Fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes: 2017 walloped the US with a record-breaking number of extreme weather events. At the same time, the country’s scientific safety net has been eroded by new federal policies, leaving the US even less prepared to deal with the next disaster—as a warming climate increases the frequency and intensity of such events.

In February of 2017, I wrote about how US cities would have to work harder than ever to protect themselves from extreme weather events due to the imminent actions of the new administration. In the past year, President Trump delivered on his promises to back out of the United Nations’ Paris climate accord and roll back emissions-reducing initiatives like the Clean Power Plan. His administration has also taken steps to weaken policies that will help protect cities from extreme weather, like lifting regulations on construction in flood-prone regions and suppressing essential climate research.

The federal government tracks “billion-dollar weather and climate disasters,” extreme weather events that cost states $1 billion or more (adjusted for inflation). The figures for 2016 noted that the year had the second highest number of billion-dollar disasters since 1980. In 2016 there were 15 billion-dollar disasters that caused 138 fatalities and a total of $46 billion in losses…

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