Tired of living with hurricanes, tornadoes or floods? Head to Portland, Salt Lake City or Providence. Or California. Yes, California.

Portland, Oregon is the safest place to live to avoid hazardous weather; three of the other safest places are in California.

Florida and Texas dominate the other extreme — the riskiest places.

BestPlaces, a company that analyzes data and ranks locations on various criteria, revealed the Top 10 Safest Places to avoid natural disasters. The firm looked at 30 years of data of hazardous weather trends and eight risk factors weighted by severity and frequency of the threat. The most important risk factors were tornados and hurricanes, then flooding and earthquakes, and drought, hail, wind and wildfires were considered less impactful.

“We created this list to help the many people who are worried or fed up with the danger and recovery after natural disaster,” says Bert Sperling, founder of BestPlaces.net. “Even just the threat of an event can be very disruptive, which can happen several times annually.”

Sperling acknowledges that some people might be surprised that several California places rank in the top 10, given the earthquake risk on the West Coast.

“We considered the risk from a major earthquake to be less than that from hurricanes or tornados,” he explains. “It’s entirely possible that one could spend a lifetime in California and never be impacted by an earthquake, while hurricanes and tornados can occur regularly.”

Also, the analysis was done on data collected before this season’s deadly hurricanes and wildfires, BestPlaces confirmed for Insurance Journal.

The BestPlaces rankings are based on the frequency and severity of hazardous weather events over the last 30+ years, analyzing the tracks and locations of serious storms which caused injury and damage. Governmental agencies providing the raw data include NOAA, USGS, and NCDC Storm Events Database.

Bestplaces.net also compiles other location data including cost of living, crime, schools, and other metrics to help people decide where to live.

Of the 50 largest metros in the US, the top 10 safest places to avoid natural disasters include:

  1. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  2. Salt Lake City, UT
  3. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
  4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  7. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  8. Richmond, VA
  9. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
  10. Columbus, OH

And the top 10 riskiest places for natural disasters are:

  1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
  2. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  5. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
  6. Birmingham-Hoover, AL
  7. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  9. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

*This story appeared previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.

Topics California Catastrophe Natural Disasters Hurricane Earthquake