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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. Over the years, 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. These scary situations vary based on location.

In fact, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, and other natural disasters are more common in some areas than in others. For example, California is on an earthquake fault, so they happen here far more often. Furthermore, an occasional haboob comes through certain desert areas, bringing windstorms that raise so much dust that it can suffocate.

As a result, if you've lived through any of these catastrophes and are sick of them, you might be wondering what the best places to live are to avoid natural disasters and other acts of God. While these events can happen at any place at any time, some regions are less likely to be affected and are far safer to live in or visit.

Here are the 20 best places to live to avoid natural disasters, including a few warm places with no natural disasters that may be great for your new home. 

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The 20 Best Places to Live to Avoid Natural Disasters 

The great thing about these cities is that they're available all around the nation, giving you plenty of unique opportunities to live in comfortable and enjoyable places. In each mini-review, we've added information about the city's livability, including cost of living expenses, school quality, walkability, and crime rates. This extra information should make it easier for your family to find warm places with no natural disasters.

20. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan

At a Glance

The Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills area is not one that a lot of people know off the top of their heads. However, it is an area situated in Detroit's northwest metro area. It’s one of the largest suburban areas of Detroit and includes some of the safest and most enjoyable living areas in the region. 

At a glance, Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills is a combination of three suburbs, each a part of the city but classed as something of a minor “tri-city” area. Detroit has problems, including a history of financial ruin that has finally become less severe in recent years. These issues are understandably concerning. 

However, when it comes to being free of natural disasters, this is one of the safest places in the United States to live, especially if you want to avoid hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, and earthquakes. These problems rarely happen in this city and make it one of the safest places to live. 

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. Snow isn’t even too bad here, with the area having just 31 days of one inch or more of snowfall, making it a cozy place to raise a family.

19. Denver, Colorado

At a Glance

Denver is known as The Mile-High City. Although wildfires do have a tendency to break out around the city during the peak of the fire season, Denver's borders remained unbreached. In fact, Denver has consistently been a safe city to live in, even in terms of natural disasters. 

While the state of Colorado has had so many wildfires and, occasionally, inclement weather, Denver’s uniquely high location helps it miss out on things like tornadoes and other disasters. The most obvious problem here is the snowfall, which includes over six months of snowy weather

Beyond that, Denver is far from earthquake zones, nowhere near flood areas, and very safe from disasters like hurricanes. Sure, there are some problems with crime here, but Denver is a very large city. It’s also incredibly walkable with great schools, making it a fun place to raise a family.

18. Allentown, Pennsylvania

At a Glance

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

For example, it’s nowhere near volcanoes or earthquakes and is situated fairly far from the Great Lakes, which often impact snowfall in the area. There are also rare tornadoes here, but nothing like in the tornado belt. Like many midwestern cities, though, its snowfall can be a little high. 

For example, there’s a chance of between 15-20 inches of snow per month from the end of December through the middle of February. That said, the city typically gets about six months free of snow and is otherwise safe from natural disasters. These facts make it one of the safer places to live.

17. Dayton, Ohio

At a Glance

Dayton is currently one of the best places to live to avoid natural disasters, 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. Though a freak occurrence, it was a very devastating situation. 

Tragically, many lives were lost, and much property was severely damaged in the event. Although the city was previously prone to flooding, this devastating flood encouraged the Miami Conservancy District to establish a major flood control system for the city to avoid this kind of problem again.

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. In the summer, it’s one of the best warm places in the nation with no natural disasters. 

That said, its snowiest months often include closer to eight inches of snow, which can make driving far less safe. However, it has nearly eight months with no to minimal snow, which is a great thing because this sprawling city is somehow not as heavily impacted by Lake Erie as other Ohio regions.

16. Syracuse, New York

At a Glance

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 geographical pocket in upstate New York.

There may be occasional heavy storms, but it is no more vulnerable than any other city in the United States. The one thing to watch out for in Syracuse is snow. Like many eastern states, New York is heavily impacted by cold weather, and Syracuse has a high potential for snowfall. 

During the coldest parts of the season, it’s not unusual for Syracuse to see upwards of 15 inches or more, though the average is about 10 inches. Sure, that’s less than an inch per day, but it’s something to seriously consider if you plan on relocating to Syracuse to avoid natural disasters.

