driven in part because the world is warming, is forcing hard questions about who bears the burden of paying for them and how the nation can better prepare for what lies ahead. Ordinary Americans, often without adequate insurance, and local governments alike are ill-prepared for the sudden financial shocks such disasters can inflict. And elected leaders are scrambling to reinforce aging infrastructure built not only for a different century, but also for an earlier era of risks.

While weather disasters strike the United States every year, the numbers show that summer is proving prone to some of the most costly annual disasters, including powerful hurricanes, seemingly endless droughts, sprawling wildfires and torrential rainstorms that fuel the sort of flooding St. Louis and eastern Kentucky have recently endured.

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