Author Archives: editor

Worst US Bus Disasters

The Worst Bus Disasters In The United States

The Worst US Bus Disasters
May 21, 1976
Yuba City, California
28 are killed when a bus carrying the Yuba City High School choir plunges off a cliff.

May 14, 1988
Carrolton, Kentucky
Truck driver collides head on with a church bus. 27 died; 34 injured.

Feb. 28, 1958
Prestonsburg, Kentucky
A schoolbus with 46 students struck a wrecker and plunged into the Big Sandy River. 26 children and tbe bus driver drowned.

September 23, 2005
Wilmer, Texas
While fleeing from Hurrican Rita, 24 elderly people died when their bus caught fire and burned.

June 5, 1980
Jasper, Arkansas
A tour bus rolls off a highway and kills 22 while injuring 19.

May 9, 1999
New Orleans
When a tour bus crashes into a concrete wall, killing 22 and injuring 24.

May 30, 1986
Walker, California
A tour buss crashes into the West Walker river, killing 21 and injuring 19.

March 2, 2007
Atlanta, Georgia
A bus transporting the Bluffton University baseball team crashed through a barrier, killing 7.

October 25, 1995
Fox River Grove, Illinois
A school bus is struck by a commuter train, killing seven.

March 22, 1971
Congers, New York
Five were killed and 44 injured when a train hit a school bus that failed to stop at a crossing.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:58:46.

The World’s Worst Airline Disasters

While airline disasters are spectacular and often cause tragically large losses of life, it’s worth noting that airline travel remains among the safest modes of travel. In a statistical sense, airplanes are far safer than cars. Each day, three million people fly; In 2000, commercial airliners carried 1.09 billion people on 18 million flights, while suffering only 20 fatal accidents. On the other hand, automobile accidents kill more than 40,000 each year in the United States alone.
1.
New York, New York
September 11, 2001
4,500+ Casualties

The majority of the deaths here were, of course, on the ground, as Islamic terrorists flew two 767s into the World Trade Center buildings.

2.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
March 27, 1977
583 Casualties

583 people were killed when two Boeing 747s collided on a foggy runway.The KLM jet had departed without permission, and struck the Pan Am as it taxied on the same runway.

3.
Mount Fuji, Japan
August 12, 1985
520 casualties

A Japan Airlines 747 crashed near Mount Fuji shortly after takeoff. The crash was blamed on the rupture of a rear bulkhead. The crash wasn’t the end of the deaths, though. A maintenance supervisor later committed suicide over the incident.

4.
Delhi, India
November 12, 1996
349 casualties

Traveling from Kazakhstan, an Ilyushhin IL-76 Cargo plane collided with a Saudia 747. The collision was blamed on the Kazakhstan crew, which ignored instructions.

5.
Orly Airport, France
March 3, 1974
346 casualties

The cargo door of Turkish Airlines DC-10 burst open, causing de-pressurization, the failure of the airplane’s floor, and severing the control cables. The airplane crashed just outside of Paris.

6.
Irish Sea
June 23, 1985
329 killed

Sikh extremists planted a bomb on an Air India 757, which blew up over the Irish Sea enroute to Bombay. A second bomb, intended for another airliner, blew up in the luggage facility.

7.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
August 19, 1980
301 killed

The Saudia L-1011 made a safe emergency landing after an on board fire, then taxied to the end of the runway. Strangely, the plane did not evacuate, and the engines continued to run. Three minutes later, a flash fire ignited the airplane and all aboard were killed.

8.
Persian Gulf
July 3, 1988
290 killed

An Iran Air Airbus A300 is mistakenly shot down by a US Navy Destroyer

9.
Chicago O’Hare
May 25, 1979
273 killed

Until 9-11, the single largest loss of life in a US aviation incident. An engine fell off a DC-10, damaging the wing and rolling the airplane. Crashing a mile from the airport, it exploded in a huge fireball.

