HARVEY: Far from over, flooding will continue threatening lives for days

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Monday, August 28, 2017

After making landfall as a Category 4 storm on the evening of Friday, Aug. 25, Harvey as a hurricane may be over, but Tropical Storm Harvey continues to unload rain in the Houston area, causing devastating flooding. Although the initial evacuation route has been lifted, evacuation orders are still in place as roads continue to shut down as floodwaters make roadways completely impassable.

Moving at a slow pace of 3-5 mph, Tropical Storm Harvey continues to linger around southeastern Texas with sustained winds of 40 mph. Super-high winds and storm surges typical of hurricanes have passed, but record amounts of rain are expected to pour down on the area. 

 

The Texas Department of Transportation has reopened the evacuation route on Interstate 37 to normal traffic, but dozens, if not hundreds, of roads are closed because of flooding and other storm related events. To the right is a navigation app screenshot of Houston at 3 p.m. CDT.

All Port Houston facilities will remain closed on Tuesday, Aug. 29, as inclement weather is expected to impact the area. . According to Candice Armenoff, customer service manager, container terminals, the port officials will be continuing to monitor the developing weather conditions to determine whether operations can safely resume on Wednesday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional declaration of emergency for Texas and Louisiana. Exemptions from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to motor carriers providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment and persons in and out of Texas and Louisiana.

Despite more problems ahead, relief efforts are already underway. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reporting that as of Sunday, Aug. 27, Incident Support Bases near affected areas have collected 1 million liters of water, 1 million meals, more than 20,500 tarps, and 70 generators in Texas and Louisiana.

On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard. The United States Coast Guard announced via Twitter on Monday that it has already rescued 1,450 Texas residents. FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated more than 30,000 people may need shelter as Harvey continues. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced plans to move 5,000 Gulf Coast residents to a “mega shelter” at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, the same venue that just finished hosting the Great American Trucking Show on Aug. 24-26.

For more information about volunteering for relief efforts, click here.

The National Hurricane Center is projecting another 15-25 inches of rainfall through Friday over the upper Texas coast and into southwestern Louisiana. Isolated rainfall totals can reach as high as 50 inches in the Houston area and upper Texas coast, up from 35 inches on Aug. 25. For comparison, the average annual rainfall in Houston is 50 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As of 1 p.m. CDT on Monday, Aug. 28, TS Harvey was situated approximately 75 miles southwest of Galveston and approximately 100 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, curving its way along the coastline. Harvey has reached inland and retreated back to the gulf, giving areas a one-two punch.


As of 9 a.m. on Aug. 28, the following mandatory evacuations are in place:

  • A&M Corpus Christi
  • Aransas County
  • Baffin Bay
  • Bay City
  • Brazoria County
  • Calhoun County
  • City of Aransas Pass
  • City of Ingleside
  • City of La Grange
  • City of Palacios
  • City of Port Aransas
  • City of Refugio
  • City of Rockport
  • City of San Patricio
  • City of Victoria
  • City of Wharton
  • Fort Bend County: Low-lying areas surrounding the Brazos River
  • (View Evacuation Zones)
  • Ingleside
  • Jackson County
  • Loyola Beach
  • Matagorda County
  • Refugio County
  • San Patricio County
  • Victoria County

As of 2 p.m. on Aug. 26, the following voluntary evacuations have been ordered:

  • Alice
  • Bay City
  • Bee County
  • Bolivar Peninsula
  • Cedar Point
  • City of Beeville
  • City of Corpus Christi
  • City of El Lago
  • City of Galveston
  • City of Kingsville
  • City of Port Arthur
  • City of Ricardo
  • City of Richwood
  • City of Rivera
  • City of S. Padre Island
  • City of San Patricio
  • City of Seabrook
  • City of W. Columbia
  • Clear Lake Shores
  • El Campo
  • Galveston County
  • Guadalupe County: Guadalupe River, San Marcos River, Cibolo Creek and Geronimo Creek
  • Jackson County
  • Jamaica Beach
  • Kleberg County
  • La Porte
  • Mustang Island
  • Nassau Bay
  • Padre Island
  • Sabine Pass
  • Seabrook
  • Shoreacres
  • Smith Point
  • Taylor Lake Village

According to Oil Price Information Service, about 25 percent of oil refining capacity in the Gulf Coast is offline. AAA is reporting that eight refineries in Texas shut down.

“At $2.37, today’s national gas price average is four cents more expensive on the week and one of the largest one-week national gas prices surge seen this summer,” AAA said in a press release.

Tom Kloza, founder of OPIS, tweeted on Monday that conventional blend gasoline in the Gulf Coast was up 30 cents from last week.

The last major hurricane to make landfall in Texas was Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008. Ike landed as a Category 2 hurricane in Galveston, costing $37.5 billion in damage. The last Category 3 storm to make landfall in Texas was Hurricane Rita on Sept. 24, 2005, between the Texas and Louisiana border. Damages from Rita totaled to $12 billion. Ike was the third costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricane ($29.5 billion in U.S. only), with Rita ranking ninth.

The last hurricane to sustain Category 4 status at landfall in Texas was Carla in 1961.

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