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The 20 Best Places to Live to Avoid Natural Disasters

Charlotte NC

The United States has had its share of natural disasters. The country has experienced everything from hurricanes to severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, and even sinkholes swallowing up homes with people sleeping in their beds.

Earthquakes, erupting volcanoes and other natural disasters are more common in some areas than in others. An occasional haboob comes through certain desert areas bringing windstorms that raise so much dust that it can be suffocating.

If you've lived through any of these catastrophes you might be wondering if there are any places left to escape the threat of an act of God. The truth is that these occurrences can happen at any place at any time, but some regions are less likely to be affected.

Here are the 20 best places to live to avoid natural disasters.


20. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan

This is an area that is situated in Detroit's northwest metro area. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills is a combination of three suburbs which are each a part of the city but know as a general are.

Detroit has its own problems, the worst of it being the financial ruin, but when it comes to being free of natural disasters, this is one of the safest places in the United States to be.

The closest thing that has happened to these three communities is an occasional heavy storm, which has not yet reached the status of a natural disaster.


19. Denver, Colorado

Denver is known as the mile-high city. Although wildfires were raging around the city during the peak of the fire season, Denver's borders remained unbreached. Denver has consistently been a safe city to live in even though the state of Colorado has had so many wildfires and occasionally, inclement weather.


18. Allentown, Pennsylvania

Allentown is the state of Pennsylvania's third-largest city. It is located in the northwest part of the city of Philadelphia. Although there are occasional hurricanes that move inland into the state, historically, Allentown has never been the recipient of any significant damage from natural disasters.

This makes it one of the safer places to live.


17. Dayton, Ohio

Dayton is currently one of the safest cities to live in, but this has not always been the case. The city experienced a catastrophe in 1913 that is referred to as the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.

Many lives were lost and much property was severely damaged in the event. Although the city was previously prone to flooding, the great flood encouraged the Miami Conservancy District to establish a major flood control system for the city.

Even since this measure was enacted, the city has been kept safe from flooding over 1,500 times, according to city officials. What was once the most dangerous place to live for flooding has been changed into one of the safest.


16. Syracuse, New York

Syracuse is one of the safest places to live when it comes to avoiding natural disasters. There are no hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes or earthquakes in the area. There is little in the way of flooding and Syracuse is situated in a safe pocket geographically in upstate New York.

There may be an occasional heavy storm, but it is no more vulnerable than any other city in the United States.


15. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a city that is surrounded by mountains. This keeps it sheltered from many would-be natural disasters. There are no hurricanes and although tornadoes could technically occur there, like many other of the safest cities, it would be a rare event.

There are very few earthquakes in Boulder compared with other areas of the states, and Colorado, in general, has fewer earthquakes overall than other states in the USA. Although the cost of living is a little expensive in Boulder, it is one of the most desirable places to live because of its safety from natural disasters.


14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a large city in the state of Pennsylvania that hs very few natural disasters. There usually isn't dramatic and it doesn't bring with it the threats of death as in some other states where there is consistently an alert being issued.

There could feasibly be a tornado there but it would be a rare occurrence. Although Pittsburgh did have an earthquake register in 2011, nobody even felt it and there was no damage done. Flood control barriers and dams were built in the late 1930s because of the flood of 1936.

Pittsburgh wasn't a safe place because of flooding back then but the improvements made mean that there is no risk of flooding currently. The flood control barriers protect the downtown area of Pittsburgh even though it is situated near three rivers.


13. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is another large city that is relatively safe to live. The city is situated inland so it is far away from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is not impacted by any of the hurricanes that have struck the gulf region.

Earthquakes have not been an issue in Columbus even though there have been about 200 in the state of Ohio since 1776. Most of them have been minor. It would be rare to experience a tornado in Columbus, but as with any town in the USA, they are technically possible. Flooding is also a rarity.

Salt Lake City

12. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is a large city with a population that exceeds a million residents and it's continuing to grow in size. This is also one of the safest cities with regard to natural disasters. It's a landlocked city that is not near any oceans so there is no threat of hurricanes.

The elevation is high and there hasn't been a tornado recorded in the city since 1999. This is a rare occurrence in Salt Lake City.


11. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This is a major coastal city, but there are very few threats of natural disasters affecting the city. Although it is a rainy city, weather events such as downpours, flooding, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tsunamis are very rare.

This makes the Portland Metro area a very desirable place to live.

