Top 10 safest U.S. cities from natural disasters

  • DAYTON, OH - MAY 11: The sun sets over downtown Dayton on May 11, 2004 in Dayton, Ohio. Once a post-war American boomtown in the 1950s and 1960s, Dayton's economy sputtered in the 1970s with the national decline in heavy industry and with business giants like NCR, Frigidaire and Mead. Ohio's economic woes have continued during the Bush presidency; since January 2001 the state has lost 265,000 jobs, 162,000 of them in manufacturing. Ohio's economic woes are key to making the state a critical state in the 2004 presidential race. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) Chris Hondros

    (MoneyWatch) Scared of hurricanes, tornadoes and fires? Head to Ohio.

    Three of the top 10 cities in the U.S. least likely to be destroyed by a natural disaster are located in the state, according to Trulia. Tapping data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service and FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, the real estate research firm compiled a list of the cities around the country with the lowest risk of being flooded, rocked by earthquakes, battered by hurricanes, struck with tornadoes or burned by wildfires.

    Another benefit these safer cities enjoy: They tend to be affordable compared to locales in places like California, Florida and Hawaii where natural disasters are more common. There are reasons why, say, a house in Honolulu is pricey -- impeccable weather, breathtaking views, exciting urban nightlife -- but that won't help when the earth starts shaking.

    In fact, when a natural disaster occurs, homeowners are almost twice as likely to default on their mortgage in high-risk areas than in more sheltered regions, according to mortgage research provider CoreLogic.

    While most of the cities listed below escape the scariest disasters, they do have weather-related issues, particularly heavy snowstorms, that shut down even the biggest cities. Many of the cities are also struggling with man-made problems, such as high unemployment and other recession-era fallout.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.