Hurricane Michael's enormous eye, as photographed by the NASA astronaut. Serena Auñón-Chancellor/NASA

Also today: How America fails at communicating flood risks, and Paris is preparing for a warming world.

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What We’re Following

Stormwatch: Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon as one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States. While we’re only just learning of the devastation left in the storm’s wake, the Florida Panhandle’s greater concentration of older houses and mobile homes already makes the possible damage more extensive. (USA Today) Thousands of trees are down in Tallahassee and winds have ripped roofs from buildings, including a Panama City high school gym where some people had taken shelter. (NPR) As the storm heads north through Georgia and the Carolinas, it has destroyed homes and businesses in beach towns, caused power outages for 750,000 across three states, and two people have already been reported dead. (Vox)

And yet, it was only on Tuesday that the Category 4 storm intensified, bringing 150 mile-per-hour winds and storm surges that swallowed the coast. Robinson Meyer writes that a combination of very warm ocean water and calm air caused Michael’s “rapid intensification.” While scientists won’t formally know how climate change played a factor in Hurricane Michael for several months, a chief meteorologist for Miami’s NBC station compared global warming’s effect on hurricanes to “changing the speed limit on a highway.” Today on CityLab: The Sudden, Shocking Growth of Hurricane Michael.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

How America Fails at Communicating Flood Risks

We have good data about flood risks. The challenge is getting it to people when they need it, in a way that’s useful.

Carolyn Kousky

Paris Is Preparing for a Warming World

The French capital, under Mayor Anne Hidalgo, could be a model for how cities can mitigate and plan for climate change. But change has not come easily.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The Town That Doesn’t Exist

Slab City, buried deep in the California desert, is a land of squatters, artists, and migrants—and few rules. In a new book, an architect and a photographer document “the last free place.”

Sarah Holder

Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture

Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness, and race isn’t either.

Yascha Mounk

Interpreting Africa’s Visible, and Invisible, Borders

In the eighth “Invisible Borders” road trip, a group of African artists and writers send dispatches from the continent’s cities and border towns.

Sala Elise Patterson


Mo Money, Mo Problems

As Amazon announced a new $15 minimum wage for its workers last week, reactions ranged from praise to scrutiny. And the map above from the Pew Research Center reminds us that there’s another way you’ve got to look at the pay raise: It’s called RPP, or “regional price parities.” That’s the measure of the real purchasing power of a dollar in any place based on the cost of local goods and services. Pew puts the comparison in the terms of Amazon warehouse locations: In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a $15 hourly wage is like earning $17.10 an hour in the rest of the country, but in Kent, Washington, a Seattle suburb, that’s really only like making $13.57 an hour.

CityLab context: Amazon stepped up for workers. It should do the same for HQ2; and The case for a local minimum wage.


What We’re Reading

The emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019 (Curbed)

Private-equity investment in infrastructure is booming (Wall Street Journal)

Uber-funded research looks at how to measure if self-driving cars are jerks (Washington Post)

Michigan governor’s race tests Flint’s residents (New York Times)

Video: How GPS can make you a better runner (Vox)


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