Meteorology plays only a minor direct role in the events that initiate
earthquakes. However, it can substantially affect the secondary effects of
earthquakes. High tides and high water levels from storm runoff exacerbate
the impact of seismic sea waves. Water saturation of soils increases the
likelihood of landslides, avalanches, and earthen dam failures, as well as
the probability of soil liquefaction during seismic shaking.
Earthquake-induced failure of dams when streams are near flood stage would
be catastrophic. If housing is substantially damaged, rain or subfreezing
temperatures would be, at the least, a nuisance and could contribute
substantially to morbidity and mortality, as such conditions did following
the December earthquake in mountainous Armenia in 1988.