Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

For American cities in 2017, flood, fire and volatility became the new normal

For American cities in 2017, flood, fire and volatility became the new normal

It has been a year of flood and fire for the American city. In late summer, Houston virtually disappeared under water as Hurricane Harvey dumped a total of 33 trillion gallons on U.S. soil. Not long after, with the deadly wine-country fires barely out, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Diego counties caught fire, burned and kept burning. The Thomas fire, which started near Santa Paula, is now the fifth largest by acreage in California history — and within shouting distance of the biggest ever.

In a certain sense these disasters seem familiar, or at least regionally appropriate. Houston, a city whose bayous thread through its neighborhoods like veins, is fundamentally a wet...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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