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Houston’s Sprawl May Have Slowed Down Hurricane Harvey—and Made It Worse
In the months after Hurricane Harvey pummeled East Texas, Houston asked itself a hard question: How much blame does the city’s rapid growth deserve for the calamity?
As storms leave patterns of damage that bear little resemblance to FEMA’s flood plain maps, it’s clear that the topology of cities has become its own hydroscape, directing and displacing stormwater according to the layout of buildings, roads, parking lots, and storm drains. In Houston, the country’s fastest-growing city over the past few decades, rivers appear to be rising along with development as grasslands give way to pavement. That climate change is sending bigger, more frequent rainstorms is not helping. Even after hurricanes, about two in three residential flood-insurance claims are inland—the product of freshwater flooding…
California wildfire smoke spreads to New York, 3,000 miles away
The U.S. East Coast has been provided a firsthand reminder of the deadly California wildfires after smoke swept across the country and caused a haze to envelop the eastern seaboard, including Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Hazy skies were reported in several places on the East Coast from smoke wafting from 3,000 miles farther west, where wildfires in California have killed more than 80 people and razed more than 15,000 homes and other structures. An unusually dense fog shrouded the top of New York City skyscrapers and the sunset was particularly intense due to the smoke particles in the air. “Wow. I knew tonight’s sunset over New York City seemed different, and I should’ve realized,” tweeted Kathryn Prociv, a meteorologist on the Today Show. “Wildfire smoke is in the air, all the way from California.”
Donald Trump visited the areas affected last weekend and created controversy by refusing to acknowledge climate change as a major factor, getting the name of the incinerated town of Paradise wrong, once again blaming forest management, and arguing for leaf-raking as a key factor in prevention…