10.
Lockerbie, Scotland
December 21, 1988
270 killed

Libyan agents planted a bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103. Casualties included 11 on the ground.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:56:31.

The World’s Worst Oil Spills

The Ten Worst Oil Spills In History.

The World’s Ten Worst Oil Spills

Since one purpose of this site is to put disasters into perspective, I’ll note that in spite of all the hand-wringing about man-made oil spills, the worst culprit is nature herself. Natural oil leaks form the ocean floor annually spill many times more than the amount lost from broken tankers and destroyed rigs. Off the coast of Santa Barbara, for example, there is a naturally occurring leak that seeps 20 – 25 tons of oil each day, and has done so for several hundred thousand years. Department of Energy studies on this, and on other leaks, conclude that each year, more than 47 million gallons leak naturally into US waters. Compare that to the number eleven spill on this list, which was a one-time loss of 45 million gallons.

All that said, here are the Top Ten Worst Oil Spills.

1.
Arabian Gulf/Kuwait
January 1991
380 – 520 million gallons

Attempting to slow the Allied advance, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces dumped an estimated 380 – 520 million gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf from offshore oil terminals.

2.
Deepwater Horizon
Gulf of Mexico
April 20, 2010 – ?
155 million gallons (estimated).

Following an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11, the broken facility has leaked an estimated 155 million gallons from the ocean floor.

3.
Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill
Bay of Campeche, Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico
June 1979 – March 1980
140 million gallons

An offshore oil well blew and ignited, causing the drilling rig to collapse. Oil spilled out of the fissure into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 10,000 – 30,000 barrels a day until the well was capped. All told, an estimated 140 million gallons was spilled.

4.
Atlantic Empress Oil Spill
Trinidad and Tobago
July 19, 1979
90 million gallons

The Atlantic Empress oil tanker collided with another ship, the Aegean Captain and sprung a leak. Approximately 90 million gallons was spilled. Twenty six were killed.

5.
Fergana Valley
Uzbekistan
March 2, 1992
88 million gallons

An oil line leak released 88 million gallons in to Uzbekistan’s heavily populated Fergana valley.

6.
Kolva River Oil Spill
Kolva River, Russia
September 8, 1994
84 million gallons

A leak from an oil pipeline spilled 84 million gallons into the Russian Arctic region.

7.
Nowruz Oil Field
Iran
Feb 10 – Sept 18 1983
80 million gallons

An oil platform collapsed after being hit by a tanker, sending oil into the Persian Gulf. Eighty million gallons were spilled before it was capped. Delays were blamed on the first Gulf War. Eleven were killed trying to stop it.

8.
Castillo de Beliver Oil Spill
South Africa
August 6, 1983
79 million gallons

The Castillo de Beliver, a tanker, caught fire and broke in two, sending 79 million gallons into the Saldanha Bay northwest of Cape Town.

9.
Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill
France
March 16, 1978
69 million gallons

Caught by a winter storm, the Amoco Cadiz ran aground at Portsall, France. Breaking in two, it sent 69 million gallons into the ocean.

10.
ABT Summer Oil Spill
Angola
May 28, 1991
51 – 81 million gallons

Seven hundred miles off the coast of Angola, the ABT Summer exploded, releasing 51 – 81 million gallons into the ocean. Five crew were killed.

11.
M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill
Genoa, Italy
April 11, 1991
45 million gallons

The oil tanker explosion killed six, sank the ship and leaked oil for twelve years. A total of 45 million gallons was released.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:53:14.

The Worst US Winter Storms

The Worst US Winter Storms

1.
The Great Blizzard of 1888 (the Great White Hurricane)
March 11 – 14, 1888
Eastern United States

Snowfall of 40 to 50 inches was recorded over New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut as sustained winds created drifts as much as 50 feet tall. Total deaths are thought to have exceeded 400. Most of the cities on the eastern seaboard were shut down for days, if not weeks.

