If you’re one of the triskaidekaphobics around the world who woke up with a sense of dread, today’s the day you’ve been bracing for – and while Friday the 13th may just be a silly superstition, that doesn’t mean it’s not also a historic day for disasters.
A few disasters, at least are predictable – such as the economy. A reported $700-800 million is lost due to anxiety over travel, shopping and other activities. That same anxiety can also account for an increase in auto accidents.
But there’s no way to prepare for some of the other historic catastrophes that fall on this cursed day, including:
- 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
- 1972 – A plane carrying a team of Uruguayan rugby players and their loved ones crashed in the Chilean mountains without supplies, lost for 72 days before rescue (if you’ve seen the 1993 film Alive, you’re familiar with the harrowing details)
- 1976 – A perfect definition of irony: a man who took the day off work after having a bad feeling something would happen to him was killed when the roof of his apartment caved in
- 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
- 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, and
- 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.
As usual, whenever we get to write about Friday the 13th, we offer this gentle reminder that there is at least one big event you can start preparing for: an asteroid is projected to come within 22,000 miles of Earth on April 13, 2029, with a one-in-100,000 chance of collision.