The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey hasn’t been brought to mention as much as expected, in light of Category 5 Hurricane Irma, which is currently tearing its way through the Caribbean Islands at the moment and expected to produce tropical storm winds in Florida as soon as Friday, September 8th.
Hurricane Harvey was a category 4 hurricane with winds of 132 mph that devastated Texas last month costing the government an $190 billion in damages, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. History. Comparatively, Hurricane Katrina from August of 2005 cost $125 billion and, in third place, Superstorm Sandy from October 2012 cost $65 billion, according to estimates from AccuWeather, as reported to usatoday.com. Harvey’s rainfall was totaled to 51.9 inches of rain, making it less than an inch short of breaking U.S. record set in 1950 in Hawaii.
It also bears mentioning that Harvey is still producing winds at tropical storm speed (39-73 mph) with heavy rain near the Louisiana coast headed upward in a northeastern direction into southern Ohio by Saturday, September 9th. Officials have confirmed at least 71 deaths from Harvey, with an increased tally expected as rescue and recovery continues and floodwaters recede with 200,000+ homes damaged, 13,500+ homes destroyed.
In addition to the general destruction from winds, rain, and flooding, Crosby, Texas recently experienced a newly lifted one and a half mile evacuation zone due to a local disabled chemical plant’s combustions, which was causing large fires and dangerous living conditions, as stated by the Washington Post. In another region, the week after Harvey hit, 1mill lbs of air pollutants were released from oil refineries and chemical plants, including some pollutants which are known to cause cancer.
In some communities, it was the wind that did the brunt of the damage, in other areas, flooding and heavy rains did the most damage. For some, who seemed fortuitous enough to have been spared by dangerous winds and massive onslaughts of rain, they were accosted by overflowing rivers with southern-bound flood waters heading from Houston trying to find its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
In the face of hurricane season, rescue services have begun diverting to Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia, leaving Texans to repair and rebuild and continue their searches as best as they can.