In late August 2011, on the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Hurricane Irene tore northwards up the Atlantic, its projected path fixed over the U.S. East Coast. So great was the force of the tropical storm’s anticipation that flood-prone and low-lying metropolitan areas from Virginia Beach to Providence were preemptively evacuated.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, in what would later be dismissed by some as an overblown display of preparedness, closed the New York City transit system, shut off water and electricity in lower Manhattan, and preemptively deployed the National Guard.