Hurricane Harvey just hit landfall on the east coast of Texas last night into the wee hours this morning, thrashing along the shore with winds of up to 130 miles per hour. According to CNN, it made landfall as a Category 4 storm with the potential to be very destructive as the National Hurricane Center estimated up to 13 feet of storm surge.
CNN compares the potential destruction of Harvey to that of Hurricane Katrina, which claimed the lives of over 1,800. This is based on Harvey’s similar potential for strong winds with days and days of rain.
The last category 4 storm to hit the United States was Hurricane Charley in 2004. As a Tampa resident, that is one I remember well, as Charley narrowly missed us by a last minute change in trajectory.
A storm as strong as Harvey hasn’t hit Texas since 1961, ABC reports.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged people to evacuate, while some mayors, including Houston’s Sylvester Turner tweeted ‘please think twice about trying to leave Houston en masse,’ according to the New York Times.
Officials in Rockport, Texas, told people not evacuating to put their social security numbers on their arms just in case they do not make it. As of Saturday evening, there was one confirmed fatality recorded in the vicinity of Rockport, per officials. According to Rockport’s mayor, C.J. Wax, the town has been devastated, with “buildings lying on the street.” In the nearby town of Port Aransas, eight people have been reported as missing.
Earlier today, meteorologist Janice Dean of Fox News reported that Harvey is now downgraded to a tropical storm, but there would be tornado watches and warnings until at least 3 a.m. tomorrow. Dean also reported that flood warnings are in effect throughout southeast Texas, including Houston, as an additional 30-40 inches of rain are being predicted on top of the 13-14 inches that have already fallen.
As a long-time Florida resident, and as someone who lived in North Carolina during Hurricane Floyd, I have witnessed the destruction hurricanes can cause. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Texas trying to figure out what to do during such a scary time.
It is predicted that the flooding resulting from Harvey will be widespread, so if you or your home or business is in harm’s way, several helpful tips are provided in my colleague Nicole Vinson’s blogs, Flood Property Damage Tools for Owners and Adjusters and Hurricane Mathew: Seven Tips for Policyholders. I also encourage you to read Chip Merlin’s Ten Tips for Flood Insurance Claims.
There are other resources you can find online if/when you are able to access the internet, such as:
- Disasterassistance.gov (for help finding food, shelter and links to other resources, such as the nearest hospital)
- FEMA.gov (for Harvey Safety tips, Spanish and English included)
- There is now a FEMA Mobile App incase you have had to evacuate and all you have is your phone.
- NFIPservices.com (for information, tips and forms on reporting your claim)
- nhc.noaa.gov (National Hurricane Center – for tracking the storm).