Los Angeles County named most dangerous area in the U.S. for natural disasters

An aerial view of light traffic before sunset on the I-110 and SR-101 freeways and Sunset Boulevard amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 6, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. More than 10,000 people have now died in the U.S. from COVID-19. (Photo by (Getty Images)

Los Angeles County, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the most dangerous area in the U.S. for natural disasters.

FEMA calculated the risk for every county in America based on their vulnerability to 18 kinds of natural disasters, from earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes to floods, volcanoes and tsunamis.

Los Angeles County finished first on FEMA's National Risk Index. The rest of the top 10 — or bottom 10 — were California's Riverside and San Bernardino counties; the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City; Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and St. Louis.

RELATED: FEMA ranks Riverside County among riskiest in US for natural disasters

FEMA officials began work on the index in 2016. It is intended to help planners and emergency managers at the local, regional, state, and federal levels in updating their emergency operations plans, prioritize and allocate resources, educate homeowners and renters and encourage community-level risk communication and engagement.

The rankings do not necessarily mean that L.A. County residents are more likely than others to fall victim to a natural disaster. A central component of the index was Expected Annual Loss, which quantifies the anticipated economic damage resulting from natural hazards each year.

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The data also takes into account social vulnerability, which is broadly defined as the susceptibility of social groups to the adverse impacts of natural hazards, including disproportionate death, injury, loss, or disruption of livelihood.

The 18 natural hazards included in the index were: avalanche, coastal flooding, cold wave, drought, earthquake, hail, heat wave, hurricane, ice storm, landslide, lightning, riverine flooding, strong wind, tornado, tsunami, volcanic activity, wildfire, and winter weather.

The "safest" county was Loudoun County, a suburb of Washington, D.C. Three other Washington suburban counties ranked among the lowest risks among larger counties, along with suburban counties near Boston, Long Island, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

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CNS contributed to this report.