Earlier this week, Hurricane Harvey intensified into a Category 4 storm, with winds topping out at 130 miles per hour as it passed over the Gulf of Mexico. The storm made landfall this weekend in Texas, and while it’s since been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, it’s expected to drop upwards of 40 inches of rain in the area, resulting in historic, catastrophic flooding in the region. Patrick Burke, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, tells The Verge that “we’re really dealing with a disaster that’s just now beginning.”
Follow along with further updates as this story develops.
Sep 12, 2018
Hurricane Florence is getting ready to hit the east coast of the US as an “extremely dangerous major hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center says. Florence is expected to bring storm surges up to 13 feet high, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and possibly even tornadoes. People are evacuating from coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has warned that the power could be out for weeks, Buzzfeed News reports. In such emergency situations, it’s smart to have a Go Bag ready with basic necessities.Read Article >
FEMA recommends stockpiling enough emergency supplies to last you, your loved ones, and your pets roughly three days. These emergency kits should be ready before the hurricane hits, so you can grab them quickly in case you need to evacuate. Also, have your gas tank topped off and be prepared to respond to any evacuation orders.
Sep 29, 2017
Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented rains and flooding last month caused a leak from a heavily polluted site along the San Jacinto River east of Houston, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Read Article >
The so-called San Jacinto River Waste Pits, one of several Superfund sites flooded during the storm, contain cancer-causing waste from a paper mill. Harvey’s rains damaged the protective cap that was supposed to hold in the waste, exposing the “underlying waste material,” the EPA says.
Sep 3, 2017
When Hurricane Harvey landed in Houston last week, a major concern was the damage that the city’s petrochemical industry could sustain from the storm. The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that 13 of the 41 sites in the area remain flooded, while a report from the Associated Press says that the agency has yet to physically inspect most of the polluted areas.Read Article >
Following the storm, numerous chemical plants in and around the city experienced damage and in some cases, explosions as a result of the flooding. But Superfund sites — heavily polluted areas that require long-term cleanup — are of particular concern. Prior to the storm, workers “took steps to secure state sites in the projected path of Hurricane Harvey,” while the EPA worked with local stakeholders to secure federal sites.
Aug 31, 2017
Two explosions occurred today at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX, as the region continues to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.Read Article >
Arkema, the French company that owns the plant, said in a statement that it was notified of the explosions at around 2AM CDT Thursday morning, and that black smoke was seen emanating from the facility. The company had previously ordered all workers to leave the plant amid fears of an incident, and officials had earlier established an evacuation zone within a 1.5-mile radius of the building.
Tropical Storm Harvey has caused unprecedented flooding in southeast Texas — but other dangerous environmental disasters could be on their way, including the leakage of chemicals that could explode or harm people.Read Article >
Making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, Harvey hit right into the heart of the state’s petrochemical industry. Several plants shut down to brace for the bad weather, but refineries and chemical plants have still been damaged.
MD Anderson’s Houston-based primary hospital, one of the top cancer centers in the US, has flooded because of torrential rains from tropical storm Harvey — leaving cancer patients unable to receive scheduled treatment through Friday.Read Article >
The cancer hospital’s main building, as well as several MD Anderson satellites around Houston, will stay closed for appointments, but the hospital staff is “identifying those patients with the most urgent medical or treatment needs and directly contacting them,” according to a statement by Karen Lu, MD Anderson’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.
Aug 29, 2017
In addition to the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents have one more thing to worry about: floating colonies of fire ants.Read Article >
Fire ants have waxy bodies that allow them to repel water. Should a colony find itself waterlogged, ants will protect their queen by forming a mass around her, as well as eggs, larvae, and pupae (ants that are in between larvae and adults). As the ants float, they rotate, so that the underwater ants will get to the top and vice versa. This behavior is totally normal, Molly Keck, an entomologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, tells The Verge. "We usually call fire ants flood water species,” she says. “They've been known well before this hurricane to float on top of water like that.”
Aug 29, 2017
Tropical Storm Harvey has set a record for rainfall in the continental US, according to the National Weather Service. The storm has poured 51.88 inches of rain into Cedar Bayou, Texas.Read Article >
The previous record for rainfall in the continental US was 48 inches, also in Texas, during cyclone Amelia in 1978. However, the all-time record of 52 inches happened near Hawaii in 1950 — and it’s still possible for the storm to exceed the all-time record.