2.
The Storm of the Century
March 11 – 15, 1993
Eastern United States

This massive cyclonic storm had arms that at one point reached from Canada to Central America. More than 300 were killed.

Alabama and Georgia were hit by as much as six inches of snow. Areas further south received up to 16 inches of rain. Tornadoes and thunderstorms broke out all over the South.

In the northeast, record low temperatures were accompanied by large amounts of snow; some affected areas received as much as 3.5 feet, while drifts piled as high as 35 feet. Storm surges as high as twelve feet were recorded.

3.
The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950
Eastern United States
November 24 – 30, 1950

Heavy winds, rain and blizzard conditions followed an extratropical cyclone as it moved through the Eastern United States. Deaths totaled 353, and US insurance companies ended up paying more for damages than for any previous storm. Record cold was recorded in Florida (24 degrees F), Georgia (3 degrees F), Kentucky (-2 degrees F) among others.

4.
The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 (The Big Blow)
Nov 7 – 10, 1913
Midwestern US and Ontario Canada

Also known as the Freshwater Fury and the White Hurricane, the Big Blow may have been the worst US winter storm on record. It killed more than 250, primarily from ships that were sink. Five of the twelve ships downed by the storm were never found.

Caused by the convergence of two storm fronts over the Great Lakes’ relatively warm waters, the storm generated 60-90 mph winds that lasted as long as 16 hours. Wind driven waves rose to 35 feet and whiteouts covered the region. The cyclonic system, with its counterclockwise winds, was, in fact, a hurricane.

The storm was of the same type—a November gale—that famously sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.

5.
The Schoolhouse Blizzard (aka The Schoolchildren’s or Children’s Blizzard)
January 12, 1888
Great Plains States

This blizzard gets its name from the many schoolchildren who died when trapped in one room school houses. More than 230 are said to have died.

The tragedy of this storm was created by its suddenness, and by the warm conditions that immediately preceded it. Lulled into complacency by a balmy day, people ventured from their houses to do chores and head to town. Many were improperly dressed. Then, an arctic front crashed into moisture laden air from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing sudden drops of temperature to as low as -40 F, as well as large amounts of snow.

This was the first of two major blizzards in 1888.

6.
Armistice Day Blizzard
Midwestern United States
November 11 – 12, 1940

The Armistice Day Blizzard was an early storm that encompassed Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Snowfall of up to 27 inches were combined with winds of 80 miles per hour, snow drifts of twenty feet and a fifty degree drop in temperature. The Blizzard surprised many hunters who were out for the beginning of duck season and had not prepared for such a storm. In Minnesota, twenty five hunters are said to have died. In all, 154 died in the storm, including 66 sailors on Lake Michigan.

7.
The Knickerbocker Storm
January 27 – 28, 1922
Upper South and Mid Atlantic States

This storm was named for the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C., which killed 98 and injured 133. A storm cyclone which dropped as much as three feet of snow in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Knickerbocker affected 22,400 square miles of northeastern United States.

7. The Blizzards of 2010
February 5-6; February 9-10, 2010
Mid Atlantic States, Northeast

Affecting the entire eastern seaboard, these storms dumped as much as 40 inches each on the eastern United States.

8.
Blizzard of 1999
Midwestern United States
January 2 – 4, 1999

With 22 inches of snow in Chicago, the Blizzard of 1999 was rated at the time by the National Weather Service as the second worse to hit the Midwest in the 20th Century. Temperature as low as -20 degrees fahrenheit were recorded. Storm related deaths totaled 73 persons.

9.
The Great Blizzard of 1899
February 11 – 14, 1899
Continental United States

From Georgia to Maine, temperatures dropped to record temperatures. Tallahassee reached -2 F; Minden, Louisiana, -16 F; Camp Logan, Montana, -61F; Washignton, D.C., -15 F. Snowfall began in Florida and moved rapidly north. Washington, D.C. recorded 20 inches in a single day; New Jersey, 34 inches—still a record.

