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Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat them as local disasters and TV spectacles, unaware of how far-ranging their impact can be.

As best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin contends, we must look to our nation’s past if we hope to comprehend the consequences of the hurricanes of the future.

In his new book "A Furious Sky,"  Dolin has created a vivid, sprawling account of our encounters with hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’s New World voyages to the destruction wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

Gilbert M. Gaul has twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other newspapers. He has reported on non-profit organizations, the business of college sports, homeland security, the black market for prescription drugs, and problems in the Medicare program.

In his new book "The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts," Gaul considers this: Five of the most expensive hurricanes in history have made landfall since 2005: Katrina ($160 billion), Ike ($40 billion), Sandy ($72 billion), Harvey ($125 billion), and Maria ($90 billion). With more property than ever in harm’s way, and the planet and oceans warming dangerously, it won’t be long before we see a $250 billion hurricane.

Why?

Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gaul reveals to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance that shift the risk of life at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk.

The National Weather Service has provided snow accumulation forecasts for the Northeast. Images uploaded 8:30 a.m. 12/24/17.

Power Outages Persist For Hudson Valley Residents

Feb 14, 2017
Courtesy of Central Hudson

Mother Nature wasn’t showing much love in the Hudson Valley Monday, whipping up winds that downed trees and power lines, causing thousands of power outages throughout the region. Though much progress has been made, there are still many customers who will have to wait until tonight or even tomorrow morning to turn on their lights.

Helen Czerski, physicist and BBC television personality, is the author of the new book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, which explores the science of popcorn, coffee stains and other ordinary phenomena and links them to more complex issues including climate change, the energy crisis, and medical innovations.

She will be at UAlbany on February 9 in two events presented by The New York State Writer's Institute.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Daily Gazette photographer Pat Dodson was heading back to the Capital Region following President Obama’s visit to central New York yesterday when news broke that a tornado touched down in Schenectady County. Dodson spoke with WAMC about what the newspaper termed on its front page today “the path of destruction.”