Hurricane Harvey is the first major hurricane on American soil since 2005. That year hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Dennis and Wilma all walloped the nation, killing more than 4,000 people and causing nearly $160 billion in damage. The winds will rank Harvey as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir Simpson scale. But, Harvey isn’t the biggest threat that Texans face. The challenge that Texans are going to have is related to water. It is anticipated that it will destroy not just property, but also lives. This will be caused by flooding related to the storm itself, but also inland flooding that is anticipated.
The amount of rainfall that is expected is almost too high to comprehend. Upwards of 40″ may fall in the Corpus Christi area, and northeastward towards Houston and Galveston. The entire storm could have a larger effect extending into western Louisiana and inland towards Austin and San Antonio. 40″ people. That is more than 3 feet of water. Can you believe it? The National Weather Service is using stronger language in order to make sure that people understand that this isn’t a normal event. It’s scary, but meteorologists are having difficulty recalling when there was this kind of flood associated with a hurricane that actually made landfall. Which means, this is one epic storm.
Words such as “devastating”, “life-threatening”, “record-setting”, “catastrophic” and “uninhabitable” are being used to describe the storm’s impacts. And this is all because of the potential storm surge flooding. Rick Knabb, the hurricane specialist for The Weather Channel, and former director of the National Hurricane Center, released a video on YouYube on Thursday expressing his extreme concern about this slow moving storm.
The forecast is calling for the hurricane to make landfall over night tonight (Friday) or early Saturday morning. The concern with Harvey is that its not expected to move very quickly, once it hits land. Which means, it might rain until Thursday of next week. That’s what would cause the catastrophic floods. What makes it worse is that the hurricane is approximately 3.6 F warmer than the average temperature for this time of year. Which means, it’s going to have a bigger impact when it hits land.
There are few, if any, records of a major hurricane that transitioned into a multi-day rainfall event, which could be as prolonged, extensive, and intense as the scenario painted by those forecasting Harvey. How much rain a hurricane produces is largely a function of its forward speed. With Hurricane Harvey, the forward motion once it crosses between Corpus Christi and Houston may be essentially non-existent. Meaning, there could be a ton of rainfall in that area.
These weather events seem to occur more and more often, and it makes me wonder what’s causing them? I don’t want to go into a rant about climate change or global warming, but we see the same thing in the winter with blizzard like events. These storms move in so quickly, and they leave a path of devastation. There’s nothing anyone can do, it’s mother nature after all. The people of Texas are in my thoughts tonight as they prepare for the storm. I hope that everyone is prepared and gets to dryer ground quickly.