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  Field Listing - Natural hazards

Natural hazards
Afghanistan damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts
Albania destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Algeria mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
American Samoa typhoons common from December to March
Andorra avalanches
Angola locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau
Anguilla frequent hurricanes and other tropical storms (July to October)
Antarctica katabatic (gravity-driven) winds blow coastward from the high interior; frequent blizzards form near the foot of the plateau; cyclonic storms form over the ocean and move clockwise along the coast; volcanism on Deception Island and isolated areas of West Antarctica; other seismic activity rare and weak; large icebergs may calve from ice shelf
Antigua and Barbuda hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts
Arctic Ocean ice islands occasionally break away from northern Ellesmere Island; icebergs calved from glaciers in western Greenland and extreme northeastern Canada; permafrost in islands; virtually ice locked from October to June; ships subject to superstructure icing from October to May
Argentina San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding
Armenia occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts
Aruba lies outside the Caribbean hurricane belt
Ashmore and Cartier Islands surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards
Atlantic Ocean icebergs common in Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean from February to August and have been spotted as far south as Bermuda and the Madeira Islands; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme northern Atlantic from October to May; persistent fog can be a maritime hazard from May to September; hurricanes (May to December)
Australia cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
Austria landslides; avalanches; earthquakes
Azerbaijan droughts
Bahamas, The hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
Bahrain periodic droughts; dust storms
Baker Island the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Bangladesh droughts, cyclones; much of the country routinely inundated during the summer monsoon season
Barbados infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
Bassas da India maritime hazard since it is usually under water during high tide and surrounded by reefs; subject to periodic cyclones
Belarus NA
Belgium flooding is a threat in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Belize frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Benin hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Bermuda hurricanes (June to November)
Bhutan violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Bolivia flooding in the northeast (March-April)
Bosnia and Herzegovina destructive earthquakes
Botswana periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility
Bouvet Island NA
Brazil recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
British Indian Ocean Territory NA
British Virgin Islands hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)
Brunei typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are very rare
Bulgaria earthquakes, landslides
Burkina Faso recurring droughts
Burma destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
Burundi flooding, landslides, drought
Cambodia monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
Cameroon volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes
Canada continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains
Cape Verde prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active
Cayman Islands hurricanes (July to November)
Central African Republic hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common
Chad hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds occur in north; periodic droughts; locust plagues
Chile severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
China frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Christmas Island the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Clipperton Island NA
Cocos (Keeling) Islands cyclone season is October to April
Colombia highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
Comoros cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano
Congo, Democratic Republic of the periodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes
Congo, Republic of the seasonal flooding
Cook Islands typhoons (November to March)
Coral Sea Islands occasional tropical cyclones
Costa Rica occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
Cote d'Ivoire coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible
Croatia destructive earthquakes
Cuba the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to October (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common
Cyprus moderate earthquake activity; droughts
Czech Republic flooding
Denmark flooding is a threat in some areas of the country (e.g., parts of Jutland, along the southern coast of the island of Lolland) that are protected from the sea by a system of dikes
Djibouti earthquakes; droughts; occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rains and flash floods
Dominica flash floods are a constant threat; destructive hurricanes can be expected during the late summer months
Dominican Republic lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
East Timor floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Ecuador frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Egypt periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms
El Salvador known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes very destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Equatorial Guinea violent windstorms, flash floods
Eritrea frequent droughts; locust swarms
Estonia sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
Ethiopia geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Europa Island NA
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) strong winds persist throughout the year
Faroe Islands NA
Fiji cyclonic storms can occur from November to January
Finland NA
France flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean
French Guiana high frequency of heavy showers and severe thunderstorms; flooding
French Polynesia occasional cyclonic storms in January
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Ile Amsterdam and Ile Saint-Paul are extinct volcanoes
Gabon NA
Gambia, The drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Gaza Strip droughts
Georgia earthquakes
Germany flooding
Ghana dry, dusty, northeastern harmattan winds occur from January to March; droughts
Gibraltar NA
Glorioso Islands periodic cyclones
Greece severe earthquakes
Greenland continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
Grenada lies on edge of hurricane belt; hurricane season lasts from June to November
Guadeloupe hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere de Guadeloupe is an active volcano
Guam frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare, but potentially very destructive typhoons (June - December)
Guatemala numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
Guernsey NA
Guinea hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season
Guinea-Bissau hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
Guyana flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons
Haiti lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Mawson Peak, an active volcano, is on Heard Island
Holy See (Vatican City) NA
Honduras frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Hong Kong occasional typhoons
Howland Island the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Iceland earthquakes and volcanic activity
India droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
Indian Ocean occasional icebergs pose navigational hazard in southern reaches
Indonesia occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires
Iran periodic droughts, floods; dust storms, sandstorms; earthquakes along western border and in the northeast
Iraq dust storms, sandstorms, floods
Ireland NA
Israel sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
Italy regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice
Jamaica hurricanes (especially July to November)
Jan Mayen dominated by the volcano Haakon VII Toppen/Beerenberg; volcanic activity resumed in 1970
Japan many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis; typhoons
Jarvis Island the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island poses a maritime hazard
Jersey NA
Johnston Atoll NA
Jordan droughts; periodic earthquakes
Juan de Nova Island periodic cyclones
