What to Expect Next with Hurricane Harvey?
Havoc has been wreaked in south eastern Texas by the hurricane Harvey, a tropical cyclone resulting in catastrophic floods accompanied with heavy and unprecedented rainfall. Developing from a tropical wave to the east of Lesser Antilles, Harvey has been recorded as the first major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Houston is devastated as Harvey claimed at least 20 lives, leaving many injured. Houston is also facing inland flooding with innumerable residents trapped in flooded homes. It is also being said that Harvey has caused the worst disaster in Texas’s history and it will take approximately ten years to recover from it fully.
What is the current situation?
- A lot of people remain trapped in their homes, as the cyclone gains power. Police, Volunteer teams, Military and Coast Guards have tried to take boats to rescue those who have been stranded. Houston did not order for evacuation before the storm, thus leading many of them to be caught in the catastrophe. Many of them have used social media as a platform to seek help for family members struggling with waist high water.
- As the homes are flooded, many have left their homes seeking emergency shelter. As many as 30,000 people need shelter right now. The George R Brown center at Houston has already crossed its bed capacity of 5,000 and another major rescue shelter is being sought after. Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas has activated the entire State National Guard by tripling the number of active personnel from 4,000 to 12,000.
- The flood damage is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars having long term consequences on the health of the people stuck in the muddy flood water.
- In order to restrict the scope of the further damage, reservoirs inflated with flood waters have been opened early on Monday, even if that meant flooding more homes.
What made Harvey even more powerful?
Houston has received almost a year’s rainfall. Thanks to Harvey the average yearly rainfall is a little less than 50 inches with Houston receiving a record of 46 inches. The National Weather Service has issued new flood warnings owing to Harvey gaining more strength. The storm has been characterized by the seemingly unending torrential downpour. Harvey has been gaining strength mainly due to the:
- Warm Water in the gulf of Mexico
- Absence of the wind in the upper layer of the atmosphere which could have otherwise distracted the storm away.
What are the chances of the storm dying out?
Meteorologists have confirmed that although the storm might lead to the emergence of a center above the water, and move towards the north-east in its due course, it is expected to make a second landfall to the east of Houston. The area of the landfall is crucial because the tidal effects are worst towards the north-eastern region. If the landfall is to be on the northern side, the city will be exempted of the worst effects of the storm. Even if it is to the south, the chances are unlikely that the people will experience the catastrophe of Friday night. Although the chances of heavy rainfall have been lowered, the weather office forecasts continuous down pour till Wednesday.
How can you help?
Many organizations are reaching out to help the victims. Some of them are:
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
- United Way of Greater Houston
- Save the Children
- Food Bank of Corpus Christi