The floods that killed at least 20 people in Tennessee last weekend arrived with shocking speed and force — seemingly a case study of the difficulties of protecting people from explosive rainstorms as climate change gets worse.

A closer look at what happened in the days, years and even decades before the storm reveals that a series of government decisions — where and how to build, when to update flood maps, whether to join the federal flood insurance program and how to warn of dangerous floods — left residents more exposed to flooding than they had to be.

Record rainfall,

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Barnabas, who grew up in the Highmore area and now lives in Taylor, Michigan, made the claim in February in an email to the prosecutors in the case. “I’ve known Joe since childhood and we bonded in college some 20 years ago as young adults. Joe was more than a well-read, unsettled intellectual,” he wrote. “He was an admitted alcoholic with a brooding depressive streak unparalleled by anyone else I have ever known.” Oddly, Barnabas told me his motivations for coming forward were not to exonerate Ravnsborg, but rather to prove that the attorney general knew he had killed Boever.

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