10.
The Great Storm of 1975
January 9 – 12, 1975
Central and Southeast US

This storm system resulted in snow in the midwest and 45 tornadoes in the southeast, together killing a total of 70 people. It began in the Pacific, crossed the Rockies, and then collided with an arctic air front and tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. It produced record low barometric pressures in the midwestern United States.

Strangely, while the storm produced huge amounts of snow in the upper midwest, it also produced record high temperatures. More than a foot of snow fell from Nebraska to Minnesota, while sustained winds of 30 – 50 mph produced 20 foot snowdrifts. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Indianapols and Indiana, record high temperatures were set.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:49:36.

The Ten Deadliest US Wildfires

The Ten Deadliest Wildfires In US History
As Measured By the Number of Deaths

1.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin
October 8 – 14, 1871
More than 1,500 lives were lost and 3.8 million acres burned. The United States’ worse fire, however, is largely forgotten because it occurred at the same time as the more publicized Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8 – 10, 1871. Interestingly, a similarly deadly fire occurred in Port Huron, Michigan on the same date.

2.
Cloquet, Minnesota
October 13 – 15, 1918
As many as 1,000 were killed (although some sources put the total at around 500) 52,000 injured or displaced and 250,000 acres destroyed.

3.
Hinkley, Minnesota
September 1, 1894
The Great Hinkley Fire burned 200,000 acres and may have killed as many as 800, although some put the total at just over 400. The towns of Mission Creek, Brook Park and Hinckley all were completely destoryed. Among the victims was Boston Corbett, the union soldier who killed John Wilkes Booth.

4.
Port Huron, Michigan
September 5, 1881
The Thumb Fire (named for Michigan’s east side thumb-shaped peninsula), burned more than 1 million acres and took 282 lives. This was the second major fire in the area in ten years.

5.
Port Huron, Michigan
October 8 – 21, 1871
The Port Huron fire of 1871 occurred simultaneously with the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire and the Great Chicago Fire. It destroyed more than 1,200,000 acres and killed 200.

6.
Maine and New Brunswick, Canada
October 1825
Named after a river in Canada, the Miramichi fire burned 3 million acres and killed 160.

7.
Idaho and Montana
August 20 – 21, 1910
The Great Fire of 1910—also known as the Big Blow Up, or the Big Burn—ignited more than 3 million acres. It killed at least 85 people. The blaze created a firestorm that whipped up high winds which very quickly drove the fire forward.

8.
Oakland, California
October 20, 1991
Beginning as a grass fire, this firestorm destroyed 1,520 acres and killed 25.

9.
Southern California
October 2003
Multiple wildfires destroyed more than 800,000 acres and left 22 dead.

10.
Cleveland National Forest, San Diego, California
October 23 – November 3, 2003
Burning more than 230,000 acres, this fire killed 15.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:46:58.

Biggest US Wildfires

The Worst US Wildfires
The Biggest US Wildfires
As Measured By Acreage Consumed In The Blaze

1.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin
October 8 – 14, 1871
More than 1,500 lives were lost and 3.8 million acres burned. The United States’ worse fire, however, is largely forgotten because it occurred at the same time as the more publicized Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8 – 10, 1871. Interestingly, a similarly deadly fire occurred in Port Huron, Michigan on the same date.

2.
Maine and New Brunswick, Canada
October 1825
Named after a river in Canada, the Miramichi fire burned 3 million acres and killed 160.

3.
Idaho and Montana
August 20 – 21, 1910
The Great Fire of 1910—also known as the Big Blow Up, or the Big Burn—ignited more than 3 million acres. It killed at least 85 people. The blaze created a firestorm that whipped up high winds which very quickly drove the fire forward.

4.
Port Huron, Michigan
October 8 – 21, 1871
The Port Huron fire of 1871 occurred simultaneously with the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire and the Great Chicago Fire. It destroyed more than 1,200,000 acres and killed 200.

