Natural disasters can be some of the most devastating and debilitating occurrences when it comes to damages. Even acts committed by human beings pale in comparison to the damage caused by massive storms.
Hurricane Harvey has caused unprecedented flooding and is the first major hurricane to make landfall in the US since 2005’s Wilma. This ends the streak of over a decade without hurricanes. The tropical cyclone dumped more than forty-inches of rain on various areas in a four-day period.
Harvey is breaking all the wrong kinds of records, doing more harm than storms before it. To date, Harvey is the wettest tropical cyclone the contiguous U.S. has ever seen. The terrifying storm displaced over 30,000 people, with 13,000 rescues already taking place and efforts continuing as the freak storm continues to make life hard.
It is estimated that the storm will cost about $160 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. This is the eighth named storm, and the third hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. It marks the season’s first major hurricane, and the mammoth storm began as a tropical wave near the Lesser Antilles.
The storm initially lost momentum and began to dissipate due to wind shear. It had degenerated back to a tropical wave by August 19th. The remains continued west and northwest across the Caribbean before developing once more over the Bay of Campeche four days later.
Within 24-hours, the storm had gained significant power and achieved hurricane status. The stop-start nature of the storm continued as its intensification period stalled slightly during the night. By the next day, however, Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall near Rockport, Texas.
The disaster is the worst in the state’s history, with some saying it could take years to fully recover from. Rescue efforts and recovery packages continue to materialize, but Harvey is unlike anything seen before. The storm’s cost is about equal to the combined costs of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. It also represents a 0.8% ding to gross national product.
Parts of the state will be uninhabitable for weeks, and even months in some cases. High water remains, and with it comes sanitation concerns. The storm’s total damages may not be over, as it is expected to continue sending rain down on the area for several days. The strong winds may even cause a few tornadoes in the surrounding locations.
Sadly, Harvey led to more than property damage. Unlike property, human lives cannot be recovered. The storm caused over two dozen deaths, with all but one taking place in the United States.
The last Category 4 hurricane was Nicole in 2016. Before that, it was Joaquin in 2015 and Gonzalo in 2014. 2011 saw two storms of equal power, with 2010 having a staggering four storms in this category.
The placement and power of Harvey devastated the areas it impacted, but rescuers continue to work hard around the clock. As recovery efforts progress, more will be discovered about the storm’s overall impact.