In the early morning hours of August 26th, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas. At the time of its first impact with land, Harvey had sustained winds over 130 miles per hour and was rated as a Category 4 hurricane. It was the first major hurricane to hit Texas in more than fifty years, and the first serious storm to hit the Gulf Region in more than a decade.
As of the times of this writing, much of Texas other coastal states are still experiencing torrential downpours, with the immense volume of rainfall having been the storm’s greatest cause of damage thus far. Harvey’s rains have shattered myriad records in the region, dumping dozens of inches of water on cities like Houston, Corpus Christi, Bay City, and others. In some locations, twenty inches of fell before the first day of the storm had passed, and in a single weekend many parts of Texas had already received more rain than usually seen in an entire year.
Hurricane Harvey has caused rampant flooding all around the coastal regions of Texas and even well inland, with thousands of people requiring rescue and assistance. The storm has caused more than ten confirmed deaths thus far, with that toll unfortunately likely to rise. Even as the police, fire and rescue teams, the military, and courageous citizens band together to help those in need, the storm continues to ravage the region, with the full scope of its destruction likely far from achieved.
This is what it looks like when a hurricane hits America.
15. Entire Roadways Cut Off by Floodwaters
Just take a long look at that picture. Note that the water has almost fully submerged a tractor trailer, several trees, and even a cherry picker. And that’s not to mention the highway overpasses touching the top of the waterline. The floodwaters in Houston were so high that entire swathes of highway and countless surface streets were rendered fully impassable, complicating both evacuation and search and rescue efforts. Right now, the only reliable transportation in this city of 2.3 million people is a boat.
14. Alligator Danger
Humans aren’t the only living things affected by Hurricane Harvey. The storm has also driven wild animals out of their usual habitats, and in many cases that means lethally dangerous alligators are coming farther into urban and suburban areas than they normally would. Here we see a large adult gator mere feet from a person’s car. In the event of severe flooding like this, these reptilian predators have a distinct advantage over people and pose a much greater hazard than normal.
13. Shattered Businesses
It will take months to calculate the total cost of the damages Hurricane Harvey causes, but it will be will into the billions of dollars. This utterly destroyed diner is representative of the many places of business that will need to be gutted and rebuilt or else simply condemned in the wake of the storm. With the vast amount of oil refining that takes place on the Texas coast, it’s also likely that national fuel prices will rise. And insurance companies certainly have their work cut out for them.
12. Dogs Left Tied Up During the Storm
In what can only be described in the harshest terms of cruelty and lack of moral fiber, many people fleeing the path of Hurricane Harvey left dogs tied up and facing near certain death as the storm set in. Fortunately, courageous samaritans have saved dozens of dogs in areas afflicted by Harvey, including the pooch in this picture. The sad fact is, though, that it’s entirely likely that not all the canines in the path of the storm were as lucky as this guy.
11. The Youngest Survivors of the Storm
Here we see Americans doing what the best of us do: we help our fellow humans. This man, a member of the police S.W.A.T. team, carries a woman who in turn carries her baby. If facing the withering assault of a Category 4 hurricane is scary enough as an adult, picture doing that before you had even turned one year old. And even more frightening than that is imagining trying to keep your own infant safe in the face of such danger and destruction.
10. The Oldest Survivors of the Storm
Hurricanes often present the greatest danger to the oldest members of society. Many elderly people are more than competent to live on their own under normal circumstances, but are rendered almost helpless and are left in grave danger once floodwaters rise and howling winds blow. Several retirement communities had to be evacuated as Hurricane Harvey set in, but many older people who lived in their own homes had to be rescued one by one.
9. Entire Neighbourhoods Destroyed
Few structures are more susceptible to the damaging forces of a hurricane than mobile homes, and the gulf coast of Texas is dotted by dozens of mobile home communities. A few days ago, this was a neighborhood. Now, in the wake of the storm, you can see only a couple of residences that are anywhere near intact, while most are in shambles or have been totally washed away. Along with them go all of the possessions of entire families.
8. Devastated Infrastructure
Long after the rains stop, the floodwaters recede, and the winds die down, the impact of Hurricane Harvey will be felt in Texas, Louisiana, and beyond. The storm has ruined homes and businesses aplenty, and it has also taken its toll on the infrastructure upon which Americans rely every day of their lives. Here we www an entire portion of a major roadway that has collapsed, with more of the street likely poised to crumble away soon after, leaving the entire route destroyed.
7. Hundreds of Ruined Boats
If you ever thought riding out a major storm aboard a boat was a good idea, it’s not. Hurricane Harvey has sent dozens of boats to the bottom, and it has ruined hundreds more whether they were at anchor, in the dock, or even being stored on dry land in facilities designed specifically to protect vessels. Here we see dozens of boats that have been tossed around like dried leaves by the storm’s winds. There is millions of dollars of damage in this one picture.
6. Homes Completely Destroyed
This ruined residence in the coastal city of Lockport, TX is representative of a staggering number of homes that have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. The roof and one entire wall have been ripped from the house, with flood waters fill the rooms and submerging most of the property. Many homes like this one will almost surely be unsuitable for repair and will have to be entirely torn down. Whether they are rebuilt or if the property is abandoned remains to be seen.
5. Cars Trapped by Floodwaters
Despite warnings against doing so, all too often people facing rising flood waters hop in their cars and try to transport themselves to safety. In most cases, by the time the water has risen high enough to drive you from your home, the water has already risen too high for a vehicle to pass through. Here we see people who hoped to escape the storm’s ravages by driving and instead were forced to take to their feet in several feet of water. The good news for them is that their cars were not fully submerged when they decided to get back out.
4. Hurricane Harvey from Space
Only when seen from far above can the true magnitude of a Category 4 hurricane be understood. NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station have sent back numerous pictures of Hurricane Harvey as taken from approximately 250 miles above the surface of the earth, and they reveal a storm pattern that engulfs hundreds of square miles at the same time. Images such as these confirm what any on the ground could tell you: this is a once in a lifetime storm for most people. (Or so we hope.)
3. Deadly Fires
It might seem ironic that fire has proven to be one of the most deadly factors during a hurricane that is notable for the volume of rain it is dumping, but that’s exactly what has happened. Fires caused by electrical shorts or broken natural gas or fuel lines have broken out in several locations around Texas, with one of the first fatalities of Hurricane Harvey in fact being a man who died in a house fire. The difficulty the storm poses to fire and rescue crews only makes the situations worse.
2. The Storm Surge
One of the deadliest and most ruinous factors of most hurricanes and typhoons (the name for a severe tropical storm in the Pacific Ocean) is the storm surge, or the coastal encroach of seawater caused by the storm’s powerful winds. While Hurricane Harvey’s storm surge was not as massive as some others in recent memory, such as the one that stuck Fukushima in Japan a few years ago, it was large enough to fill bays that usually allowed for rainwater drainage, leading to the intense inland flooding covering so much of southeastern Texas.
1. Death and Destruction
Don’t look too hard at the image above if seeing a dead dog will bother you, because that what you will spot sprawling out of the window of this flipped pickup truck. The multi-thousand pound vehicle was lifted and tossed by the rampant winds of Hurricane Harvey, as have been so many other cars, trucks, boats, houses, buildings, and more. And while the word winds have stopped, still the rains fall as of the end of this writing.
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