5.
Port Huron, Michigan
September 5, 1881
The Thumb Fire (named for Michigan’s east side thumb-shaped peninsula), burned more than 1 million acres and took 282 lives.

6.
Yellowstone National Park
Summer, 1988
A controlled burn that got out of control ultimately destroyed 800,000 acres of Yellowstone National Park.

7.
Southern California
October 2003
Multiple wildfires destroyed more than 800,000 acres and left 22 dead.

8.
Syskiyou National Forest, Oregon
July 12 – 15, 2002
Lightening strikes burned more than 500,000 acres in the Biscuit Creek area.

9.
Rodeo-Chediski, Arizona
June 18 – July 7, 2002
Two fires in Arizona merged to burn more than 467,066 acres.

10.
Southern California
October 2007
Multiple fires burned more than 375,000 acres in Southern California.

There also have been a number of fire “epidemics,” which occurred separately in several states over a spring and summer season. The worse, perhaps, occurred during the Spring and Summer of 2000, when fire spread over seven million acres in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. A series of outbreaks in 2004 in Alaska burned more than 5 million acres. Wildfires in 2005-2006 in Oklahoma and Texas burned more

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:38:37.

The Worst US Mining Disasters

The Top US Mining Disasters
As Measured By Casualties

The Top Ten US Mining Disasters

Coal mining is a dangerous, but vital business. Roof collapses, gas and dust explosions and the heavy equipment are just some of the dangers faced by these brave men.

1.
December 6, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia

361 casualties. The worst mining disaster in US history occurred when shafts 6 and 8 of a Consolidated Coal Company mine exploded. The explosion, which was apparently caused by methane gas, disabled the ventilation system causing the buildup of deadly gases.

2.
October 22, 1913
Dawson, NM

This coal mine explosion killed 263.

3.
November 13, 1909
Cherry, Illinois

A bale of hay accidentally ignites, setting the coal mine on fire. The death toll for miners and would-be rescuers reached 259.

4.
December 10, 1907
Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania

In the same year as the Monongah mine disaster, 239 miners were killed in a separate disaster in Pennsylvania.

5.
May 1, 1900
Scofield, Utah

When a cache of blasting powder in a copper mine accidentally ignited, 200 were killed.

6.
May 19, 1928
Mather, Pennsylvania

An explosion in the No. 1 coal mine killed 195.

7.
May 19, 1902
Coal Creek, Tennessee

A methane gas buildup caused an explosion that killed 184.

8.
April 28, 1914
Eccles, WV

An explosion at the No. 5 mine killed 181.

9.
January 25, 1904
Springdale Township, Pennsylvania

When the Harwick mine explodes, 179 are killed.

10.
March 8, 1924
Castle Gate, Utah

Inadequate watering of coal dust was blamed for an explosion that killed 172.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:34:26.

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters
As Measured By Casualties

By far the worst mining safety record belongs to China. Even today, hundreds (if not thousands—the secretive Chinese government does not reveal figures) die every year in Chinese mining accidents.

1.
April 26, 1942
Honkeiko Colliery, China

In what is probably the worst mining disaster of all time, 1,549 miners died in a mine operated in Japanese occupied Manchuria. China has a horrible history of mine safety. The Japanese also likely are culpable in this accident: the Chinese were treated as sub-human slave labor by Japanese.

2.
March 10, 1906
Courrieres, France

1,100 died in a coal dust explosion.

3.
November 9, 1963
Omuta, Japan

An explosion in a coal mine killed 447.

4.
October 14, 1913
Senghenydd, Wales, Uk

The worst of the Welsh coal mining diasters killed 438 men and boys

5.
January 1, 1960
Coalbrook, South Africa

437 casualties.

6.
June 6, 1972
Wankie, Rhodesia

A coal mine explosion kills 427.

7.
May 28, 1965
Dhanbad, India

375 miners die in a coal mine fire.

