Last year saw the most destructive Atlantic hurricane season on record. As climate change pushes ocean temperatures ever higher, scientists predict storms will continue growing more severe.

How did we get here? And what steps are we taking to ensure that rising seas and catastrophic weather don’t swallow American communities whole?

We investigated by wading through the damage left by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. It turns out that developers built thousands of homes inside a reservoir – a 50-square- mile area that’s not just flood prone; it’s designed to flood. Many residents didn’t know this because there’s no law requiring anyone to tell them. So after Harvey, they were left with destroyed homes and little recourse.

Editor's note: Neena Satija is a reporter for The Texas Tribune and Reveal, which is a weekly radio program produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. For more, check out the Reveal website and subscribe to the podcast.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Building in the reservoirs led to thousands of flooded homes, increased the risk for surrounding areas and threatened their earthen dams. [Full story]

  • How concerned is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the integrity of Addicks and Barker reservoirs? The agency has never answered the question clearly, but documents offer new clues. [Full story]

Never miss a moment in Texas politics with our daily newsletter.