Houston vs. Hurricane Harvey

A breakdown of what happened and major relief efforts

Rebecca Cutsinger, Author

Rebecca Hodge, mother of four, kayaks through the streets of her neighborhood in North Houston. The water rose above mailboxes, above garage door frames, and seeped into houses through doors and first floor windows. The waves in the street slapped against her creating a rough current that almost knocked her into the water. Luckily, Hodge’s house was at a high point and was not flooded, she could not say the same for most of her neighbors.

 

There are now thousands of these stories surfacing after Hurricane Harvey, which leaves tens of thousands of people homeless, without transportation, without food, money, or anything they had just a few days before.

 

The New York Times reports, “Hurricane Harvey came from the Caribbean and reached tropical storm status on August 17th. The hurricane made landfall on Friday, August 25th around 8pm.”

 

The Wall Street Journal reports the reason Hurricane Harvey was so devastating is because the warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico combined with colder winds in the atmosphere, which caused Harvey to stall and be refueled, unlike most hurricanes that reach land and quickly dissipate as they move away from the waters that created them. In a few areas over 50 inches were poured on mainly unsuspecting citizens of Texas and Louisiana. That is an estimated 15 trillion gallons of water that fell in one week.Wind reached up to 130 mph and thousands were trapped by rising flood water and had to be rescued. The death toll is currently at 66. One person was killed in Guyana before the storm hit the US killing 65.

 

CBS reports that Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The estimated cost to put damaged areas and lives back together has hit $100 billion. The US government is preparing to pass an aid package of $7.9 billion for Harvey relief, though the National Debt Ceiling needs to be raised in order for Congress to afford this budget. Congress hopes to find more room in the budget to donate more money to different programs responding to the wake of damage Harvey left behind.

The Washington Post reports that associations like the Red Cross and major celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Hart, Taylor Swift, and many others have made sizable donations, most a million dollars or more, to the Harvey Relief Fund.

 

The National Football League reported that Houston’s own NFL star J.J. Watt created a donation challenge and raised over 18 million dollars for Harvey Victims.

 

CNN reports that Harvey has created a more nation wide problem than expected. Texas and the Gulf of Mexico are home to some of the biggest oil refineries in the country. With the hurricane shutting them, down gas prices across the country, mainly on the East Coast, are projected to skyrocket. Gasoline in Texas is becoming scarce and many places in Texas that were not hit by the storm are also experiencing gas shortages. Getting the refineries back up and running is high on the Texas to-do list, and people are forced be patient and save their gas in the meantime.

 

People will feel the effects of Hurricane Harvey for years to come. Clean up has already begun but it will take years for Houston to return to normal. Highways became rivers, whole towns were under water, fences and streets no longer visible. People’s entire lives were lost. The one thing shared through every tragic or heroic story was that the people of Texas came together. The people of Texas braved the waters to rescue thousands of pets, friends, family, strangers, and children. The people showed the true meaning of the common phrase, “Don’t mess with Texas.”