Astonishing Natural Disasters In History


1889 Johnstown Flood

It seems like there's a natural disaster every other day somewhere in the world, and it's easy to panic about something with "disaster" right in the name. That's not to say there's nothing to be alarmed about---don't take this as discouragement from following your local authorities' evacuation instructions when the big one hits. It's important to remember, however, that Mother Earth is an old broad. She's been there, done that, and she's survived much worse than what's currently being thrown at her. Well, mostly.
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It's never a good thing to find your city underwater, but the 1889 flood of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was exceptionally severe. After several days of heavy rain in late May of that year, a reservoir owned by a country club whose membership included Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Flick burst from the strain, because they apparently couldn't afford to keep up the repairs. As a result, 20 million tons of water killed more than 2,200 people and washed away 1,600 homes. Three decades later, bodies were still being found as far away as Cincinnati. About 750 of those bodies were never identified and rest today in a section of a local cemetery called the Plot of the Unknown, which you have to admit is at least pretty metal.