It’s been nearly 12 years since our country has faced a storm like this one. Hurricane Harvey will forever change some coastal communities along the Texas Gulf Coast. Some places will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. Storm surge to 12+ feet, rainfall amounts of 2-4 feet (that’s right, FEET), and winds in excess of 100+ mph will bring devastation that will require help on every level. The city of Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, is facing flooding like they haven’t seen in decades (if ever). The worst part is that Harvey will stall just inland and bring days of torrential rainfall and damaging winds. We’ll see flooding like we haven’t seen since Katrina. Incidentally, if this were hitting New Orleans I’m not sure the city would survive. This will be President Trump’s first test in dealing with a natural disaster.
After the storm makes landfall and stalls out, we’re really not sure where it will go from there. Models are suggesting that the storm will move back out into the Gulf by Monday, restrengthen, make landfall again at Houston, and then straddle the coast to New Orleans before moving up our way. I’ve seen crazier things with hurricanes, believe it or not. Hurricane Ivan (2004) made landfall at Mobile, Al and moved north and northeast to Maine. Then it moved back over the Atlantic and headed south. It eventually made landfall again on the east Florida coast, got back into the Gulf and made landfall again at Houston. How wild is that?!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I hope everyone stays focused on the flood potential and not the wind threat. More people die from flooding than from any other form of severe weather in the US (and world). With nearly four feet of rain coming to some places and a storm surge of 12 feet, that is the real threat. Unfortunately, we have no scale for flooding. We only have the Saffir-Simpson scale and it uses only wind. We are using an experimental storm surge product now, but it’s still experimental. Those maps show a storm surge coming into the suburbs of Houston.
As for our weather, it couldn’t be any better. We’ve got nothing but sunshine coming our way. Now that Harvey will stall on the Texas coast, we should see beautiful weather right on through the weekend. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s. You just can’t beat that for August. Rain chances will likely pick up the middle of next week and into next weekend, as Harvey and a cold front collide on our area. It’s too early to tell, but indications are that we could see some substantial rainfall the end of next week, which certainly doesn’t bode well for those planning on going to the Fair. I’ll keep an eye on it, though.
Below is an infrared satellite view of Harvey right now. It will certainly be interesting to see how much stronger it gets today.