(CBS NEWS) -- Like rounds of artillery, hurricanes are coming in a salvo the likes of which we haven't seen in more than a decade. Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico this past week, was the first Category Four to make a direct hit on the island in 85 years. Last month, Hurricane Harvey was the most ferocious rainstorm ever recorded in the continental U.S. The number of storms is higher than usual but its their intensity that is extremely rare with two Category Fours and two Category Fives making landfall in a month. The question facing America's coastal cities is this: Is the ferocity of these storms a fluke or the future?

No one died on Bramblewood Drive, but lives were lost, the lives we measure in memories: the bike that taught the kids how to fly, the perfect dining room chairs, the letter jacket they can't believe they saved all these years.

14831 Bramblewood in West Houston is the Shields' place. Vince Shields rolled his family history to the curb and dumped decade after decade.

Vince Shields: My wife's a seamstress. And so these are probably her patterns she had through high school and on up. We lost a lot of personal pictures, but most of this, I won't have to have a garage sale.

Shields, who retired from Shell, has lived on Bramblewood 16 years.

Vince Shields: Here's the waterline, so I'm 6-2.

Scott Pelley: And the waterline is as tall as you are, 6-foot-2.

He'd never seen water in the house. The flood started to drop after two feet, but it surged to six after engineers opened the gates on two antiquated flood control reservoirs to stop the dams from failing.

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