Just a week ago we were talking about the majesty of the solar eclipse. Today, Mother Nature is showing us Texans who’s still the boss.
The disaster unfolding in the Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey borders on disbelief. The nation’s fourth largest city is paralyzed. The New York Times states “The Houston region now looks like an inland sea dotted by islands, with floodwaters inundating roads, vehicles, and even bridges and buildings.”
Here are some raw numbers to think about. Harvey has already dumped 11 trillion gallons of rain on Texas, with more to come.
Houston 911 recorded 56,000 calls in 15 hours. The average for a typical day is 8,000.
There have been 2,000 water rescues in Houston as of Sunday night, August 27.
62 counties are in the Texas disaster declaration.
At least 5,500 people are in shelters ranging as far north as Dallas, but federal officials are already predicting Tropical Storm Harvey will drive 30,000 people into shelters and spur 450,000 victims to seek some sort of disaster assistance.
And there’s going to be more rain. Local forecasts predict rain totals could reach another 2 feet — with isolated instances of 40 to 50 more inches — along the upper Texas coast. There won’t be a break in the storms until midweek. Around 13 million people from Corpus Christi to New Orleans were under flood watches and warnings as of Monday morning as Harvey’s storm bands repeatedly pummel the same areas.
CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen labeled Harvey a “one-in-1,000-years-type of event.”
Amazingly, only five fatalities have so far been confirmed.
The recovery period is going to take years. The insurance losses are going to be of an unheard-of magnitude. The personal and emotional damage is incalculable.
Texans are an outgoing and friendly people, and donations and help are already pouring in – ranging from people who put their own boats into the water to help perform rescues, to donations of food, clothing, blankets, etc.
Here are some numbers to call for information and to offer help:
In flood areas, don’t use 911 to check on the status of the weather, flooded roads, power outages, or anything that is not an emergency. These calls delay help to people in true emergencies.
The United States Coast Guard has posted additional phone numbers for people who are in danger and need to be rescued from rising water:
Residents can also call 311 or Houston Police’s non-emergency phone number at 713-884-3131.
Dial 713-207-2222 to report downed power lines to CenterPoint Energy
Do not rely on social media to report a needed rescue. Rescues need to be coordinated by trained officials. There is very little your local TV station can do.
Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online.
Catholic Charities is accepting donations online, or text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to donate.
Stay informed and updated to continued coverage of this catastrophe. Help others who need help. Help your local emergency responders by staying out of hard hit zones.
We are Texas.
We will recover.
by Scott Finley