Our 10 Greatest Natural Disasters

PrintPrintEmailEmail For a people who believed technology was the road to progress, weather must have seemed like the last frontier. As Erik Larson writes in Isaac’s Storm , a book about the Galveston hurricane, “There was talk even of controlling the weather—of subduing hail with cannon blasts and igniting forest fires to bring rain. In this new age, nature itself seemed no great obstacle.” But no matter how confident we may be with our machines, perhaps it takes a storm like Katrina to remind us we cannot yet—and will probably never—control the weather. Instead, technology has allowed us to forge an uneasy truce with nature, giving us just enough time to get out of its way.

Christine Gibson is a former editor at American Heritage magazine.

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