By: Hadley Bjerke, News Editor
The first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005 and the first to hit Texas since Ike in 2008 landed near Rockport, Texas on August 26. Harvey’s winds whipped the coast at 130 mph before continuing to the Copano Bay and back to Texas near Holiday Beach. The storm weakened as the day went on and was downgraded to a tropical storm on the evening of August 26.
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, became inundated as parts of Harris County received more than 30 inches of rain. The city did not order evacuations before the storm and countless residents were trapped in their homes before taking refuge on roofs. Governor Gregg Abbott of Texas said the region would not recover anytime soon from “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced”. Thousands of residents are still caught in their homes, but as of Tuesday morning, Harvey seemed to be moving towards Louisiana giving the city a break from the pounding rains.
Search-and- rescue teams have continued to scour the water for stranded residents and are
delivering them to swollen shelters such as the George R. Brown Convention Center. The shelter located in downtown Houston has nearly doubled its intended capacity by housing more than 9,000 evacuees. Although rainfall has lessened and allowed the opening of some roads and neighborhoods, concerns are shifting to the Brazos River. Thirty miles south of Houston the river runs near Richmond and was measured at nearly 52 feet Tuesday morning. The expected crest of 59 feet by Thursday is four feet higher than the record set last year.
To combat the disaster, outside help has streamed into the area from Florida, California,
and Utah. Walmart, similar to their help after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and once again
changing the corporate role of social responsibility, has shipped 2,000 kayaks to the area to help stranded residents. Governor Abbot activated the entirety of the state’s National Guard and deployed 12,000 to the flooded communities. Although measures have been made to ease
damage, Abbot believes “Texas officials and FEMA will be involved for a long, long time” until
life can go “back to normal”. Albeit a new normal for the region.