Earth Hazards of the Midwestern US
Natural hazards are events that result from natural processes and that have significant impacts on human beings. Extreme weather conditions or geologic activity can cause substantial short-term or long-term changes to our environment. These changes can influence crops, homes, infrastructure, and the atmosphere. The 4.6-billion-year-old Earth has experienced many of these natural changes, and it has always adjusted accordingly.
Most of the natural hazards in the Midwest are related to weather, geology, or some combination of the two. Examples of weather-related hazards include tornados (which cause a narrow path of extreme destruction) and long periods of unseasonably high temperature (which are a threat to crops and human health). Geologic hazards include events such as earthquakes, which can cause damage to housing, bridges, and roads. There is often little that can be done to prevent these natural events from occurring, but advanced planning can minimize their impact.