8.
December 27, 1975
Chasnala, India

A coal mine explosion, followed by flooding kills 372.

9.
December 12, 1866
Barnsley, England, UK

361 casualties.

10.
December 6, 1907
Monongah, WV

361 casualties. The worst mining disaster in US history is said to have provided the origins of the first Father’s Day celebration. A woman named Grace Clayton asked her church to hold a Sunday memorial for the fathers lost in the mine. The commemoration was held in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:32:43.

The Worst Diseases and Pandemics

The Worst Outbreaks of Disease

Worst Outbreaks of Disease
Worst Pandemics; The Worst Epidemics
With increasing worries about various viral outbreaks, such as Ebola, it is important to put the outbreak into proper perspective and review the historical record on epidemic diseases.

It is impossible, however, to know exactly how many how many died in many of these pandemics. Therefore, unlike other disasters on this site, this list is not ordinal.

A couple of quick notes. An epidemic is when a disease spreads beyond a local population. A pandemic is when the epidemic reaches worldwide proportions.

The Great Influenza
1918 – 1919
Also known as the Spanish Flu (although it is likely that it began in the United States), the Great Influenza was most likely the deadliest plague in history. The extremely virulent influenza virus killed an estimated 50 to 100 million people in the space of just six months. And unlike other influenza outbreaks, it didn’t just target the old, and the very young. One study says that it struck 8 to ten percent of all young adults.

The pandemic was no doubt magnified by conditions existing during World War I, especially with large numebrs of young men packed into very close quarters in military barracks. The flu is said to have begun as an isolated mutation in Haskell County, Kansas, and transmitted through the movement of American soldiers from base to base.

The numbers killed by this flu are even more staggering, when you consider that the world’s population at the time was just 1.8 billion. A similar outbreak today, therefore, could kill 350 MILLION people in a similar time span.

Hospitals would be overwhelmed. During a typical flu season in the United States, hospital respirator use approaches 100 percent. In a pandemic flu outbreak, most people would not be able to get respirators or hospital care.

This nightmare scenario is what drives the concern about the swine flu, and the avian, or bird flu outbreaks. Memories of the Great Influenza are what sparked the media frenzy over such things as the Swine Flu outbreak of the 1970s and the SARS incident of the early 2000s.

Without being alarmist, the outbreak of a global flu pandemic (avian flu or any other kind), is the number one public health threat today. Unfortunately, the United States government is entirely unprepared. The political reality is that other, less deadly diseases get much more money and attention because of their powerful lobbies.

The Black Death
1300s – 1400s, with further outbreaks into the 1700s.

The Black Death is the name commonly given to the epidemic outbreaks of bubonic plague that killed nearly a third of the population of Europe—as many as 34 million people. It is said to have killed similar numbers in China and India. The Middle East also was hit hard. Although no totals are known, a 1348 – 1349 outbreak may have killed 400,000 in Syria. Similar numbers for Africa are reasonable.

So, the total worldwide almost certainly reaches close to 100 million.The reason this is not considered the worst, however, is that the Black Death killed those 100 million over a period of 200 years. The Great Influenza killed that number in six months.

The Black Death is traditionally attributed to one of the three forms of the plague caused by the bacterium Y.pestis (bubonic, pneumonic and septicemic). Some modern researchers, however, think it may have been caused by an Ebola like virus, or anthrax.

Malaria

Malaria most likely is the the greatest killer of humans in history. Even today, the World Health Organization estimates that it kills 2.7 million people a year; WHO says that it kills 2,800 children a day

The tragedy is that malaria is entirely preventable. After World War II, it disappeared almost entirely thanks to the use of DDT. However, with the banning of that pesticide, malaria has made a comeback. .

AIDS
1981? to present
Although it pales in comparison to the total deaths caused by influenza, malaria and other epidemic diseases, AIDs is on the list of the worst plagues of all time. Since 1981, 25 million deaths have been attributed to the disease.

