Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the “maximums of maximums” that keep emergency planners up at night. ... The people who try to keep the nation ready for these doomsday scenarios call them the Maximums of Maximums, or the MOMs. You might call them the mothers of all disasters. The term comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and for the feds, it generally includes a small universe of possibilities: a major hurricane, a major earthquake, or an improvised nuclear device. ... In a rebuke to a techno-utopian age, natural disasters remain a greater threat than almost anything humans can produce. ... natural disasters are often abetted by humans. Construction in floodplains, lax building codes, lack of preparation, the malign effects of climate change, and even underinsurance exacerbate the impact of the disasters. The number of weather-related disasters that cost more than $1 billion has been gradually increasing over the last few decades ... The challenge of preparedness is convincing people who are not movie directors or emergency managers to do the same.