For three days Hurricane Harvey has been causing chaos in South Texas and Louisiana, and it’s not over yet. When it made landfall in Rockport, Texas on Friday evening, Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 miles per hour. It then moved offshore before making landfall again on the shore of Copano Bay as a Category 3 hurricane. Now it has moved offshore south of Houston, spreading the flood threat farther east into Louisiana. Harvey is expected to retreat farther into the Gulf of Mexico and could head back by Wednesday, possibly making landfall again near the Texas-Louisiana border. Thousands of residents have been stuck in their flooded homes while more than 30 inches of rain has assaulted Texas since Thursday. The storm could reach up to 50 inches of rain by the time it is storm over, resulting in more rainfall than Houston normally receives in a whole year.
This means the already saturated areas of Houston could face even more life-threatening storm conditions.
The storms have turned streets into rivers and left thousands of residents stranded. There are a reported 10 possible deaths so far, six of them in Harris county. Search-and-rescue efforts are ongoing, and the Coast Guard has already rescued more than 3,000 people.
As the rivers continue to swell, more than 30,000 people will be forced out of their homes and headed to the nearest shelter seeking disaster assistance. The Dallas downtown convention center is being prepared as a mega-shelter and they are getting ready for thousands of evacuees. The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center is also expecting to open its doors to the needy. The full impact of the damage and number of residents trapped is still unclear.
Help is pouring in from all over the country as The Pentagon finds resources like trucks, aircraft, and aid workers, and dispatches them to the relief sites. The entire Texas National Guard of 12,000 men has been activated by Governor Greg Abbott. FEMA is on hand and encouraging volunteers to help the authorities, especially those residents with boats. The total number of people trapped across the Houston area could be in the tens of thousands. Panic is another issue rescuers are fighting, along with the rising water level and the threat of even more rainfall.
The warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and a lack of wind in the upper atmosphere created a combination of deadly factors causing the storm to stall and pour down an unprecedented amount of rainfall. The large quantity of rain in such a short amount of time was unexpected, and unfortunately, Houston officials did not order evacuations early enough. If you have been affected by this storm and are in need of legal assistance, please call our free hotline at 888-991-3212 for counsel. Many other organizations are also bolting into action to deliver disaster aid, and anyone wanting to help can contact the agencies listed below.
- The Houston Food Bank
- The Houston Humane Society
- United Way of Greater Houston
- Save the Children
- The Red Cross