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As Hurricane Irma Lashes Florida, an Expert Explains How Cities Can Boost Their Flood Defenses: After it had raged through the Caribbean, sucked the sea back from the Bahamas coast and devastated the tiny island of Barbuda, Hurricane Irma tore up the Florida panhandle Sunday night cutting power for four million people en route to Tampa. A map produced by the U.S. National Hurricane Center showed that along parts of the State’s southwestern coast storm surge flooding could surpass nine feet; already, parts of downtown Miami were a couple of feet underwater. “Pray for us,” Florida governor Rick Scott said in an interview as the hurricane began its assault on his state.

Meanwhile, a thousand miles west, Houston was coming to terms with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, the third “one-in-500-year” storm to hit the city since 1979. Harvey dumped record rain levels on the continental United States and caused up to $180 billion worth of damage to over 200,000 homes. On the other side of the world floods killed more than 1,200 people and affected an estimated 40 million in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal; and in the casino capital of Macau — one of the world’s richest cities per-capita — Typhoon Hato caused an unprecedented 11 deaths in August.

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As Hurricane Irma Lashes Florida, an Expert Explains How Cities Can Boost Their Flood Defenses: After it had raged through the Caribbean, sucked the sea back from the Bahamas coast and devastated the tiny island of Barbuda, Hurricane Irma tore up the Florida panhandle Sunday night cutting power for four million people en route to Tampa. A map produced by the U.S. National Hurricane Center showed that along parts of the State’s southwestern coast storm surge flooding could surpass nine feet; already, parts of downtown Miami were a couple of feet underwater. “Pray for us,” Florida governor Rick Scott said in an interview as the hurricane began its assault on his state.Meanwhile, a thousand miles west, Houston was coming to terms with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, the third “one-in-500-year” storm to hit the city since 1979.