Coping with Nature

Texas takes a hurricane, the Midwest simmers, the West floods

It was the wettest of times, it was the driest of times. Devastating summer storms pounded places begging for relief from flooding, while the scorching sun broiled farmlands thirsting for rain. For the first time in three years, a full-blowing hurricane slammed onto the U.S. mainland, rumbling through Texas with a counterclockwise crunch of 115-m.p.h. winds. Galveston was swamped. Window panes popped from Houston's glass-and-steel towers, spewing shards over the streets below. What was hell in Texas held out some heavenly hopes for parts of the parched heartland, where the corn is...

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