Kazakhstan earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty
Kenya recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
Kingman Reef wet or awash most of the time, maximum elevation of about 1 meter makes Kingman Reef a maritime hazard
Kiribati typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them very sensitive to changes in sea level
Korea, North late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall
Korea, South occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest
Kuwait sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April; they bring heavy rain which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August
Kyrgyzstan NA
Laos floods, droughts
Latvia NA
Lebanon dust storms, sandstorms
Lesotho periodic droughts
Liberia dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to March)
Libya hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms
Liechtenstein NA
Lithuania NA
Luxembourg NA
Macau typhoons
Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of high seismic risks
Madagascar periodic cyclones
Malawi NA
Malaysia flooding, landslides, forest fires
Maldives low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise
Mali hot, dust-laden harmattan haze common during dry seasons; recurring droughts; occasional Niger River flooding
Malta NA
Man, Isle of NA
Marshall Islands infrequent typhoons
Martinique hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)
Mauritania hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Mauritius cyclones (November to April); almost completely surrounded by reefs that may pose maritime hazards
Mayotte cyclones during rainy season
Mexico tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
Micronesia, Federated States of typhoons (June to December)
Midway Islands NA
Moldova landslides (57 cases in 1998)
Monaco NA
Mongolia dust storms, grassland and forest fires, drought, and "zud", which is harsh winter conditions
Montserrat severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted continuously since 1996)
Morocco northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts
Mozambique severe droughts; devastating cyclones and floods occur in central and southern provinces
Namibia prolonged periods of drought
Nauru periodic droughts
Navassa Island NA
Nepal severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Netherlands flooding
Netherlands Antilles Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened; Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October
New Caledonia cyclones, most frequent from November to March
New Zealand earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Nicaragua destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Niger recurring droughts
Nigeria periodic droughts; flooding
Niue typhoons
Norfolk Island typhoons (especially May to July)
Northern Mariana Islands active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan; typhoons (especially August to November)
Norway rockslides, avalanches
Oman summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
Pacific Ocean surrounded by a zone of violent volcanic and earthquake activity sometimes referred to as the "Pacific Ring of Fire"; subject to tropical cyclones (typhoons) in southeast and east Asia from May to December (most frequent from July to October); tropical cyclones (hurricanes) may form south of Mexico and strike Central America and Mexico from June to October (most common in August and September); cyclical El Nino/La Nina phenomenon occurs in the equatorial Pacific, influencing weather in the Western Hemisphere and the western Pacific; ships subject to superstructure icing in extreme north from October to May; persistent fog in the northern Pacific can be a maritime hazard from June to December
Pakistan frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Palau typhoons (June to December)
Palmyra Atoll NA
Panama occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area
Papua New Guinea active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis
Paracel Islands typhoons
Paraguay local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
Peru earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity
Philippines astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis
Pitcairn Islands typhoons (especially November to March)
Poland flooding
Portugal Azores subject to severe earthquakes
Puerto Rico periodic droughts; hurricanes
Qatar haze, dust storms, sandstorms common
Reunion periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April); Piton de la Fournaise on the southeastern coast is an active volcano
Romania earthquakes, most severe in south and southwest; geologic structure and climate promote landslides
Russia permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
Rwanda periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
Saint Helena active volcanism on Tristan da Cunha
Saint Kitts and Nevis hurricanes (July to October)
Saint Lucia hurricanes and volcanic activity
Saint Pierre and Miquelon persistent fog throughout the year can be a maritime hazard
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat
Samoa occasional typhoons; active volcanism
San Marino NA
Sao Tome and Principe NA
Saudi Arabia frequent sand and dust storms
Senegal lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts
Serbia and Montenegro destructive earthquakes
Seychelles lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare; short droughts possible
Sierra Leone dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Singapore NA
Slovakia NA
Slovenia flooding and earthquakes
Solomon Islands typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity
Somalia recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season
South Africa prolonged droughts
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism
Southern Ocean huge icebergs with drafts up to several hundred meters; smaller bergs and iceberg fragments; sea ice (generally 0.5 to 1 meter thick) with sometimes dynamic short-term variations and with large annual and interannual variations; deep continental shelf floored by glacial deposits varying widely over short distances; high winds and large waves much of the year; ship icing, especially May-October; most of region is remote from sources of search and rescue
Spain periodic droughts
Spratly Islands typhoons; serious maritime hazard because of numerous reefs and shoals
Sri Lanka occasional cyclones and tornadoes
Sudan dust storms and periodic persistent droughts
Suriname NA
Svalbard ice floes often block the entrance to Bellsund (a transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic
Swaziland drought
Sweden ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, can interfere with maritime traffic
Switzerland avalanches, landslides, flash floods
Syria dust storms, sandstorms
Taiwan earthquakes and typhoons
Tajikistan earthquakes and floods
Tanzania flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought
Thailand land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Togo hot, dry harmattan wind can reduce visibility in north during winter; periodic droughts
Tokelau lies in Pacific typhoon belt
Tonga cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou
Trinidad and Tobago outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms
Tromelin Island NA
Tunisia NA
Turkey very severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van
Turkmenistan NA
Turks and Caicos Islands frequent hurricanes
Tuvalu severe tropical storms are usually rare, but, in 1997, there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them very sensitive to changes in sea level
Uganda NA
Ukraine NA
United Arab Emirates frequent sand and dust storms
United Kingdom winter windstorms; floods
United States tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the midwest and southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development
Uruguay seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts
Uzbekistan NA
Vanuatu tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
Venezuela subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts
Vietnam occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta
Virgin Islands several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes
Wake Island occasional typhoons
Wallis and Futuna NA
West Bank droughts
Western Sahara hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind can occur during winter and spring; widespread harmattan haze exists 60% of time, often severely restricting visibility
World large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)
Yemen sandstorms and dust storms in summer
Zambia tropical storms (November to April)
Zimbabwe recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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