Hurricane Harvey | KERA News

Hurricane Harvey

In late August, Hurricane Harvey brought record rainfall to Houston. In mid-October, the city's two large federal reservoirs have finally been emptied of the massive amount of water that had filled each of them to the brim.

State Says Harvey's Death Toll Has Reached 88

Oct 13, 2017
Adrees Latif / Reuters

Hurricane Harvey has directly or indirectly taken the lives of as least 88 Texans, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the Department of State Health Services.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Prisoners in Texas pitch in to help Harvey victims; Boy Scouts will start accepting girls; Dallas Holocaust Museum to expand; and more.

NOAA

Kevin Simmons is an economist with an unusual specialty: disasters.

The professor at Austin College in Sherman says cities, states and nations can prepare for disasters like hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — Texans whose homes were wiped out when Hurricane Harvey slammed ashore and dumped more than 50 inches of rain on some parts of this region may find that federal money allocated for long-term recovery won’t come close to meeting their collective rebuilding costs.

Hurricane Harvey flooded more than a dozen Superfund toxic waste sites when it devastated the Texas coast in late August. An EPA report predicted the possibility of climate-related problems at toxic waste sites like those in Texas, but the page detailing the report on the agency's website was made inactive months before the storm.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath was in Dallas this week to talk about how the state’s schools are doing -- and the impact Hurricane Harvey has had on education.

Rabbi Sholey Klein / Dallas Kosher

Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish families who keep kosher to survive on crackers from the corner store.

So North Texas kosher caterers took action, and set off for Houston bearing brisket and much more. 

From Texas Standard:

Certain events in history have changed the lives of Texans forever. The Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston is still the deadliest hurricane on record. On a day in Dallas, in 1963, a nation lost a president. In 1966, a shooter atop the UT Tower terrorized a city by committing the first mass murder on a college campus. And now Harvey. These defining moments are embedded in the memories of those who lived them, but for everyone else, we rely on the written record.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Flood experts, state officials and meteorologists are starting to get the full scope of Hurricane Harvey's behavior and the cost of damage it inflicted on the Texas Coast.

Christina Broussard was trapped in her grandmother's living room for three days during Hurricane Harvey. Rain poured through the ceiling in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Broussard's a student at Houston Community College. Her grandmother is 74 and uses a wheelchair.

"We had peanut butter, tuna, crackers, we had plenty of water," she remembers. "We were hungry, but we managed. We tried to make light jokes about it — we said we were on a fast." And to pass the time? "We prayed."

Martin do Nascimento / KUT News

More than 50 local and national charities have raised more than $350 million in the nearly three weeks since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast, and the disparate groups are trying to decide on priorities while some storm victims still await help.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

The National Guard photo by: Lt. Zachary West , 100th MPAD / Flickr

One safeguard many people opt out of is flood insurance. This already powerful hurricane season has shown everyone the devastation rising waters can cause, and only two in 10 homeowners in Harvey’s path had flood insurance.

 

Insurance expert Burl Daniel, based in Fort Worth, explains the importance of having coverage across the state, including North Texas.

Medical professionals are keeping an eye out for people having difficulty dealing with the trauma of losing their homes during Hurricane Harvey.

From Texas Standard:

Up to 500,000 cars took on water during Hurricane Harvey. Not having a vehicle in car-dependent Texas could be a significant hardship. And those looking for a used car to replace a flooded one should be wary of buying storm-damaged rides.

Where will it go? How strong will it be? When will it hit? Those are the answers everyone wants — not the least of which are the hurricane forecasters themselves.

To get those answers, hundreds of millions of data points — everything from wind speeds to sea temperatures — pouring in from satellites, aircraft, balloons, buoys and ground stations are fed into the world's fastest computers and programmed with a variety of models at different resolutions, some looking at the big picture, others zooming in much closer.

America seems to be a magnet for devastating hurricanes these days.

This year, Harvey came out strong with its horrific toll on parts of Texas and Louisiana. Now Irma, downgraded slightly Friday morning to a Category 4 storm from its most recent days as a Category 5, has left destruction in its wake as it plows through the Caribbean and Cuba — and is on path to hit Florida Sunday morning.

Of all the churches on the Texas coast battered by Hurricane Harvey, one of the hardest hit is St. Peter Catholic Church in Rockport. As it happens, St. Peter is the heart and soul of Aransas County's large Vietnamese population.

"This used to be our church. I haven't been inside to see the devastation," said Leah Oliva, a catechist and secretary there, as she gingerly stepped over broken glass and clumps of insulation.

Texas will be cleaning up and rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey for a long time, and Hurricane Irma is getting ready to hit Florida hard. When a natural disaster strikes, many people have an immediate urge to help. But as the waters – and news coverage – subside, so can attention. 

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House approved $15 billion in aid to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey's destruction in southeast Texas on Friday, sending the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature. 

"We had a parent go by and check on the chickens. They were fine and Wilson the cat was ok too! I know many people are concerned. What a wonderful community we have."

For the staff of Wilson Montessori, a public pre-K-8 school in Houston, the days after Harvey meant tracking down members of the community via text, collecting donations for those in need — and reassuring students about the fate of the school's pets.

As some residents of South Texas begin to dry out their homes and belongings, significant challenges lie ahead as the city of Houston and others in the affected area look to recover and rebuild.

Congress is fast-tracking billions of dollars in recovery funding. But just because that down payment on Harvey recovery is on the way, that doesn't mean the rebuilding of Houston and other areas hammered by the storm's high winds and historic rains will go quickly or smoothly.

Here are five challenges ahead for the Harvey recovery:

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Medical workers in Houston are dealing with a secondary problem after last week's floods: Clinics that offer methadone and other opioid addiction therapies are just getting back up and running, and many people don't have access to the treatments they need.

Children's Health System

There are a number of differences between the shelters housing Harvey evacuees and the ones where victims of Katrina went 12 years ago. A big one is telemedicine. Children, especially, are being treated by doctors in remote locations.

 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

One essential item that runs out quickly and many families can't live without is diapers. Toddlers need six to eight every day, and infants can go through up to 12.

In the aftermath of Harvey, and with Hurricane Irma cranking up in the Atlantic, diapers are a key element in outfitting a shelter.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Immigrant evacuees in Houston are already struggling to rebuild their lives after Harvey. Now, some are worried about their future after President Trump’s decision to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Erik Ryan and Mia Reynolds from San Leon, Texas, sit at the picnic table at their campsite in Bastrop State Park. Reynolds, who is currently on hold with FEMA, says that she has been through storms before.

"I did not want to wait around for a politician to tell me to evacuate. I saw the storm on the news and had a bad feeling. That's when I decided to rent a U-Haul truck and pull out."

Reynolds pauses as a an electronic voice comes over the phone: "Your wait time is now 154 minutes."

From Texas Standard:

As the levels in Houston's two main reservoirs continue to drop, many Texans have begun cleaning up their waterlogged homes. And in Baytown, Exxon is rebooting its refinery, the second biggest in the U.S. But there’s much more to do.

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