Threatening to have reportedly made natural disaster a history, hurricane Harvey has emerged as more powerful and intense than Katrina and other monstrous storms that engulfed U.S mainland in the last few years. Texas has been bracing the perils of the first major hurricane hitting the state coast in its first in the last 12 years. Storming into Texas on Aug 26, Friday night, while Harvey recorded 18 inches of rainfall in some areas, the Meteorological department sounded warnings against the anticipated catastrophic floods that would wash off the city in the following days.
The life-threatening cyclone has already claimed 35 lives and displaced thousands, causing severe damage to property and vehicles across the state. In Texas alone, 22 people surrendered their life to the storm. The number of people missing is undetermined. Initially moving at 130 mph, the third category lumbering storm downgraded to a wind speed of 110mph, hammering the state out of gear. Harvey moved northwest about 145 miles off Port O’ Connor, marking it as a second category storm. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) predicts up to 35 inches of rain expected over parts of Texas, where the sea levels could surge as high as 3.7 metres. Louisiana is expected to receive 10-15 inches of rainfall, as thus flood warnings remain active for Louisiana and northern Mexico. Texas coast known to house the biggest oil and gas refineries of Corpus Christi and Houston, has been majorly hit with disruptions resonating in the gasoline price spike. Corpus Christi, with a population of 320,000 saw voluntary evacuation for Harvey. The National Weather Service said “Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind. Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life, or immense human suffering”. The government said that 14.6 % of natural gas production and 9.6% of crude output was halted owing to the shut operations. As U.S gasoline margins reached peak levels in last five years, concern emerged around Harvey causing shortages in fuel supply. As the alarming impact of the storm pushed up the gasoline prices, the U.S Environment Protection Agency lifted a few rules on gasoline to reduce any scarcities and said that they would make emergency stockpiles of crude to plug any disruptions.
On Thursday, the White House reported that President Donald Trump is ready to extend support with the necessary provision of resources to Louisiana and Texas, on account of being declared as disaster affected states. The devastating storm’s approach triggered immediate evacuations. Schools along the south coast of Texas were forced to cancel classes. Flightaware.com that tracks airline traffic reported that Harvey’s intimidating winds forced cancellation and disruption in arrival and departure schedules of more than 40 flights in and out of major airports in Texas on Friday. The NHC said that this is the first major hurricane to hit U.S in this scale after “Wilma” struck Florida in 2005. Others have been comparing the storm to be walloping Texas since “Carla” in 1961.While NHC forecasts Harvey to slowdown and linger over Texas for a few days; some tracking models predict the storm’s possibility of revival over the Gulf waters to rebound and hit Texas again. Houston, one of the most populous states of the United States, had warned its residents of flooding from 20 inches of rain expected to pour over several days. Residents use boats to evacuate people from Houston after the hurricane pummelled the city.
Rockport town appeared to be one of the worst hit by Harvey’s blow. Emergency official and local media reported structured damage to a couple of hotels, housing complex and high school. The local mayor reported power, internet and telecom services were unavailable in the town, occupied by 10,000 people, where almost “two-thirds of people” evacuated.
The power grid of Texas operated by ERCOT reported power outages caused by hurricane as it surpassed 200,000 by 3 a.m. local time on Saturday. Approximately, 162,000 customers battled conditions without power as reported by AEP.
While many fled the anticipated flooding and devastation, quite a few residents made arrangements to stay away and stock food and fuel. The Insurance Information Institute reports that only 12% of homeowners have flood insurance nationwide and with warnings of a close deadline to file insurance claim spreading on social media, anxiety hit people already mentally drowned by the natural calamity. Senator of the Texas State said in his statement, “There is no need to rush to file a claim. Put your safety first.”
While nature continues to wreak havoc, humanitarian efforts of emergency workers and volunteers incessantly reach out to save the tropical storm’s victims, amid flash flood warnings and continuous rainfall.
Article by Rochita.