15. Boulder, Colorado

At a Glance

Boulder is a city that is surrounded by mountains. This gives the city a naturally beautiful look that makes it highly desired in many areas. However, high mountains like these also help to keep it sheltered from many would-be natural disasters that otherwise impact the region. 

For example, there are no hurricanes, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions in this city. That makes it a very safe and enjoyable place to live. While tornadoes could technically occur there, like many other of the safest cities, it would be a rare event, happening less than once a year. 

Furthermore, there are very few earthquakes in Boulder compared with other areas of the state. Colorado, in general, has fewer earthquakes overall than other states in the USA. Although Boulder is quite expensive, it is one of the most desirable places to live because of its safety from natural disasters. That said, snow is a bit of an issue here. 

In fact, there are only three months during which you don’t get snow: June, July, and August. It’s possible for April, May, September, and October to all get snow, with April and October getting as much as four inches in some seasons. Keep that in mind before relocating!

14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At a Glance

Pittsburgh is a large city in the state of Pennsylvania that has very few natural disasters. It usually isn't dramatic, and living here doesn't bring with it the threats of death as in some other states where there are consistently various natural disaster alerts being set off. Crime is high here, sure, but natural disasters are rare.

There could feasibly be a tornado there, but it’s a fairly rare occurrence that you probably don’t need to lose sleep over worrying about every night. While Pittsburgh did have an earthquake in 2011, nobody even felt it, and there was no damage done, which is ironic considering the damage most earthquakes cause. 

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 these improvements mean that there is no risk of flooding. The flood control barriers protect the downtown area of Pittsburgh from the rivers.

That makes it pretty safe, though you need to pay attention to snow in the area. During the most intense months, it can get as high as eight inches, though it typically averages around four inches a month. While rarely deadly, such snow (combined with cold temperatures) should be watched.

13. Columbus, Ohio

At a Glance

Columbus is another large city that is relatively safe from natural disasters, even if its crime is a little higher than we’d like. The city is situated inland pretty north and west, so it is far away from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. As a result, it’s not impacted by any of the hurricanes that hit the area.

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 and caused very little to no damage. Most people don’t even realize that the state has even experienced earthquakes before. 

Furthermore, 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 due to few lakes and rivers in the region. Snowfall can get as high as eight inches in February, but the city gets nearly seven months without snow.

12. Salt Lake City, Utah

At a Glance

Salt Lake City is one of the best warm places with no natural disasters. It's a large city with a population that exceeds one million residents and is continuing to grow in size. This is also one of the safest cities with regard to natural disasters, making it a very safe place to live. 

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. As a result, it remains one of the best places to live to avoid natural disasters. 

But what about snow? Is this a problem in this popular city? Though this city is mostly warm during the summer, expect a potential of 10 inches of snow in December through February, though the average is closer to five inches. Thankfully, snow levels fall very heavily between March and May.

11. Portland, Oregon

At a Glance

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.

In fact, looking at Portland’s snowfall rankings is very revealing. Though December and January have received highs of 12 inches of snow, they typically average around 2-4 inches. Amazingly, the city is often free of snow from mid-March through early November, meaning it has almost nine months of no snow. That’s because this city is located so close to the warming Pacific Ocean.

This makes the Portland Metro area a very desirable place to live. Even better, the city is one of the largest and fastest growing in the Northwest and is becoming more and more popular with younger and older people, giving it a great range of opportunities for the right person.

10. Vancouver, Washington

At a Glance

Vancouver is a beautiful city that is also relatively free of natural disasters. It is located in the same area as Portland, Oregon. As a result, it has the same kind of protection, including the naturally warming Pacific Ocean, that helps to make it a great place to avoid natural disasters. 

Furthermore, the city is protected due to higher mountains and other types of unique benefits. As a result, there have been very few 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.

As for snow, the city has the same kind of very brief winters you see in Portland. While the city has seen 15 inches in December and January, the average is typically closer to just over 1-2 inches. If you want to find warm places with no natural disasters, Vancouver might be the best option for you!

9. Hillsboro, Oregon

At a Glance

Hillsboro is easily one of the best warm places with no natural disasters. In fact, the worst thing that happens in Hillsboro, Oregon, is occasional clouds and rain. Hillsboro is a coastal city located in the Pacific Northwest near Portland, a region that’s as close to paradise as possible. 

