Catastrophe 101

Will the government learn from Hurricane Andrew's stormy aftermath?

HURRICANES AS WICKED AS ANdrew are thought to come along perhaps twice a century. Earthquakes shudder on and off, but the big, continent-cracking convulsions tend to space themselves out over generations. Biblical floods are rare, like killer tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and the other cyclical calls to humility in the face of nature's destructive power. But last week it somehow seemed that the clock was running fast: Typhoon Omar menaced Guam, a tornado attacked Wisconsin, fires burned out of control in California, a four- story tidal wave in Nicaragua dissolved whole neighborhoods, and the residents of South Florida spent Week Two...

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