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After hearing about San Diego’s No. 31 ranking on a list of the country’s most disaster-prone cities, we decided to look into what makes us safer than Oakland (48), San Francisco (47), San Jose (45) and Los Angeles (43), and more disaster prone than Milwaukee (1).

To do so, we put in a call to Warren Karlenzig, chief strategy officer of SustainLane.com, the website that compiled the report.

He said the greatest risks to San Diego are flooding, earthquakes and tsunamis.

A number of offshore faults, combined with the city’s low-lying topography, pose a tsunami threat to local residents, Karlenzig said. But, cities to the north are more prone to large-scale earthquakes because the San Andreas Fault relieves pressure periodically by letting off temblors of magnitude 6 or 7.

“Surely San Diego is not as at risk as much as Los Angeles and San Francisco,” Karlenzig said. “As you start going up into the upper 30s, particularly low 40s (on the list), the magnitude of risk increases exorbitantly.”

Karlenzig also provided a website that details the history of natural disasters in San Diego. Check it out here


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