After Katrina, Spike Lee did an HBO documentary where he interviewed New Orleanians, who asked why no one warned them that there might be a storm that the levees couldn't handle.
But they were warned. Many times over many years in many ways. When I lived there, as a college student in the 1970s, it was common knowledge that eventually there would be a big enough storm to flood the city.
The warning was repeated on 60 Minutes a decade before Katrina. It was a very stark and illustrated warning from a charismatic LSU professor and a US official. I would love to find a pointer to the piece. As with all great 60 Minutes bits, it was both frightening and highly entertaining.
Scientific American ran a story in 2001 that was equally stark and unequivocal. No doubt very few New Orleanians read that magazine, but it probably was reported on TV and in newspapers, or it could have been.
And the Bay Area lives under a similar sentence. Eventually there will be an earthquake so big that the US economy won't be able to absorb the cost of reconstruction.