Hurricane Harvey Facts: Flood That Caused More Than 100 Deaths | Kidadl


Hurricane Harvey Facts: Flood That Caused More Than 100 Deaths

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According to the National Hurricane Center official definition, a hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone developing over subtropical or tropical waters such as the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic Ocean, accompanied by rotating clouds and thunderstorms.

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, a category four hurricane, hit Texas, especially Corpus Christi and Victoria areas. It was regarded as one of the most destructive tropical cyclones that wreaked havoc in southern Texas, Louisiana, and Houston.

This tropical storm triggered major flooding due to heavy rainfall of around 40-60 in (101-152 cm) of rain for four days in Texas alone, making it the wettest tropical cyclone in the US, destroying thousands of properties. Harvey was the first major hurricane that hit the US after 2005's category three Hurricane Wilma, causing over 100 deaths in Texas alone.

The estimated damage cost was about $125 billion, making it the second most costly tropical storm in America's history and next to 2005's Hurricane Katrina that had struck New Orleans. Though it caused maximum damage in Texas, it also caused excessive flooding and destruction in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Ohio before heading towards Canada into a weakened but dangerous storm. Hence, check out how this Hurricane Harvey started and converted into a devastating category four hurricane.

Overview Of Hurricane Harvey

On August 17, Harvey started as a tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean Sea and developed into a tropical storm. By August 19, it subsided into an open tropical wave. But on August 23, it redeveloped and converted into a bonafide hurricane in the southern area of the Gulf of Mexico.

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey was considered a category three hurricane, but it strengthened into a devastating category four hurricane within a few hours before hitting its peak intensity in Texas. Harvey also took the same route as Wilma, but instead of taking a right towards Florida, it took the north track towards the Houston area.

On August 26, Harvey lost its hurricane status, but it managed to wreak havoc due to high winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) and heavy rains of about 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) for the next four days. Houston area recorded around 30 in (76 cm) of rain, and the nearby town recorded around 52 in (132 cm), causing catastrophic flooding.

On August 30, tropical storm Harvey made its final landfall in Port Arthur, Texas, and Louisiana and then degraded to a tropical depression, causing severe storm surge on some parts of eastern Texas with around 35 mph (56 kph) winds. Before disappearing, it finally turned towards the northeast to Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Impact In The US

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey extended throughout the Caribbean and United States, taking the death toll to 107 in the United States and one in Guyana. The estimated damage cost was around $125 billion. It was the costliest and wettest tropical cyclone in America's history, especially in Texas.

In the Caribbean and Latin America, this major hurricane caused electricity loss in Barbados. Residents were evacuated to temporary shelters, as the heavy rainfall caused flooding and caused the houses to wash from foundations. Home roof damages were seen in Guyana due to high winds, and one death was attributed when the entire house caved in on a young woman.

In Texas, Hurricane Harvey caused 68 direct deaths and 35 indirect deaths. There was an electricity cut to over 335,000 inhabitants, and around 10,000 people were rescued. Oil and gas production was affected, resulting in fuel shortages in Texas and Mexico. Gas stations and oil refineries were also forced to shut down. Port Aransas faced major damage that resulted in half-sunken boats in docks and entire blocks in Rockport being disarranged.

Traveling in and out of Houston was quite challenging. Airports canceled over 800 flights in the city, and during the storm surge, airports were shut down. The water supply was also cut down for many days as the rising floodwaters caused service loss from the main pump station. By the time the destructive nature of this tropical storm was realized, Port Arthur city had already been flooded.

Applications filing for unemployment benefits also surged in Texas, and dozens of schools remained shut down for over a month. After Hurricane Harvey, two major storms, Irma and Maria, hit the US.

Economic Loss Due To Hurricane

Hurricane Harvey caused direct as well as indirect damages. Direct damages destroyed buildings, vehicles, roads, water systems, power lines, and possessions. Indirect damage caused were disruptions in business activities due to evacuations, displaced workers, lost utilities and damaged machinery. These indirect damages affected the economy due to decreased employee earnings, reduced business revenue, and job loss.

