Harvey’s Ruthless Barrage on Texas

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A lethal and record-breaking disaster, Hurricane Harvey, has wreaked destruction over southeastern Texas, breaking weather records and permanently altering the lives of thousands.

Rochelle Porter a former Snow College student is in Houston helping with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Photo courtesy of Rochelle Porter

Harvey began as a Tropical Depression on Wednesday, August 23. Overnight it evolved, developing into a hurricane. According to scientificamerican.com, that hurricane went from a Category 1 to a Category 4 on Friday after passing over a region of hot water in the Gulf of Mexico and using its energy to grow.

On top of this, scientificamerican.com explains that two separate high pressure systems on either side of Harvey played ping-pong with the hurricane, essentially trapping it in place over Texas.

By Saturday Harvey had downgraded to a Tropical Storm, but continued a relentless torrent of rain. The Los Angeles Times says that by Tuesday, Harvey had broken the record for rainfall on the U.S. mainland.

“My sister actually lives in Houston,” said Eliza Checketts, a student at Snow College. “Her street is like a river. They literally had someone riding a boat down their street.”

She described, “They haven’t been in the main part of it, but they put their couches up on paint buckets in case the water gets in.”

By Thursday, after more than a week of devastation in Texas, Harvey waned to a Tropical Depression. But the effects of the heavy rainfall continued, triggering flash flooding in parts of Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee through September 1, according to weather.com.

CNN reports that Harvey’s numbers include 27 trillion gallons of water dumped on Texas and Louisiana in only six days, a record 51 inches of rain, and $75 billion in damage. Tens of thousands of citizens have lost shelter to flooding.

The latest reports put Harvey’s death toll as high as 70, with a potential for that number to increase as long-term effects, such as illness and injury, make themselves known.

“It’s so crazy, ‘cause we’re just going about our lives here,” remarked Snow student Dawson Croxall. He added, “I can’t even…I guess fathom it.”

As Harvey began to calm, meteorologists closely monitored any weather that could add to its effects. On Harvey’s heels came Hurricane Irma.

Category 5 Hurricane Irma is officially the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, says Time. By Wednesday, September 6 Irma had smashed through several Caribbean islands, including U.S. territory Puerto Rico. After hitting Cuba on Friday Irma continued its rampage toward Florida, making landfall on Sunday as a Category 4.

By Monday Irma had weakened to a Tropical Storm and continued to grow weaker as it moved into northern Florida, but not before causing staggering wind and water damage along its path.

Harvey and Irma combined have broken records, made history, and endangered thousands, with more casualties expected across the southeastern U.S. as conditions continue to develop.

Students wishing to donate to hurricane relief efforts can go online to redcross.org, or donate through charities of their choice.

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