A Cold, Dark Evening
A windy terror has swept across the nation, leaving miles and miles of destruction in its war path. Causing untold amounts of carnage in southeastern Texas, it has been matched by only a select few others in the history of the United States. What is this windy terror? A category 4 hurricane to rival the horror of Katrina: Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey first made landfall in Texas at 11 PM local time, on Friday, August 25th. Then classified as a category 4 hurricane, it stalled over southeastern Texas, bombarding Houston hard with massive flooding, and slowly, the rest of Texas as well.
Harvey, which started off as a tropical wave, obtained its tropical storm status on August 17. However, two days later on August 19, Harvey began to deteriorate and weaken. As it entered the Caribbean sea, it reverted into a tropical storm, close to the end of its life. However, on August 23, Harvey rapidly began to reform, ultimately reaching Hurricane status later that same day.
Texas, mainly Houston, has been bombarded by a constant pounding of rain, which is said to now exceed 50 inches. While the storm seems to have abated and moved off the mainland, it is expected that parts of the United States, mainly Texas and Louisiana, could receive another 5-10 inches of rain before the storm dissipates.
Eye Of The Storm
Officials have estimated that the cost of property damages caused by hurricane Harvey could be worth up to $50 billion. Since Harvey made its landfall in Texas, the storm has uprooted hundreds of homes, destroyed oil factories, cracked miles of roads, and blocked multiple trade routes for ships to sail. Severe flooding has occurred throughout Southeast Texas, which has forced many residents to evacuate on watercraft. The amount of destruction left behind will certainly take many years to repair completely.
So far, there have been 18 confirmed deaths, with thousands of citizens still unaccounted for, whether in evacuation or packed into reportedly overflowing shelters. With a multitude of homes being destroyed, many people will lack a place to sleep in the chaotic aftermath.
Now, you may be wondering, what does a category 4 hurricane mean? Well, hurricanes are commonly measured using a scale dubbed the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (or SSHWS). SSHWS rates hurricanes based on their wind speed, from a category 1 hurricane, all the way to a category 5. For reference, Katrina (at its worst) was rated a category 5 hurricane. According to SSHWS, catastrophic damage will occur with either a category 4 or 5 hurricane.
The Sunshine After The Rain
Multiple charitable organizations have arranged direct donations to the survivors of Harvey, to help them get back on their feet after losing the majority of their property. In fact, Google will match the first million dollars in donations. If you want to make a difference to the people out there, even a single dollar can save a life.
In a time of unimaginable disaster and catastrophe, it is reassuring and inspiring to witness Americans in the act of helping one another. If anything, hurricane Harvey demonstrates that the American people, even in a period of political uncertainty and controversy, retain the ability to band together to help others in need. Life is fleeting; life is short, so make the most of it. You never know when another natural disaster might be just around the corner…
This article was written by writers Shmily Lin and Raymond Cao