Eastern Massachusetts is dicey because its long coastline is exposed to the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean. The rural west has proven statistically safer, but winter in the Berkshires can be snowy and harsh.
That leaves Connecticut, whose coastline faces the Long Island Sound rather than the open ocean. Still, living near the water is not recommended for the truly tense; a safer bet is somewhere inland, away from rivers and lakes, but not too deep in the boonies. The state's winters aren't tropical, but they tend to be not quite as snowbound as those in western Massachusetts.
After much debate, then, we settled on Slate's "America's Best Place to Avoid Death Due to Natural Disaster": the area in and around Storrs, Conn., home to the University of Connecticut. It lies in Tolland County, which was not part of the 1999 federal disaster declaration for Tropical Storm Floyd. It's a safe 50 miles from the sound and not close to any rivers. It also has relatively easy access to a major city (Hartford) in the event an evacuation or hospitalization becomes necessary.*
This conclusion is by no means scientific, nor can safety ever be completely guaranteed; as moviegoers and Rick Moody fans are already aware, Connecticut does have its share of dangerous ice storms. And we're open to suggestions about other candidates for the title. If you want to make a case for your hometown, please drop us a line. In the meantime, the parents of UConn students can sleep a little easier tonight.
(E-mail may be quoted unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)
*Correction, September 15, 2005: This piece originally asserted that the University of Connecticut Health Center is in Storrs, Conn. It's actually in Farmington.