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Nature’s Warning Signs Before A Disaster Is About To Strike

Peculiar Pines

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Hiking can be a great way to exercise and relax; but when you’re walking the trails be on the lookout for trees with J-shaped trunks. Trees growing like that are an indicator that the soil is unstable and a landslide could be coming. And while everyone loves the song “Landslide,” an actual landslide can be deadly – so avoid ground where the tree trunks look like this.


Scratch Marks

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If you see trees with scratch marks and claw imprints on them, you might want to mosey to another part of the trail. These scratches and claw marks mean you’re in bear country. And while there are ways you can attempt to thwart a bear attack, it’s best to avoid these guys if you can. If you see cubs, leave them alone. Yes, they’re cute, but mama bear is going to be really angry if you mess with her babies!

The Sound of Cracking

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And on the subject of trees – if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? I don’t know; but I do know that if you do hear trees or branches cracking then they are definitely about to fall and you should definitely get out of the way!

Tide Retreat

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If you are enjoying a long walk on the beach and the ocean starts receding, then you better run! When the tide retreats, so should you – because this means a tsunami is coming, SOON. There is a saying, “When the ocean disappears, do not go looking for it.” These are great words to remember. Tsunamis can slam into the coast at up to 500mph, so you should get to higher ground stat! Tsunamis devastate everything in their paths. The only way to stay safe is to find the highest ground possible as far away from the coast as possible.

Roaring Ocean

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Another sign of an impending tsunami is if the ocean starts making a loud roaring sound. If this happens, you better get to higher ground ASAP!

Choppy Waves

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A channel of choppy waves like this is the easiest way to spot a deadly rip current. Rip currents are powerful currents of water that can easily drag even the most advanced swimmer to their death in the depths of the ocean. If you do get caught in a rip current swim parallel to the shore. If you try to swim against the current, you will not win, so swimming parallel is the only chance you have to escape it.


Flash Flood

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Speaking of staying out of the water, an flash flood can be as deadly as choppy seas. Don’t ever try to drive on a road that is flooded. You might think your SUV can plow through it, but you are wrong. You will sink!

Animals Running Toward You

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There is a reason we call them “animal instincts.” That’s because animals can often sense natural disasters way before we can. If you see animals running toward you, then you better follow them, because a wildfire might be behind them.

Shark Retreat

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For instance, scientists know that when a hurricane is approaching, sharks retreat to deeper waters. Researchers also know that golden-winged warblers will unexpectedly fly far away from their homes when a tornado is approaching. Scientists believe this is because they can hear much lower frequencies than humans can, and that these low frequencies tip them off to severe storms.

Dog Sense of Smell

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Another warning we can receive from our best furry friend is that of an illness. Dogs have been known to sniff out cancer in many cases. So if your pooch is acting odd around you, it might be wise to see a doctor. You never know!

Frog Croaking

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Frogs are natural born meteorologists. When you hear frogs croaking a lot more than usual, then rain is probably on the way.


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Check out these frogs. They are really on the move – I wonder if they know something we don’t. There is a centuries-old theory that if animals and insects just up and leave their homes, an earthquake is coming. Might not be a bad idea to follow the frogs!

Climate Change

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A grizzly bear heading towards colder climates is a good indicator of climate change. Animals permanently migrating can let us know what is happening to the climate.

No Fish

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This researcher is using an “animal” species called an ecosystem canary. These are not birds, but are named that after the canaries that coal miners used to check for poisonous gases. Like the migration of animals, the disappearance of this species can inform scientists about the ways the climate is changing.

Rattle Sound

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If you happen upon a rattlesnake and he is shaking his rattle, then he really wants you to leave. You should listen to him! A bite from a rattlesnake can be painful and deadly.


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While skunks aren’t deadly (they’re even kind of cute!), you do not want to make one angry. Before a skunk releases the smelly spray of death, it will shake its tail and back away from you. This will be your only warning! If you do not heed Mr. Skunk’s warning he will stamp his feet at you, aim, and spray. You will smell so bad that your friends and family probably won’t want to see you for a few days. You can use these isolated days to learn from your smelly mistake!


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This one we’ve all seen in cartoons, but it’s true – if a bull is kicking up dirt and snorting at you, it is about to charge. Cows kill more people each year than sharks. So when a bull is pawing the dirt and snarling at you, you better take him very seriously and leave before you’re trampled.


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It is a good rule of thumb to avoid brightly colored animals too. While not all brightly colored animals are harmful, many are. Many brightly colored animals and bugs are venomous or poisonous and can be deadly. What’s the difference between venomous and poisonous? If it bites you, it’s venomous; if you bite it, it’s poisonous.


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Another tip you’ve probably never heard is that if a bee stings you and you are near the hive, you better run. Bees that sting a human emit pheromones that tell the other bees to form a bee army and attack. Cover your face and run. Never swat at them!

Weird Water

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If the clear or blue water you are used to swimming in has turned green, then it is not safe for swimming anymore. Green water is usually a sign of an algae contamination. Most of the algae itself is harmless, but it emits toxins that can harm or even kill animals and humans. In movies contaminated, green water gives people super powers; unfortunately in real life it will probably just give you a very upset stomach (at best!).

Algal Bloom

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Another type of algal bloom that can be very dangerous is called a red tide. During red tide algae produces harmful toxins that kill marine life and can even be fatal to humans. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to swim in red water, but if for some reason you feel compelled to, don’t!