Hurricane Harvey affected the lives of around 13 million people and damaged nearly 200,000 homes, out of which only 85% of homes were flood-insured. This tropical storm damaged around 160,000 structures due to flooding and destroyed over a million cars beyond repair.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assessed the total damage to be $125 billion, with $41 billion coming from Texas alone. The Federal, State, local government, and private insurers spent around $31 billion on relief and rebuilding due to this major hurricane.

The real GDP in Texas declined by 1.4% from the estimated 4.6% growth during August. The total insured losses estimated by the Insurance Council of Texas were around $19 billion. It included $11 billion insured in flood loss by the National Flood Insurance Program, $3 billion insured in property loss due to storm, and around $4.75 billion insured in commercial or private vehicles.

According to Planalytics, the Houston retailers and restaurants lost revenue exceeding $1 billion and affected the entire American economy.

Under specific conditions, hurricanes can generate strong tornadoes and huge electrical storms.

Government's Response

For Hurricane Harvey Relief, President Donald Trump designated $15 billion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and 28 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams deployed to Texas to assist the state and local agencies in saving lives. FEMA promptly provided $186 million in Public Assistant Funding towards emergency protective measures costs and debris removal. The coast guard also deployed around 2060 personnel and rescued 11,022 people.

The Health and Human Services Department immediately granted medical supplies and conducted shelter assessments. This department also evacuated the Port Arthur residents stuck in the flood water contaminated houses to temporary shelters.

The US Army Corps of Engineers were deployed to inspect and install generators to provide temporary emergency power supply at critical locations. Drinking water and wastewater assessments were conducted by Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Department of Defense was assigned over 30 missions that included search and rescue, airlift, evacuations, transportation, and logistics. Also, the Civil Air Patrol assisted with emergency response.

The US Small Business Administration opened five centers for business recovery that provided extensive services to the businesses affected by the major hurricane. Also, the center for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided quick relief to the survivors of this disaster.

The Department of Agriculture provided food benefits to households, and schools were allowed to provide free meals to students. The Department of Transportation deployed staff for emergency repairs that utilized $25 million from the quick-release fund. The Texas Work Force Commission started receiving unemployment insurance claims for Texans who lost their jobs due to the disaster.

300 voluntary organizations supported Harvey survivors by providing shelters, food, and supplies. They also cleaned up the debris, repaired and rebuilt houses, and provided crisis support. Foreign governments also acted immediately. Mexican Red Cross volunteers, rescue teams, and fire personnel from Mexico arrived to assist in the life-saving mission. Israel and Venezuela offered $1 million and $5 million in relief funds, respectively, to restore non-state infrastructure, while Singapore sent two helicopters.


How many died in Hurricane Harvey?

Hurricane Harvey resulted in 107 confirmed deaths in the United States. (103 in Texas, two in Arkansas, one in Kentucky, one in Tennessee.)

Where did Hurricane Harvey hit first?

Hurricane Harvey hit first on San Jose Island between Port Aransas and Port O'Connor near Rockport.

What was the worst hurricane in history?

The worst hurricane in history was Hurricane Galveston in 1900, with around 8000 fatalities.

How long did Hurricane Harvey last?

Hurricane Harvey started on August 17, 2017, and continued till September 2, 2017.

How fast did Hurricane Harvey move?

Hurricane Harvey was moving with wind gusts up to 130 mph (209 kph).

How many days did it rain during Hurricane Harvey?

Hurricane Harvey caused a four-day heavy rainfall leading to catastrophic flooding and turning the roads of southeast Texas into rivers, causing immense damage to property, houses, and vehicles.

What are three interesting facts about Hurricane Harvey?

Harvey was considered a category four storm. It caused heavy rains of about 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m). It peaked on September 1, 2017, and caused immense damage in Houston.

How many homes did Hurricane Harvey destroy?

Around 200,000 homes were affected because of this hurricane, and millions of people were displaced.

How much damage did Harvey cause?

Harvey is believed to be the second-costliest storm in America, with damages of around $125 billion.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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