- The danger of the sun
In most countries, we love the sun. We flock to a park or beach with sun cream (most of us anyway), a picnic and a blanket or towel to soak up the rays.
The grim truth is that people end up passing out, bed-ridden with sunstroke, bright red skin that would make a lobster jealous and painful sunburn that requires hospitalisation. And some people literally die of heat exposure. Heated tarmac can even melt the skin on pets’ paws.
- Killer wildfires
Excessive heat causes worldwide wildfires and in Australia the locals are more used to it than the rest of us, keeping away from certain areas due to the almost-annual bushfires which kill wildlife like koalas and kangaroos.
In Mati, Greece in July 2018, wildfire flames pushed by the 60mp/h wind reached a nearby beach in Greece’s worst wildfire in a decade. The crisis killed at least 80 people plus an estimated 1,500 homes were damaged and many were destroyed. Over 80 cars were destroyed and pavements were literally turned to ash.
- Disease-ridden travellers
Creatures like bugs and mosquitoes that travel to cooler countries in container deliveries usually die from the change in temperature but during a heatwave they survive and thrive in the new environment, bringing new dangers and diseases no one is prepared for.
Thanks to the rise in global temperatures, microorganisms and viruses are also thriving and developing, increasing the risk of cross-border epidemics.
- Killer rainfall
Rain might be essential for watering crops and grass (and for people wanting to dance in it) but what about when it feels like it’s never gonna end? UK’s rainfall record is held by London which, in June 1903, lasted almost 59 hours. Excess rain overfills lakes, rivers, dams (which can burst…) and increases tides, causing tsunamis and floods.
Between the 2nd – 9th July 2018, parts of Japan faced their worst flooding disaster in 35 years. The country experienced double the amount of rain that normally falls in July, causing landslides and numerous deaths, while millions of people were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.
And don’t forget acid rain. Cases have risen over two decade, damaging plant life and killing so much wildlife.
The Wizard of Oz might just be a whimsical, very odd movie about a girl trying to get home, but tornadoes really do send people flying. They can lift cars off the road and roofs off houses so anyone or anything else caught up in its path is fair game. You gotta move FAST.
Countless tornado hunters have died after filling vans with expensive high quality equipment and chasing tornados across countries and American states, but they still keep fucking doing it. The American TV show Storm Chasers makes it seem like an exciting adventure AND you can make a fortune by selling photos. What could go wrong?!
The wind can suck the air from your lungs, suffocating you and can be as fast as 200mph – even a flying phone can lead to blunt force trauma and potential death…
And yeah, it’s true that it can rain dogs, frogs, insects and literally anything else. If water is sucked from a pond, all of its living – and dead – creatures will be dragged up with it, circling in the air until they fall. If the winds are strong enough to pull up a car – or even just a car door – you really don’t wanna be within best-Insta-photo-ever distance.
- Fire tornados
Yes, this is a thing. Don’t believe me? Just watch…
- The deep freeze
Some people feel claustrophobic at even the idea of getting trapped in snowfall or outdoors in the cold. Snow is heavy when covering someone and can lead to frostbite and black limbs which need removing, assuming that the victim survives the freezing temperatures.
Every avalanche starts with a drop of snow which bundles up and could collapse at any minute – especially if someone down below makes a loud noise.
The coldest permanently inhabited location is the Siberian village of Oymyakon, Russia. The lowest recorded temperature was -68°C (-90.4°F) in 1933.
- The deep freeze icicles
When ice and icicles accumulate, gutters can be covered up, causing excess water in the road and on pavements, stopping traffic and public transport.
And in 2010, falling icicles killed five people and injured 150 in St. Petersburg, Russia after an exceptionally brutal winter. It’s a shitty annual risk in many countries.
- Ice, ice baby
People slip and fall on the ice every year – it ain’t all fun and games. It causes car crashes, motorbike accidents and people dropping like flies. Some people live with life-long injuries after falling at a dangerous angle onto their shoulder, arm, hands, hip, spine or legs, some people hit their heads and thousands of people have died because of ice.
Many people admit to being scared of thunder and wish they could be a child again to crawl into their parent’s bed the second they hear the first bang. Thunder is caused by dark rain-filled clouds hitting together and is often accompanied by lightning.
But did you know that we can accidentally and indirectly trigger them? Studies have found that increased heated temperatures in and around cities can trigger thunderstorms which wouldn’t otherwise form in these areas. Other causes include unstable air being warmed by steam released by the cooling stacks of nuclear power plants.
- Does lightning strike twice?
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but whoever *they* are have been proved wrong by many people.
The holder of the grim record is Roy Cleveland Sullivan who worked as a park ranger at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, USA. Between 1942 and 1977, Sullivan was struck by lightning on seven different occasions and survived them all. Not many people have been so lucky, with the annual global death toll at 2,000 according to National Geographic.
Lightning can cause power cuts and if it strikes your home, you best hope you’re not in the shower or you might be electrocuted.
- Killer hailstones
Have you ever seen hailstones the size of a baseball? If not, you’re lucky.
The largest hailstone on record was found in South Dakota, USA in the summer of 2010. It measured 8” in diameter, 18 ½” in circumference, and weighed 1.9375 pounds. That’s around the size of a GRAPEFRUIT and the weight(ish) of two cans of beans bouncing off your car, the roof of your house or your head…
A hailstorm in America lasted over a week in the summer of 2017, bringing high winds and travelling across Minnesota to Texas to Virginia to New York (that’s over 1,300 miles). Thousands of buildings and vehicles were damaged, with the total damage estimated at over $2.5 billion.
Imagine being killed by a hailstone?! A hailstorm in July 2002 killed 25 Chinese people and injured hundreds of others as people were knocked unconscious in the street and road accidents happened across Henan Province.
Hurricanes generally form over water and despite being less common than tornados, their strong winds can easily capsize boats. When you’re in the middle of the sea or an ocean, there’s literally nowhere to hide.
You’ve heard about it raining fish, birds and other animals, right? Well these mystery downpours can be caused by hurricanes.