In fact, it’s a progressive area that is cosmopolitan and rich in the arts and culture. It’s become a popular destination for people who want to live in Portland but who don’t have the money for it. That said, this city’s cost of living is pretty high, probably because so many people want to live here.

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. Snow is rare, as well, typically getting no more than two inches a month (though eight inches have happened before).

8. Yakima, Washington

At a Glance

Yakima, Washington, is situated in the central part of Washington State. There are very few risks associated with living in this area. It’s in a rain shadow, like much of the rest of the state. That said, while it does get rain and snow yearly, it is extremely rare to get a severe storm in this area.

Yakima is also free from the threat of hurricanes; flooding is rare and minor when it does occur, and it is even rare to get a tornado in this area. Although some earthquakes have been recorded in the mountainous regions of the Cascades and on the coast, Yakima has little to no history.

That said, snow is a bit more common here than elsewhere, with a high of 20 inches in the snowiest months of December and February. That said, that’s still well below the national average. All these facts make Yakima one of the safest places to be in the Pacific Northwest and the United States.

7. Wenatchee, Washington

At a Glance

Wenatchee is a city located in the eastern part of Washington state. It’s 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 and extreme heat that could be threatening.

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 safe, especially if you want to live in warm places with no natural disasters like earthquakes. 

As far as snow is concerned, Wenatchee typically gets about 15-20 inches at the worst in December and February. This snowfall level dips heavily, and the area is often free of snow from early May to late October, giving you plenty of warm and relaxing days spent outside.

6. Minneapolis, Minnesota

At a Glance

Minneapolis is a large city in the southeastern portion of Minnesota. It is located just 20 miles west of the border of Wisconsin and is close to its sister city, Saint Paul. 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’s safe from the threat of hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes, 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. As a result, it’s a cozy place to live or relocate. 

It’s true that the crime levels here are a little concerning and that the schools don’t always rank so highly. We strongly recommend it not as a place to raise kids but as a fun place to hang out if you’re looking for musical or artistic adventures. Minneapolis has a bustling cultural scene you may love.

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

At a Glance

While it is common knowledge that the state of North Carolina has seen quite a few hurricanes, Charlotte is one of the least vulnerable cities in the state 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 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 for a cozy living environment. 

Like the other best places to live to avoid natural disasters, snow isn’t a huge concern in Charlotte. It rarely gets more than 2-4 inches, even in the most extreme winters, though it has had a few months in history where it got nearly 10 inches in January. That’s pretty rare, thankfully.

4. Bozeman, Montana

At a Glance

Bozeman, Montana, is a city that is protected from natural disasters because of the Rocky Mountain range, which 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.

Furthermore, there have only been five 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. Part of that is due to its rather low precipitation rate through much of the summer. 

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. That said, snow is common from about September to May and even into June: yikes!

3. Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA

At a Glance

The Mount Vernon and Anacortes areas are very safe places to live if you want to avoid natural disasters. There are very few earthquakes that move up from the California area. Those that are registered on the Richter scale have been so mild that they are not even felt by most people.

Furthermore, 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.

While you might think this would be a snowy area due to its proximity to Canada, don’t forget the warming power of the Pacific Ocean. There are up to eight months of minimal snow, with just over one inch being average in December and January, with highs just lower than six inches.

2. Spokane, Washington

At a Glance

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 and typically doesn’t experience earthquakes.

Although there are years when the winters are cold, it is not as extreme in some portions of the Midwest. You can expect anywhere from 1-7 inches in the most extreme months (December through February, though it does get as high as 10 inches in some seasons. 

That said, 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. As a result, this is one of the best places to live to avoid natural disasters and keep your family safe.

1. Olympia, WA

At a Glance

Olympia is the capital city of Washington State. It is also one of the safest cities in the United States to live in to avoid natural disasters. 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 and other dangers.

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. What about winter dangers? That’s an interesting question to ponder due to some wild statistics. 

Typically, even the snowiest months get no more than two inches or so of snow. However, the region has seen months of up to nine inches of snow. That’s pretty rare, though, and you typically see nearly eight months free of snow in this city: a paradise for snowbirds!

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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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