Aug 29, 2017
After making landfall on Friday, Tropical Storm Harvey is still ravaging southeast Texas five days later — and pictures from space show just how massive this storm has remained since then. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik snapped the above photo of Harvey from the International Space Station at 2:27PM ET yesterday, showing that the storm is still a monster. It’s a poignant reminder as Houston area residents continue to battle flood waters, and emergency crews rescue people stranded in their homes.Read Article >
Harvey’s ferocity is the culmination of many different inopportune factors. The waters in the Gulf of Mexico are particularly warm right now, fueling the storm and making it a brutal Category 4 hurricane when it first hit Texas. Making matters worse is the fact that it stalled out over the state for a couple of days due to lack of winds in the upper atmosphere. The storm’s trajectory then took it back into the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, where it may gather some strength from the warm ocean waters.
Aug 29, 2017
As southeast Texas has been hit by heavy rains and record-setting flooding, fake photos of an underwater Houston airport and of a shark swimming down a highway have gone viral. There are also old images of former President Barack Obama serving hot meals to evacuees, and viral posts sharing the wrong National Guard number to call if people find themselves in emergency situations. (The Washington Post is keeping a useful tally of all hoaxes.) But after seeing all these hoaxes, it’s worth wondering: why do hoaxes go viral during natural disasters?Read Article >
Fake information is circulated on social media all the time. During emergencies, though, more people are checking Facebook and Twitter more often for news and updates. So it’s more likely that a catchy photo will get thousands of retweets, says Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft and an expert on social news gathering, ethics, and verification. “The amplification happens much more quickly because you have more people looking at the story,” she says.
Aug 28, 2017
Though Harvey made landfall as a category 4 hurricane on August 25th, it’s still dangerous despite its downgrade to a tropical storm. The worry isn’t the winds — which are how hurricanes are categorized — but the rain. The storm is expected to continue dumping rain across southeast Texas, and its heaviest rains haven’t yet hit the state.Read Article >
“We think the heaviest rainfall will be today and tomorrow,” says Dan Petersen, a forecaster with the Weather Prediction Center. Another 15 to 25 inches of rain will fall across coastal areas of southeast Texas, including over Houston, and southwestern Louisiana, Petersen tells The Verge. Some areas could see as much as 50 inches of rain — or about four feet.
Aug 27, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas yesterday, and while the storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it’s expected to drop up to 40 inches of rain in the area, which is leading to catastrophic flooding in the area. To help with the coming relief efforts, Apple and Amazon have begun accepting donations for the Red Cross.Read Article >
As with its efforts to collect money for the Southern Poverty Law Center after Charlottesville, Apple has opened a page on its storefronts that allows users to make donations in $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200 increments. The page states that 100 percent of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, and that personal information won’t be shared with the organization.
Aug 27, 2017
After making landfall on Friday night, Hurricane Harvey has since been downgraded to a tropical storm but it is still wreaking damage throughout southeast Texas. Massive flooding is being reported in the Houston area, thanks to two bands of rain that merged and strengthened on top of the city overnight. In the last 24 hours, Houston and nearby Galveston have received 24 inches of rain, and it looks like it’s not letting up any time soon.Read Article >
“We’re really dealing with a disaster that’s just now beginning in terms of rainfall and flooding,” Patrick Burke, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, tells The Verge. Harvey was an incredibly powerful Category 4 storm when it first hit Texas, and though it weakened after making landfall, it’s still taking a long time for the storm to dissipate, according to Burke. Plus, it’s August, which means that there is not a lot of steering flow to move the system away from the city. All of this means Harvey is not leaving the area for a while and could continue to dump rain for at least the next three days.
Aug 25, 2017
Hurricane Harvey is whirling towards Texas with winds reaching 130 miles per hour — a Category 4 hurricane that was fueled by an unlucky pit stop over a deep patch of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.Read Article >
Warm water feeds hurricanes, which form when a weather disturbance, like a small storm, sucks the moist, warm air over the ocean’s surface into the lower atmosphere. When that moisture-laden air reaches cooler temperatures higher up in the atmosphere, the water condenses to form clouds — which spin and grow, fueled by more warm ocean water as it evaporates.