• FloodsHouston's urban sprawl dramatically increased rainfall, flooding damage during Hurricane Harvey

    Houston’s urban landscape directly contributed to the torrential rainfall and deadly flooding experienced during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, according to Princeton and University of Iowa researchers. The researchers report that Houston’s risk for extreme flooding during the hurricane — a category 4 storm that caused an estimated $125 billion in damage and killed 68 people — was 21 times greater due to urbanization.

  • FloodsAfter historic Texas flooding, officials will likely open more floodgates on Central Texas dam

    By Carlos Anchondo

    Across Central Texas and the Hill Country, heavy rain has led to catastrophic flooding in the past week. With more rainfall in the forecast, state and local officials are working to manage floodwaters before they move downstream. After the wettest September in Texas history, multiple Central Texas reservoirs are completely full. That has forced officials to consider releasing a historic amount of water down the Colorado River.

  • Election securityElections systems under attack

    The Department of Homeland Security is seeing an increase in the number of attacks on election databases in the run up to the midterm elections but has yet to identify who is behind the attempted hacks. DHS continues to insist Russia shows no signs of attacking voting systems the way it did in 21 states in 2016.

  • ResilienceMore than 1,000 stakeholders join N.Y.-N.J. Metropolitan Resilience Network

    An innovative program, the Metropolitan Resilience Network (MRN), now has over 1,000 credentialed stakeholders from hundreds of public and private organizations in the New York metro area. MRN members are connected and collaborating on shared threats to the region through a unique technology platform as well as a wider spectrum of activities.

  • Water securityU.S. states agree on plan to manage overtaxed Colorado River

    Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached landmark agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, including a commitment by California to bear part of the burden before it is legally required to do so.

  • Election securitySecure Election Act will not be ready before midterms

    Senator James Lankford (R-OK) said Tuesday the Secure Elections Act, bipartisan legislation designed “to protect elections from cyberattacks,” won’t be ready before November. Last month’s Senate committee mark-up was abruptly postponed by Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) over a lack of Republican support and objections by some secretaries of state and the White House.

  • Sinking stateGroundwater loss drives more California land sinking

    Despite higher-than-normal amounts of rain in early 2017, the large agricultural and metropolitan communities that rely on groundwater in central California experienced only a short respite from an ongoing drought. When the rain stopped, drought conditions returned and the ground has continued to sink, by up to a half-meter annually.

  • Climate threatsCalifornia: New planning tools to prepare state for devastating climate change impact

    Warning that two-thirds of Southern California’s beaches could completely disappear and the average area burned by wildfires could nearly double by 2100, the State of California the other day released California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which details new science on the devastating impacts of climate change and provides planning tools to support the state’s response.

  • Election securityElection security bill without paper records and risk limiting audits? No way.

    By Jacob Hoffman-Andrews

    The Senate is working on a bill to secure election infrastructure against cybersecurity threats, but, unless amended, it will widely miss the mark. The current text of the Secure Elections Act omits the two most effective measures that could secure our elections: paper records and automatic risk limiting audits.

  • Election security11-year old took 10 minutes to hack a replica of Florida's election reporting website

    DEFCON, the world’s largest hacking convention, took place in Las Vegas over the weekend. Emmett Brewer, one of about 40 children between the ages of 8 and 16 who were taking part in the event, took less than 10 minutes to hack into a replica of Florida’s election reporting website. An 11-year old girl also managed to break into the site, tripling the number of votes for one of the candidates. Several 8-year old kids managed to tamper with vote tallies and change candidates’ names.

  • Urban violenceViolence in U.S. cities: Mixed, but optimistic, picture

    Violence has fallen in nearly all major U.S. cities since 1991, but recent fluctuations in violence in selected cities point to temporary disruptions in this 17-year decline. “American cities are much safer than they were in the early 1990s,” says one researcher. “While violence rose in many cities from 2014 to 2017, the most recent data indicate that, overall, cities have turned a corner and this recent rise in violence may have come to an end.”

  • The Russia connectionMaryland lawmakers question Russian investment in election technology

    Two lawmakers, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking that he instruct the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.(CFIUS), which he chairs, to review a Russian oligarch’s financial stake in ByteGrid, a web hosting company which hosts much of Maryland’s election systems. “ByteGrid hosts Maryland’s voter registration system, candidacy and election management system, online ballot delivery system, and unofficial election night results website. Access to these systems could provide a foreign person with ties to a foreign government with information that could be used for intelligence or other purposes adverse to U.S. interests,” the two senators write.

  • Disasters & healthFecal bacteria contaminated surface water after Hurricane Harvey

    Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented rain event that delivered five consistent days of flooding and storms to Texas last August. Now, researchers have substantiated that the storm caused high levels of fecal contamination to be introduced into waterways draining into the Gulf of Mexico and impairing surface water quality.

  • Extremists & politicsExtremist candidates appear on ballots around U.S.

    Far-right extremists – and at least one on the far left — are making their presence felt in mainstream American politics, and voters will find a record number of them on the ballot this fall. Around the country, in blue and red states alike, members of the extremist right – and their racist, anti-Semitic views – are enjoying more exposure today than at any time in recent history.

  • Hurricane HarveyHouston and Hurricane Harvey: The lessons

    Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas on 25 August 2017 as a Category 4 storm. Over the next four days, Harvey dropped more than 40 inches of rain over eastern Texas, causing catastrophic flooding. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. Total damage from the hurricane is estimated at $125 billion. Through extensive interviews, a new Post-Event Review Capability (PERC) study identifies lessons learned from the 2017 Houston floods and provides recommendations for enhancing flood resilience - before the next event occurs.