Hazards

In a city with such natural beauty, it's easy to feel complacent about disasters, especially during the summer. An earthquake could strike at any time, without warning--and that's not the only hazard that threatens our region.

  • Bomb threat
  • earthquake
  • flood
  • hazmat
  • household fire
  • landslide
  • pandemic
  • power outage
  • radiation
  • terrorism
  • transportation
  • tsunami
  • volcano
  • windstorm
  • winterstorm

The bad news: All five active volcanoes in Washington State--Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens--have the potential to erupt violently, ejecting massive amounts of ash, gas, and rock while triggering mudflows and rockfalls.

The good news: Seattle is far enough away from all of them to avoid the brunt of the consequences. Additionally, most volcanic eruptions can be predicted based on the series of earthquakes that precedes them, which facilitates making the necessary preparations.

Of the five mountains, Mt. Rainier poses the greatest threat to Seattle, most likely in the form of ash and mud washing out of the Duwamish River in the days following the eruption. Models predict that the lahar would stop south of our city, but rains could wash downstream large quantities of this debris into Elliott Bay.

Please see the Seattle OEM volcano preparedness guide for details on how to prepare for and respond to a volcanic event.

Additional resources include: