President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in October 2017 following Hurricane Maria. Trump congratulated Puerto Rico for escaping the higher death toll of “a real catastrophe like Katrina.” A new study suggests almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
As Trump fumes about the Hurricane Maria death toll, it's clear that politics and political considerations often play an important role in how death toll estimates are communicated to the public.
Storms Florence, Isaac and Helene on September 9.
EPA / NASA
An 'ex-hurricane' will hit the UK and Ireland for the second consecutive year.
A sunny day evacuation days before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina.
AP Photo/Tom Copeland
A hurricane evacuation researcher in South Carolina explains why evacuating when the sun's out actually makes sense.
Flooding in Kinston, North Carolina during Tropical Storm Florence, September 14, 2018.
NC National Guard
Widespread flooding in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence shows the need for better advance planning in inland areas of the south and mid-Atlantic, especially near rivers.
Ship Island, one of the Mississippi Gulf islands, photographed in 2004.
How do narrow ribbons of sand like North Carolina's Outer Banks withstand the force of hurricanes? The answer lies in their shape-shifting abilities.
Florida’s Turkey Point Nuclear Plant shut down 12 hours before Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992.
AP Photo/Phil Sandlin
Lessons learned from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 have changed how utilities brace for big storms.
Buildings damaged by Hurricane Maria are seen in Lares, Puerto Rico, October 2017.
Thousands died after Hurricane Maria, but it did not have to be that way. Early evidence should have led the government to a much stronger response.
Rising tides move closer to the dunes in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Sept. 13, 2018, as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Don't believe the skeptics or the conspiracy theorists: Weather forecasters can't slant hurricane warnings to make political points.
Roberto Clemente State Park employees in New York, with donated bottled water bottles bound for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
If you would like to assist from afar, let the professionals procure goods and services.
Assembling sandbags in Virginia Beach, Va., before Hurricane Florence’s arrival.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Many factors can influence people to evacuate or stay in place when disasters loom. Research using Facebook posts suggests that people with broad social networks are more apt to get moving.
Farm near Seven Springs, North Carolina, surrounded by water on Oct. 25, 1999, nearly six weeks after Hurricane Floyd.
AP Photo/Karen Tam
Hurricanes in the southern US have caused widespread damage inland in recent decades, mainly through river flooding. But evacuations and stormproofing focus almost entirely on keeping people safe on the coasts.
High tides, whipped in by Hurricane Hazel in 1954, shattered boats and buildings in Swansboro, N.C.
AP Photo, File
As Hurricane Florence is expected to pound the Carolinas with significant flooding, an insurance expert explains how the program designed to help the millions affected recover.
Hurricane Florence, as seen over the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 9.
NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERS
How do experts know when and where the next big hurricane is going to hit? A look at the complicated science of forecasting.
Bloede Dam (ca. 2016) near Ilchester, Maryland.
When a dam comes down this fall, a team of scientists will be there to track the environmental changes.
Syrian airstrike survivors.
Warning Syrians of approaching airstrikes via social media is helping save lives.
Businesses in Humble, Texas, part of metropolitan Houston, surrounded by floodwater from Hurricane Harvey, August 29, 2017.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File
Hurricane Harvey swamped much of Houston in 2017, causing more damage than all other US hurricanes except Katrina. But now the city is authorizing construction in zones at high risk for flooding.
Holding on in hurricane-force winds.
In the wake of two hurricanes in the Turks and Caicos Islands, researchers document for the first time that catastrophic storms can be agents of natural selection, influencing how species evolve.
Evacuating Corpus Christi, Texas ahead of Hurricane Bret in 1999.
Many factors can influence people to evacuate or stay in place when disasters threaten. New research using Facebook posts suggests that people with broad social networks are more apt to move.
Hurricane Harvey approaching the Texas Gulf Coast in August 2017.
NOAA/Handout via Reuters
Large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world's richest countries. Population growth, income inequality and fragile supply chains may make the problem worse.
Shoes are displayed at the San Juan Capitol in June 2018 to pay tribute to Hurricane Maria’s victims.
A survey shows that most Puerto Ricans didn't highly rate the official information coming out of the island. With the Institute of Statistics in trouble, the situation is likely not to improve.