When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Americans witnessed what looked like an overseas humanitarian-relief operation. The storm destroyed much of the city, causing more than $80 billion in damage, killing more than 1,800 people, and displacing in excess of 270,000. The country suddenly had to divert its attention and military resources to respond to a domestic emergency. While scientists do not attribute single events to global warming, the storm gave Americans a visual image of what climate change — which scientists believe will likely exacerbate the severity and number of extreme weather events — might mean for the future.
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