When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the gulf coast of Texas in late August, it led to widespread flooding in Houston and other cities and towns. In some places more than 15 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, quickly inundating roads, highways and entire neighborhoods. Damage from the storm is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
Then, even as commentators and onlookers invoked the word “historic” for Harvey in one breath, the very next breath was given to the historic proportions of Hurricane Irma, relegating coverage of Harvey to a backseat as one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded took aim at Florida.
As these areas work to recover, we face a compelling question: Given that weather extremes are expected to become even more severe and frequent, how can and should efforts to replace lost and damaged infrastructure aim to make it better able to withstand disastrous events to come?