Think Friday the 13th is just a silly superstition? Of course it is. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have real-world impacts on businesses – an estimated $700 to $800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th because people are afraid to shop, travel, and conduct business!
And we can’t dismiss some of the truly bizarre disasters that have occurred on this date. Just a few examples:
- July 13, 1951 – Kansas was hit with over 25 inches over rain, flooding over two million acres of land, damaging oil tanks, stranding passengers on trains for four days, and exceeding previous records by up to nine feet.
- Nov. 13, 1970 – The Bhola cyclone ripped through the Bay of Benghal. To this day it’s the deadliest storm in the region, killing between 150,000 and 550,000 – one district in Bangladesh lost over 45% of its population. It’s even credited with jumpstarting a civil war between what was then East Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Oct. 13, 2006 – The “October Surprise” snowstorm in western New York brought two feet of snow, leaving 300,000 without power, damaging thousands of trees and creating a State of Emergency.
- Jan. 13, 2012 – The Costa Concordia soundly beat out the Titanic as the largest passenger ship ever wrecked, sinking with almost double the amount of people on the famous ocean liner.
- Multiple dates – Flying and the 13th don’t seem to mix. Among the air-travel-related disasters, Uruguayan Flight 571 crash-landed in the Andes (Oct. 13, 1972) while that same day Aeroflot 217 crashed from a suspected lighting strike; and Swedish flight DC-3 vanished (June 13, 1952), possibly shot down by the Soviet Union.
- Jan. 13, 1989 – A computer virus in the UK infected hundreds of computers and deleted personal files.
- Oct. 13, 1989 – After a buyout of United Airlines fell through (another plane-related disaster!), the stock market experienced a “mini crash,” with a lot of people in the junk bond market losing money.
- Aug. 13, 2010 – A 13-year-old British boy at an airshow was struck by lightning at 13:13 hours, somehow walking away with only minor burns on his shoulder.
- April 13, 2029 – An asteroid will come within 22,000 miles of the Earth. It’s not expected to hit the planet, but its gravitational effects could still cause problems. So mark your calendars waaaay in advance for this one.