Vancouver, Washington

10. Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver is a beautiful city that is also relatively free of natural disasters. It is located in the same area like Portland, Oregon. The city is protected and there have not been records of natural disasters affecting the area. It is considered a very safe place to live with no flooding, tornado, hurricane or wildfire issues so far.


9. Hillsboro, Oregon

About the worst thing that happens in Hillsboro, Oregon is that there are clouds and rain. This is a coastal city that is located in the Pacific Northwest near Portland. This is a progressive area that is cosmopolitan and rich in the arts and culture.

The majority of the population is educated and it is a very attractive and pleasant place to live. You won't have to worry about tornadoes, flooding or earthquakes in Hillsboro.

Yakima, Washington

8. Yakima, Washington

Yakima, Washington is situated in the central part of Washington State. There are very few risks associated with living in this area. It is in a rain shadow and although it does get rain and snow throughout the year, it is extremely rare to get a severe storm in this area.

Yakima is free from the threat of hurricanes, flooding is rare, and minor when it does occur, and it is even more rare to get a tornado in this area. Although there have been some earthquakes recorded in the mountainous regions of the Cascades and on the coast, Yakima does not have a history of natural disasters in the area.

This makes it one of the safest places to be in the Pacific Northwest and the United States in general.

Wenatchee, Washington

7. Wenatchee, Washington

Wenatchee is a city that is located in the Eastern part of Washington state. It is surrounded by mountains but remains a part of the high semi-desert region. Although the summers tend to be hot Wenatchee is a place that is safe from hurricanes.

Flooding and tornadoes are very rare in this city and so are earthquakes. Wenatchee is known for its agricultural industry, particularly apples and other fruit trees. It is a pleasant place to live if you want to be free from the ongoing threat of natural disasters.


6. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is a large city in the Southeastern portion of Minnesota. It is located just 20 miles west of the border of Wisconsin. While the winters can become frigid and there is usually a lot of snow to go with it, natural disasters in this city are extremely rare.

It is safe from the threat of hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes are rare and it is relatively free of earthquakes. The summer months are the most pleasant in Minneapolis and the residents simply know to prepare for cold winter months.

Charlotte NC

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

While it is common knowledge that the state of North Carolina has seen quite a few hurricanes, if you're living in NC, Charlotte is one of the least vulnerable cities for natural disasters. The metropolis is situated inland just far enough to be out of the reach of the worst storms that the Atlantic can dish out.

The climate in Charlotte is also mild. If you want to live in the state of North Carolina but you want to avoid areas that are known for natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe weather, and flooding, then Charlotte is probably going to be your best bet.

Bozeman Montana

4. Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana is a city that is protected from natural disasters because of the Rocky Mountain range that prevents tornadoes from sweeping through the landscape. The entire state of Montana is free from the threat of hurricanes or cyclones because of its geographic location.

There have only been 5 recorded major flooding events in the state of Montana over the past 100 years which is remarkably low when compared to some other locales within the USA.

Although it is possible to have a tornado or an earthquake tremor in this state, it is a very rare occurrence, making Bozeman one of the safer places to live if you want to avoid natural disasters.

Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA

3. Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA

The Mount Vernon and Anacortes areas are also very safe places to live. There are very few earthquakes and those that are registered on the Richter scale have been so mild that they are not even felt.

These are coastal cities that are up near the northern part of Washington State, not far from the Canadian border. They are far enough inland to be safe from the threat of tropical cyclones and tsunamis should they occur, and tornadoes are very rare in this area.

Spokane, Washington

2. Spokane, Washington

Spokane is located in the eastern part of the state of Washington near the Idaho border. When it comes to natural disasters, Spokane is one of the safest cities in the United States. It is landlocked so it is safe from tropical cyclones and hurricanes.

Although there are years when the winters are cold, it is not as extreme in some portions of the midwest. There have been no catastrophic earthquakes in the area. Any flooding that has occurred has been minor in comparison with other regions in the country. Tornadoes are extremely rare.

Olympia, WA

1. Olympia, WA

Olympia is the capital city of Washington state. This is also one of the safest cities in the United States to live in. The city is on the coastal side of the Cascade Mountains and it is far enough from the ocean to be safe in the event of a tropical cyclone.

There is no history of catastrophic earthquakes in the area and tornadoes are extremely rare. If you're looking for a safe city to live in the Pacific Northwest, Olympia is one of the best.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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