Like Malaria, the tragedy is that the deaths are entirely preventable, since AIDS is transmitted, not through the air, or food or water, but through known human behaviors.

The “Common” Flu
The flu is responsible for an average of 36,000 deaths a year in the United States. AIDS, in comparison, causes about 15,000 deaths a year in the United States. That makes the “common” flu more than twice the killer that AIDs is.

The Plague of Justinian
541 AD
Most likely a bubonic plague, this one killed one quarter of the population surrounding the Mediterranean. At its height, it killed 10,000 a day in Constantinople.

The First Cholera Pandemic
1817 – 1823
The outbreak began in Calcutta and quickly spread to the rest of the subcontinent, eventually extending as far as the Middle Eastern southern Russia and China.

There is absolutely no way to know how many died, because records were not kept. However, the British Army recorded 100,000 deaths among its native and European troops, so the mortality must have been staggering.

Infected rice apparently was to blame for the start of the outbreak.

There have been seven pandemic outbreaks of cholera in since this one. The seventh began in 1961, and according to the World Health Organization continues today. In 1999, WHO recorded more than 9,000 cholera deaths.

Cholera is caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae and is spread by drinking water and food contaminated with the bacteria.

The Antonine Plague
165 – 180 AD
A suspected smallpox outbreak, it may have killed as many as five million. 5,000 a day were dying in Rome.

The Asiatic (Russian) Flu
1889 – 1890
First reported in Russia in May of 1889, it hit North America in December. By February 1890, it had travelled to South America. Later, it hit India and Australia. The flu had a very high mortality rate, killing at least 250,000 in Western Europe.

Smallpox Epidemics Among Native Americans
1492 – 1900
Although no one knows for sure, various sources estimate that the pre Columbian population of the Americas was around 75 million, with as many as 12 million living in North America. A US census count in 1900 put the Native American population at 237,000. That is, by any standard, a precipitous drop in population.

While there are dozens of things to blame for this decline, the spreading of European diseases—especially the highly virulent smallpox—throughout the Native American populations was a major factor. The smallpox (and other disease) outbreaks among Native Americans, therefore, must rank as one of the worst outbreaks of disease of all time.

Various Typhus Epidemics

Caused by the bacteria Rickettsia prowazekii, and transmitted by body lice, typhus has been responsible for untold deaths. During Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, more of his soldiers died from typhus than were killed by the Russians. The disease also exacerbated the Irish potato famine.

During World War I, typhus outbreaks are said to have killed as many as nine million (civilians included).

The Plague of Athens in 420 BC was most likely the first recorded outbreak of Athens.

Typhus outbreaks were averted during the Second World War with aggressive delousing campaigns using DDT.

Polio

The 1952 polio outbreak killed 3,000 in the United States. A 1916 US epidemic killed 6,000. Although it has virtually disappeared in the US since the 1955 invention of the vaccine, it still appears around the world.

Typhoid Fever Outbreaks

Typhoid is spread by water and food infected by the salmonella bacteria. It has largely disappeared with modern sanitation, but was a major killer in olden days (wells and outhouses shared the same water tables).

Typhoid killed Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert and her son, Edward.

In 1906, a cook named Mary Mallon gained eternal fame as Typhoid Mary when she was traced as the source of an outbreak among the moneyed set in New York.She was a carrier, who did not herself get sick, and was said to have infected 33 people, 3 of whom died. When she refused to stop working as a cook, she was quarantined for life on North Brother Island.

But Mary was not an isolated case. The New York Health department knew of dozens of carriers, and in 1906 recorded 600 typhus deaths.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:30:43.

The Deadliest US Tornadoes

The Deadliest US Tornado Outbreaks
The Top Ten Most Deadly Tornadoes In US History

Note: The 2011 Tornado Outbreak has been confirmed as of this writing (4/29/2011) to have killed 319, making it the highest death toll since 1932, when 322 were killed in Alabama. An April 1974 outbreak killed 325 people in 11 states. These however, are from multiple storms.The deadliest tornado remains the March 18, 1925 twister which killed 695 people on its 219 mile path of destruction. A total of 747 people were killed in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana when all tornadoes in that storm are accounted for.

