On This Day: Hurricane Juan

On the evening of September 28, 2003, residents in Halifax, Nova Scotia, prepared quietly for a night of bad weather. No one knew, though, that the tropical storm heading to land would turn into the most ferocious hurricane the province had seen in 110 years. Winds raging up to 160 kilometers per hour, pulled the freezing ocean over seawalls and into people’s houses, plucked roofs from people’s homes and pulled trees up from the ground. The city was brought to a standstill. Two people died when trees crashed down on their vehicles. Several houses went up in flames, one tragically taking three lives. The storm continued north, cutting a swath of destruction through Nova Scotia and Prince Edw

Today in Disaster History: Oppau Germany Factory Explosion:

On the morning of September 21, 1921, workers at the BASF nitrate plant in Oppau, Germany, were preparing to break up gigantic blocks of chemical fertilizer with dynamite. It was a routine procedure that had been performed tens of thousands of times without incident. This time, however, 9 million pounds of mixed ammonium nitrate and sulphate exploded with tremendous power. The factory was blown to pieces and half of Oppau was destroyed in the blast. The explosion killed 561 workers and residents of the town. It was later revealed that the factory had recently started using a different recipe with higher concentrations of ammonium nitrate in the mix. Although efforts were made to reduce t