Friday, 24 May 2013

Life is a Game of Chance

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I watched with horror the results of the huge tornado that hit Oklahoma. I used to think: why do people live in the way of such regular events?  Guess what... I came home from signing all the papers for the purchase of our little flat, turned on the radio just in time to hear a discussion about "The Milnerton Fault Line".  This is where we live. Earthquakes have occurred here as follows (since recorded), 1620,  1809 and 1811 with a small one in 2009.  The one in 1809 would have measured, say the experts, 6.5 on the Richter scale.  (Who knew?) Our one nuclear power station  (about six miles away, three from the apartment), is apparently built almost on the fault line.  Engineers knew this at the time of construction and it is reputedly safe up to an earthquake measuring 7.00.  Not so our little flat, advertised for surfers as "1 minute's walk from the sea".  So in the event of an earthquake, we shall be wiped out, if not by a fissure in the earth, then surely by a tsunami.  Seismologists say, (with extravagant use of oxymoron),  the risk is "rare, but a very real threat for Cape Town".  Am I worried?  No. What will be, will have to be.  I just hope that we are safe for another 30 years: a mere pinprick in time. Unlike me, my husband is a huge worrier. I shall not tell him about this. Me: I just stick my head in the sand.


  1. That's the best you can do,though you can make some preparations like strapping the water heater or securing heavy furniture to studs in the wall. As natives of Southern California, my husband and I are earthquake veterans. In the 1994 quake, houses near us were quite literally split in two and the freeway came tumbling down. We spent a week with no water (we had stocked up on bottled water) or power and commuting to work took hours in stop and go traffic over the one small and winding mountain pass road that wasn't damaged. And that quake was moderate -- 6.7 as I remember -- and struck in the pre-dawn hours, so it could have been much worse.

    We were always vaguely aware of the possibility of the Big One -- which is what the anticipated quake on the southern end of the San Andreas fault is called.

    Now that we're in Arizona, earthquakes are much less likely but flash floods and seriously scary dust storms called haboobs are a reality. I'm about to go visit a cousin who is ill and who lives in Kansas City -- right in Tornado Alley. Wherever you go, there is risk. But it's even more risky to limit one's life to avoid all risk. So I'll enjoy time with my cousin. And you'll love living near the sea and in a flat you love. I guess we all Just enjoy life living where we do and hope for the best.

  2. It does seem that every place has its disaster in waiting. Enjoying life and hoping for the best seem like wise plans to me.

  3. Living a mere 7 miles from where the Moore tornado wreaked its havoc, I ask myself the same question. I grew up here. This is where my family roots are and that's why most people stay here. Personally, give me earthquake country any day. I lived in California for 40 years and am headed back to the west coast this fall. I don't care to go through any more tornado seasons!

  4. I have read that the US suffers collectively the worst weather in the world...hurricanes, tornados, floods, extreme snows, droughts, and fires. Much of course can attributed to our size and location. The heat and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico generates the conditions for tornado alley and much of the thunderstorm activity over the east. The vast eastern coastal area is a huge target for hurricanes. The Mississippi drains 2/3 of the US. So our geography pretty much guarantees some place is always going to be a disaster area.

    The area that I live in, Western Pennsylvania, seems to avoid the extremes of weather for the most part. We get tornados but they are infrequent and tame. He get hurricanes but they have had the wind knocked out of them and we only get flooding. We do get a lot of thunderstorms and micro bursts but again nothing with the level of destruction of tornados or hurricanes. We get droughts but with the rivers we never have a water shortage. We don't have many fires. So as far as extreme weather we are spared. But it seems that because we are spared extreme weather, Western Pennsylvania must endure permanent dreary weather. Winters are miserable often hovering around freezing so that we get rain snow sleet mixes. It can snow every day for a month, 2 inches a day. Summers are hot and humid. We seemed to have given up on having a spring. We go from February weather to July weather, or like this year alternate between February and July in three day increments. So we have traded in extreme danger for just ongoing mediocre albeit miserable weather. We don't have earth quakes but with our hills, rivers, cliffs and crappy sedimentary rock, we do have land slides, but then again small scale things. We probably live in one of the safest areas in the world disaster wise but must endure a lot of crappy weather year round. Given my druthers, I think I will take our mediocre crappy situation over the disasters.

    Life is a huge game of chance, but rest assured none of us will get out alive. Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

    1. We are not planning to live in this flat ourselves. I remember once saying that with global warming, I would never be so foolish as to buy a place currently at sea level. Famous last words. We are comforted by the situation of our retirement home (blog header), which is quite far up a hill. I just hope that the surfers we hope to rent the little flat to in holiday season, will be able to ride the wave, should it come.