A Category 4 hurricane made landfall on Aug. 25 and devastated the Southern Texas region. The sprawling Houston Area and other deluged towns in Southern Texas braced for floods and rainfall as Hurricane Harvey settled over the Texas Gulf Coast, lashing out at the shore with winds and torrential rain.
In the span of one hour, 3-4 inches of rain built up across the region. In some places, rain surpassed 50 inches, breaking the record for the Continental United States. Up to 30 percent of land was flooded across Harris County which includes the Houston area.
As the days went on, the storm finally began to release Houston from its grip on Wednesday; but the hurricane moved to devastate east of the city. Hurricane Harvey hit Southwestern Louisiana where storm surge warnings and watches were in effect.
On Saturday, Texans who rode out the hurricane stepped out of their homes to witness what was left of their neighborhood after one of the most powerful hurricanes hit the United States. The total confirmed death toll has increased to 23, as the number is expected to rise.
With tornado warnings still in effect, and torrential rain and flooding to come, Southeast Texas is littered with uprooted trees, signs, flagpoles and bricks from walls and rooftops.
Hurricane Harvey’s impact is not over yet. USAToday reports that the tropical storm that first hit the Coast of Texas is expected to drop up to 10 inches of rain in Louisiana before moving on to Arkansas and parts of Missouri. Forecasters warn of possible tornadoes across the whole Southeast Region of the United States as the hurricane travels inland.
CNN reports that dozens of tornadoes have already been spawned from Hurricane Harvey and touched down in Texas since Saturday. Houston Officers have reported 12 twister sightings in their area to the National Weather Services.
The estimated cost of damage has risen to $160 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. Data from CoreLogic, a property analytics firm, predicts that somewhere between $25 billion and $37 billion in damage of flood loss has hit homes across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Insurers can only cover roughly $6.5 billion to $9.5 billion of those costs because of the lack of flood insurance held by the homeowners.
Emergency workers rescued many soaked and frightened people in Southeast Texas as floodwaters continued to rise. New York Times reported that safety shelters are bursting with people who are eager for some good news about their safety and missing loved ones.
Over 32,000 people have already evacuated into 230 shelters run by Red Cross. Fox News reports that the city has requested FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for more supplies, including cots and food, for an additional 10,000 people.
At first, emergency responders were overwhelmed by the needed help caused by Harvey but were soon aided by a massive volunteer effort that is operating with little direction. 14,000 National Guard troops have been already been deployed across the region to aid and help rescue efforts while an additional 10,000 troops from across the nation will be joining them later.
Volunteers will be needed to help clean up the damage and provide services for hurricane victims for years to come.