Spring Tide

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There are many beautiful caves and coves on the beach. While the tide is low normally, during a full moon or new moon you get what’s called a Spring Tide. This tide can wash in unexpectedly leaving you with no escape. When it comes to beach caves it might be best to snap a selfie and get out. The tide can always be unpredictable!

Multi Colored Water

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Much like brightly colored animals, brightly colored bodies of water are very dangerous too. Multi colored bodies of water, like this one at Yellowstone are extremely hot – sometimes up to 200 degrees, almost boiling. Ouch!

Volcano Lakes

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It is also a really bad idea to swim in a lake near a volcano. These hot lakes can emit gases that can cause an eruption of carbon dioxide. This amount of carbon dioxide is extremely deadly – so stay out!


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While we’re on the subject of volcanoes, if they are rumbling, making noise, or spewing lava, or all of the above – get away from it! This one should be obvious, but just in case you didn’t know, volcanoes can kill you too. You don’t want to end up like the petrified victims in Pompeii – yikes!

And one more tip: if there are dead fish (plural) in or around the water STAY OUT OF IT. (This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people aren’t stymied by dead marine life!)

Red Skies

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You’ve heard the phrase “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.” It turns out this isn’t a sailor’s yarn, but a scientific fact. A red sky in the evening is nothing to worry about. However, a red sky in the morning means that a low pressure, strong storm is moving in from the west – not a good time to be on a boat!

Green Skies

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Unlike red skies, green skies are bad news at any time – day or night. Green skies are an ominous sign that a hailstorm, tornado, or both are approaching pronto. If the skies above you turn green or yellow-green, you needed to be indoors five minutes ago.


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A halo around the sun or moon is a beautiful sight to see. While they do not necessarily predict severe weather, they are usually indicators that rain is on the way.

Apocalyptic looking clouds

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A wall cloud is a large, sudden, low hanging cloud that means imminent danger is fast approaching. These clouds usually rotate as they get closer to the ground, and this often causes tornados to form. Whether a wall cloud produces a tornado or not, it is going to be a violent storm. These clouds mean you need to run for cover, because the weather is about to get very nasty.

Cloud Funnels

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Much like wall clouds, funnel clouds spell trouble – but you can probably tell that by looking at it. Is it a tornado? Not necessarily, but if it touches down it becomes one. As with a wall cloud, if you see a funnel cloud, you need to get indoors. Even if it doesn’t touch down, it is still a powerful thunderstorm that can do a lot of damage. As a general rule, if the clouds look like the end of the world is approaching, you should get inside and act like it is!

Dust Storm

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A dust storm is kind of like a tornado of dust, dirt, and debris. These dust storms can cause serious respiratory damage, so head indoors if you spot one of these!

Streaked Clouds

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These streaky clouds are called inflow bands. These clouds let storm chasers know that a low-pressure storm is forming – which is great tornado weather. These clouds also probably mean you should go inside!

Beguiling Berries

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Unless you are Bear Grylls you probably shouldn’t eat anything you find while enjoying nature. However if you find yourself lost and hungry you should at least know to avoid berries. These holly berries are extremely toxic, and they aren’t the only ones. If you’re not a berry connoisseur or a botanist, it is best to avoid berries altogether. They all kind of look the same, and eating the wrong one can kill you. Make sure to shove some granola bars in your pockets so you don’t have to gamble with wild berries.


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And while we’re talking food, don’t gamble with mushrooms either. If a mushroom is growing next to a tree it can kill you. Actually, there are many mushrooms that will kill you, or best-case scenario make you hallucinate for eight hours straight. Just pack those granola bars and save the mushrooms for your celebratory pizza when you find your way back home.

The ground is shiny or cracked

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Black ice is actually very clear ice that has formed on roadways or walkways. Because black ice allows the road beneath it to show through, it can be almost invisible. Look closely at puddles and wet pavement in the wintertime, because often black ice just looks wet. You can tell the difference by how shiny black ice is. Since it can be hard to see and it is a big fall hazard, you should wear proper winter shoes with good traction when you’re outside. This will help you stay on your feet and off of your face.

Cracked Snow

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If you’re hitting the slopes and you see large cracks in the snow, it might be a bad day for skiing. Cracks like this, or snow that feels hollow can mean an impending avalanche. Much like a tsunami, if you get caught up in an avalanche, there is a good chance you won’t be getting out alive – so be smart and stick to the hot tub when the snow looks like this.

Gray Ice

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It is also a bad idea to walk across ice that is white or gray. Walking across ice is risky no matter what; but you definitely don’t want to tempt fate when the ice looks gray. This woman is about to have a wet baby!


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Is quicksand a danger in real life? Well, not really. You can get very dirty in it, but you’d pretty much have to try to die in quicksand. Despite what movies and Nintendo games tell us, to get out of quicksand, simply pick your feet up and walk backwards. IF for some reason this doesn’t work, grab a branch or a friend to pull out with. It turns out that quicksand and lava haven’t been as big of a part of my life as movies had me believe!

 Your perfect hairdo suddenly looks like someone rubbed a balloon on your head

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If you are outside and your hair starts sticking up, then lightning is about to strike awfully close to you and you are in grave danger. When your hair begins standing on end like that of a mad scientist, you should seek shelter post haste! Lightning strikes are extremely deadly and they can happen anywhere. Much like our animal friends know when bad weather is coming, our hair does too – so listen to it!

Square Waves

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If you ever see cross seas like this, stay out of the water! Much like a channel of choppy waves, these cross patterned waves are hiding a very strong, deadly current.