Hurricane Sandy's struck, and while the devastation isn't as bad as a Katrina-level catastrophe (partly thanks to vastly superior emergency response), it's still estimated in the billions. With climate change and decaying infrastructure, this is going to happen again; the Onion has it nailed.
There are some things centralized institutions like governments are actually really good at, and marshaling massive resources (more than any locality could generate) to build big, useful things or deal with emergencies is one of them. Things like Sandy are going to happen more often, and that makes infrastructure and disaster response more important than ever.
I remember people complaining when the Deepwater Horizon spill happened that BP was in charge of fixing it, instead of the government. Some of them took this as an example of collusion or incompetence, and there was certainly plenty of that going around leading. But the truth was more mundane: there simply wasn't a well-equipped naval unit ready to stop that kind of disaster.
After Sandy left, I wondered again why that is. Why don't we take some of that pile of cash being wasted on crap like the F-35 or the Crusader and spend it on elite disaster-response units and infrastructure building? After all, disasters (man-made or otherwise) are capable of causing as much damage in terms of lives and economic loss as a terrorist attack, and the military is already intertwined with disaster response. Militaries are also quite good at creating pressure-cooker cultures to deal with specific, dangerous tasks.
We can talk about things like decentralizing electric power or making communities more resilient, but anyone facing a sizable catastrophe knows that it's simply beyond the ability of any local area to handle. This is one area where "send in the army" actually makes sense.