When it comes to dodging natural disasters, the Twin Cities area is among the safest places to live, according to a widely read researcher.
The ranking of the 50 largest metro areas released Wednesday was determined by Bert Sperling, who puts together the well-known “Best Places to Live” studies.
Minneapolis-St. Paul came in seventh on the list, which was based on the frequency and severity of hazardous weather and earthquakes over the past 30-plus years.
“We created this list to help the many people who are worried or fed up with the danger and recovery after a natural disaster,” Sperling wrote in a statement accompanying the results. “Even just the threat of an event can be very disruptive, which can happen several times annually.”
Tornadoes and hurricanes were found to wreak the most havoc, concluded Sperling’s numbers crunchers, who looked at data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Climatic Data Center. Then came flooding and earthquakes, followed by drought, hail, wind and wildfires.
The safest metro area to live in for avoiding natural disaster is Portland, Ore., the researchers found. Rounding out the top 10: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle, San Jose, the Twin Cities, Richmond (Va.), Providence (R.I.) and Columbus (Ohio).
Explaining why earthquake-prone California dominated the top end of the list, Sperling said, “We considered the risk from a major earthquake to be less than that from hurricanes or tornadoes. It’s entirely possible that one could spend a lifetime in California and never be impacted by an earthquake, while hurricanes and tornadoes can occur regularly.”
And just like any rankings, there is a bottom.
The places that Sperling determined offer the greatest natural disaster risk were led by Miami, followed by Austin (Texas), Oklahoma City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Birmingham (Ala.), Memphis, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Phoenix and New Orleans.