Torrential downpours of freezing rain; massive snow storms; golf ball-sized hail; all are examples of natural phenomenon that Montrealers are used to seeing put the city in a state of mild-to-complete chaos. Today, with the streets slick with wet ice, would be a prime example.
But an earthquake? Sure, you may feel a mild tremor here and there, but nothing we should worry about, right?
Apparently not, and Montrealers should be a bit more worried about an earthquake hitting the city, and what they're going to do when it happens, than you might think.
According to Radio-Canada, Montreal is the second most at-risk city when it comes to earthquakes, behind Vancouver. Granted, major earthquakes are seldom seen in the city (the last notable one was in 1732), but the city is in a precarious place when it comes to seismic activity and it seems as if we're due for one.
In fact, a recent study performed by AIR Worldwide (a catastrophe risk modeling consultant firm) stated "it is only a matter of time" before a major earthquake hits the Montreal area. AIR Worldwide even provides something of a timeframe, stating that there's a 5-15% chance an earthquake will strike the region in the next 50 years.
An earthquake between 5-7 on the Richter scale (the current projection) hitting the city is bad enough, but making matters worse for Montreal is one of the city's most prized features: all of the old buildings and architecture.
See, back in the day, builders didn't really take structural dangers like earthquakes into account when constructing buildings. As such, many of Montreal's older buildings aren't built to withstand an earthquake.
Certain buildings have been updated to meet modern building codes, however, but not all. Making matters worse, the municipal government doesn't seem to really know which of the city's older buildings have been structurally upgraded and which ones haven't, notes Radio-Canada.
Apparently this isn't a problem limited to municipal buildings either, as there is no documentation stating whether a majority of Montreal's older architectural works are prepared for seismic activity.
That's more than a little worrying, especially since Montreal is seemingly "due" for a major earthquake. And when an earthquake does hit, we all have crumbling buildings to look forward to, coupled with the sheer terror of a natural disaster, of course.