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hazards

Wind or water? Hurricane Harvey's most destructive force

After Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August 2017, the massive flooding in Houston was widely reported. In some Gulf Coast towns, the damage caused by high winds and the storm surge went less noticed. The month after the storm, the authors visited several Gulf Coast communities to survey damage and quantify factors that influenced its distribution, with the hope that their observations might help coastal communities prepare for future hurricanes.

01 Apr 2019

Jump-starting earthquake insurance uptake in California

Many parts of California are at risk for large, damaging earthquakes. Yet only about one in 10 homes in the state is covered by earthquake insurance. Now, a new insurance option offers a means to supplement traditional insurance plans and provides a way for uninsured Californians to obtain at least a modicum of earthquake coverage.

08 Mar 2019

Comment: After a disaster, should you gamble on returning? Paradise edition

Not much remains of Paradise, Calif., after the fast-moving and deadly Camp Fire scorched the area in November 2018. Today, the town is essentially gone, but the inevitable question remains: Should people rebuild in locations prone to such hazards?

06 Mar 2019

Comment: Faster flood forecasting to improve responses

High-resolution weather models can generate very accurate forecasts, but they take time to run — time that may be needed to safely respond to a rapidly unfolding weather disaster. The authors examine the tradeoffs between accuracy and timeliness in flood forecasting.

06 Feb 2019

Benchmarks: January 12, 1888: "Schoolchildren's Blizzard" Strikes the Great Plains

By mid-January 1888, the Great Plains had seen ice storms, frigid temperatures and above-average snowfall. On the morning of Jan. 12, however, the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, with temperatures reaching well above freezing in places. Many people, including children on their way to school, left home without winter coats, hats or mittens. In a matter of hours, everything changed.

12 Jan 2019

Night lights reveal that people move as rivers rise

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural hazards, so it’s no surprise that many people resettle farther from rivers after catastrophic flooding. A new study finds that the distance that people move from a given river depends on the degree of flood protection in place, with people rebuilding closer to rivers that offer high levels of structural flood protection, such as levees and dams, than they do to rivers without such protections.

28 Dec 2018

Down to Earth With: Coastal scientist Gary Griggs

Maybe it was the summer camping trips with his family along the Pacific coast, or perhaps surfing off Santa Barbara, Calif., during college, but Gary Griggs always gravitated to the ocean. He turned that love into a career and has spent the last 50 years teaching about the oceans and coasts at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

26 Dec 2018

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