What follows is a list of the deadliest single twisters.

1.
The Tri State Tornado
Missouri, Illinois and Indiana
March 18, 1925
Death Toll: 625

The worst tornado in US history began in southeastern Missouri, crossed through southern Illinois, and then turned into southwestern Indiana. The 625 deaths more than doubled the second deadliest tornado in US history. More than 2,000 were injured. Property damage was assessed at $16.5 million, which would be $1.7 billion in today’s dollars. The tornado left a 219 mile track, which is the longest ever recorded. It rated an F5 on the Fujita scale.

2.
The Great Natchez Tornado
Natchez, Mississippi
May 7, 1840
Death Toll: 317

Forming southwest of Natchez, the tornado moved north along the Mississippi River. When it struck Natchez, it destroyed dozens of buildings, killing at least 48. Another 269 were killed as the tornado destroyed numerous flatboats on the river. The actual number of casualties, however, may have been much higher, because in pre-Civil War Mississippi, slave deaths would not necessarily have been recorded.

3.
The St. Louis – East St. Louis Tornado
St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois
May 27, 1896
Death Toll: 255

One of the few tornados to strike a major city, this tornado touched down in St. Louis, leaving a mile-wide path of destruction through homes and commercial buildings. It then crossed the Mississippi River and blew through East. St. Louis, Illinois. The official death toll is 255, but some have estimated that the death toll may be as high as 400, since it is impossible to know how many died in boats on the Mississippi River. When adjusted for inflation, the tornado would be the costliest in US history, with an estimated price tag of $2.9 billion.

4.
The Tupelo Tornado
Tupelo, Mississippi
April 5, 1936
Death Toll: 233

Part of a storm system that also spawned the deadly Gainsville tornado, the Tupelo storm cut its way through the residential areas of Tupelo, Mississippi. One noted survivor was one-year-old Elvis Presley.

5.
The Gainsville Tornado
Gainesville, Georgia
April 6, 1936
Death Toll: 203

Following the Tupelo storm of the previous night (see number 4 above), the Gainsville Tornado destroyed several major buildings in Gainsville, Georgia, including 70 at the Cooper Pants Factory.

6.
Glazier-Higgins-Woodward Tornadoes
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas
April 9, 1947
Death Toll: 181

This tornado—or perhaps series of tornados—is named after the three towns that suffered the greatest percentage of casualties. Seventeen were killed in Glazier, Kansas, 51 in Higgins Texas, and 107 in Woodward, Oklahoma. The tornado is thoguht to have been as much as two miles wide. More than 100 city blocks were destroyed in Woodward. In addition the the 181 killed, another 970 were injured.

7.
Amite-Pine-Purvis Tornadoes
Louisiana, Mississippi
April 24, 1908
Death Toll: 143

Leaving only seven houses intact in Purvis, Mississippi, the storm killed 143 and injured 770.

8,
Joplin, Missouri Tornado
Joplin, Missouri
May 23, 2011
Death Toll: 117

9.
New Richmond Tornado
Wisconsin
June 12, 1899
Death Toll: 117

Strong enough to blow a 3,000 pound safe a block away, the storm began as a waterspout on lake St. Croix.

10.
Flint Tornado
Michigan
June 8, 1953
Death Toll: 115

Beginning just north of Flushing, this tornado destroyed the north side of Flint before breakign up near Lapeer. It travelled 46 miles in an hour and a half. The same storm system spawned a tornado in Worcester, Massachusetts a day later.

11.
Waco Tornado
Texas
May 11, 1953
Death Toll: 114

The deadliest twister to ever hit Texas, the Waco storm damaged 600 businesses, 850 homes and 2,000 cars.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:28:42.