Which Disasters Are Most Likely for 2013?

As the new year approaches, I wonder which disasters are most likely to occur, and which will be most severe. To my mind, these are the two main factors that influence prepping for possible survival situation: how likely and how severe. If a disaster is likely but mild, you would still want to make some preparations. Examples include brief power outages, mild to moderate snow storms, and everyday emergencies.

If a disaster is unlikely but severe, you might want to make some preparations, depending on how unlikely and how expensive the preparations might be. You probably can’t prepare for a large asteroid striking the earth, a super volcano, or global thermonuclear war. But you can prepare for a major disease epidemic, severe problems with the electrical grid, and long-term disruptions to the food supply.

The likelihood of any disaster occurring is a matter of degrees, and may change with the current circumstances in the nation and the world. Most disasters also admit of degrees: a snowstorm can be mild, moderate, or a snow-pocalyse. Making prudent and reasonable judgments about which disasters are more or less likely, as well as how bad the situation might be, is important when deciding what preparations to make.

Before we consider 2013, let’s review 2012 (so far).

The drought that began in late 2010/early 2011 became very much worse in 2012: U.S. drought of 2012 ranks among the worst droughts on record. Over 60% of the continental U.S. was affected by the drought, including many heavily agricultural areas in the Midwest.

Superstorm Sandy was absolutely devastating. Early on, it was termed ‘the perfect storm’, and it lived up to that moniker. Many residents of NY and NJ are still suffering from its effects. This is the type of storm that preppers warn about, and most persons dismiss as “very unlikely”. A rare event is only rare until it happens. The severity of Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call: severe disasters are less likely, but they can and will occur.

The economy in 2012 was not a disaster. Unemployment fell from 8.5% in January 2012 to 7.9% in November 2012. Inflation remained low. But there are foreboding indications that things may get worse. The national debit grew markedly, by about 2 trillion dollars. Superstorm Sandy harmed the economy in the northeastern area of the country. Economic growth is still very low.

Which disasters might await us in 2013?

The drought continues to this day, and the weather outlook for early 2013 is not promising. Some areas of the nations are expected to have dry weather, and only a few areas will have the type of increase in precipitation needed to break the drought. If the drought continues through the spring and summer of 2013, the effect on crops and food prices will be very noticeable.

The fiscal cliff is approaching fast, and (as of this writing) there is no agreement among Democrats and Republicans as to how to fix the problem. If no agreement is reached, unemployment could rise sharply and the economy could fall into another recession. Other events could possibly exacerbate the problem. Instability in the Middle East suggests that oil prices may rise in the near future. The combination of a downturn in the economy due to the fiscal cliff, a continuation of the drought, and high oil prices could be a “perfect storm” for the U.S. economy. A gasoline crisis nationwide, like the local gas crisis that occurred in the NJ/NY area after Superstorm Sandy, would be particularly bad for employment and the economy.

The 2012 hurricane season was worse than usual. According to the NOAA:

November 30 marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, one that produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. The number of named storms is well above the average of 12. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three.

If 2013 is an average year, there could be as many as three major hurricanes. If 2013 is like 2012, there would be more hurricanes and more named storms than usual.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster occurred in spring of 2011. Unlike hurricanes, a nuclear disaster is not a yearly occurrence. However, it is also not exceedingly rare. The U.S. has a number of aging nuclear power plants, some along the coastline, like Fukushima. A radiological disaster remains a possibility.

The U.S. power grid is woefully inadequate. We continue to need more power and to produce more power, but the grid has not been upgraded to handle this continual increase.

I’ll mention one more possible disaster for 2013: a disease outbreak, such as a virulent version of influenza. The winter of 2009-2010 was particularly bad. But the past couple of winters have been better. It remains to be seen what the 2012-2013 winter flu season will be like.

As always, if you are well prepared over a range of different needs: food, water, medicine, shelter, power and lights, etc., then you will be ready for almost any disaster, small or large, that might occur.

– Thoreau

2 Responses to Which Disasters Are Most Likely for 2013?

  1. Pandemic, natural disasters, economic downfall, power outage, limited food supply, and more common disruptions to normal life are what I prepare for. We’re due for a pandemic, and we know disasters are going to be continuous depending on the geological and meteorological environment one is living in.

    We really need to focus on economics for the upcoming year. The nation is at a bad point financially, and for those unfortunate no employment or under employment the ramifications of an economic calamity are far greater. I feel an economic calamity and pandemic are our greatest threats in the U.S. Get your financial house in order, get the immunizations allowable to you, prepare, plan, stock up, and be vigilant.

  2. I agree. Prepare for the worst and if something less intense comes along you should be in real good shape.