Let's face it — you watch Grey's Anatomy for the improbable drama. And this week's winter finale is no different. The doctors at Grey-Sloan Memorial will be up against an intense windstorm. But this isn't the first time they've dealt with the forces of nature. In case you can't recall what other natural disasters have happened on Grey's Anatomy, I'm here to take you back.
Everyone remembers most of the series' pivotal episodes, which all seem to center around a traumatic event. There was the Season 3 ferry crash (which led to the infamous Meredith drowning scene), the Season 8 plane crash (the resulting deaths of which gave the hospital its current name), and, of course, the Season 6 shooting, when Cristina has to operate on Derek. And we can't forget the Season 2 bomb episode, aka the arc that earned Kyle Chandler an Emmy nomination, during which Meredith has to literally pull a bomb out of a person's body. So yeah, the show is no stranger to out-there scenarios.
But most of those were due to human error. Natural disasters have also been the source of some of Grey's Anatomy's landmark episodes. Here are the times when the Seattle docs have had to buckle down and face Mother Nature.
The Sinkhole (Season 8)
The eighth season of Grey's Anatomy gets off to a rocky start. Meredith and Derek aren't speaking because she ruined his clinical trial, but they're co-parenting Zola. Cristina and Owen aren't speaking because she's planning to get an abortion. Oh, and Meredith gets fired.
But that's nothing compared to what Seattle has in store for them. A giant sinkhole opens up, taking with it a bickering couple and their car. Owen and Callie have to talk the man through amputating his own wife's leg, as they're unable to go down and do it themselves without the sinkhole caving in. Owen ends up going down anyway in the end. All in all, it ends up being a pretty minor catastrophe, as far as Grey's Anatomy standards are concerned.
The Superstorm (Season 9)
The Season 9 finale of Grey's Anatomy revolved around an intense superstorm that was a subtle nod to Hurricane Sandy. The two-parter sees a man, Leon, impaled by rebar; a bus crash that was the result of the storm and which April thought might have claimed Jackson; and an entire NICU of babies without working ventilators. Talk about a perfect storm.
But the biggest traumas were, of course, that of the doctors themselves. Meredith went into labor and, though her son was born healthy, almost dies on the table. (She's saved by Bailey, and ends up naming her child in honor of the doc.) And, of course, there's Richard: The chief (he'll always be the chief to me) is down in the basement trying to restore power when he electrocutes himself, leaving his fate unknown until Season 10.
The Mudslide (Season 10)
If there's one thing this show is known for, it's that one catastrophe is never enough. Surprising to no one (well, except the doctors), the heavy rainstorm leads to a mudslide. Which, of course, means more patients.
There's Lenny, who literally aspirated mud while trying to help an elderly woman escape, and who dies from fecal matter in his chest. Yikes. Intern Heather goes down to the basement and find's Richard, only to get electrocuted herself. She doesn't make it, but fortunately, the chief pulled through. (Can you even imagine the show without him?)
The Earthquake (Season 11)
The Grey's Anatomy earthquake episode took place at a weird time for the show — at a random time during the season. But let's set the scene first: Derek's in D.C. and since he's been gone, Meredith has been on a streak of successful surgeries, while basically avoiding anything having to do with her husband. The end of this episode brings a pretty shocking revelation about their relationship.
As for the earthquake itself, there's only one major incident. An 11-year-old girl, Ruby, calls because she can't get through calling 911, and her mom hit her head and wasn't breathing. Owen and Amelia walk her through cutting an airway in her mom's neck, and then through CPR when that doesn't work. In the end, they're able to get her to the hospital and she survives, but it's a pretty traumatic experience for a preteen.
The Fire (Season 13)
I'm sort of bending the rules here, but this list wouldn't be complete without the fire episode, which is what ultimately leads to Ben leaving the hospital to become a firefighter. It's also notable in the canon of Grey's Anatomy finales because none of the major characters die, despite the very real threat.
The fire itself is man-made, albeit out of necessity. A rapist takes Stephanie and a patient's sibling, Erin, hostage, and the hospital is locked down. In order to get out, he starts a fire to set off the smoke alarm, but gets more than he bargained for when Stephanie sprays him with alcohol and he's literally burned to death near an oxygen tank, thus triggering the explosion.
Stephanie, a seriously impressive resident up until this point, spends the entire season finale getting herself and Erin out of the burning building, and she survives against all odds. She then quits her job — but honestly, who wouldn't? Stephanie learned what the rest of the doctors seem to fail to recognize: Working at Grey Sloan is a death trap.