for food.
Volcanoes can be very cool to visit, but as we all know, they can be deadly, too. So how do you tell if a volcano is about to erupt? Well, there may be a small earthquake under the volcano. Plus, it could swell and release more heat and gas. However, these signs are hard for the average person to notice. Luckily, we have volcanologists who constantly monitor the signals using technology.