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8 beautiful places prone to natural disasters

storm in Martinique

Photo: Selden Vestrit/flickr

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The Caribbean

Much of the Caribbean sits in the so-called Hurricane Alley. Strong tropical storms batter the islands every year. Even those that don't make headlines can bring dangerously high winds, storm surges, flooding rains and deadly landslides. During hurricane season, off-season prices still bring plenty of travelers to places like Jamaica, Barbados and Puerto Rico. Since hurricanes come from all the way across the Atlantic, you will know well in advance if one is headed in your direction.

Earthquakes are also a possibility in the West Indies, as the 2010 devastation in Haiti demonstrated. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are vulnerable to tremors and especially to the tsunamis that can be spawned by a major quake. Some of the most-active volcanos in the Americas are also found in the Caribbean.

The francophone island of Martinique (pictured) was the site of one of the worst volcano disasters in the Americas. More than 28,000 people were killed when Mont Pelee erupted in 1902. There has been little activity since, however, and the volcano is now closely monitored. In more recent times (1995), Montserrat's Soufrière Hills erupted, destroying the capital city and making large portions of Martinique uninhabitable. The volcano here remains active and many people who were evacuated from the island during the '90s eruption never returned.