One of the worst flood disasters in modern U.S. history unfolded on Sunday in the Houston area, driven by relentless rains from Tropical Storm Harvey. The disaster is unprecedented and at this point, as Bob Henson writes, “it may make little difference whether Harvey stays just inland or moves just offshore, since rainbands would continue to be funneled toward Houston either way.” The overall message is consistent: Harvey will be a devastating rainmaking presence in southeast Texas for days to come.
In the meantime, the situation on the ground in Houston is gaining uncomfortable resonance with 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. As with Katrina, there have been numerous reports of people trapped in attics, and countless roads across the city are impassable.
Climate change amplifies the three primary hazards associated with hurricanes: potential wind speed, rainfall, and storm surge. Although it is too early to say, Harvey is sure to inflict a massive economic toll as well. Katina, in 2005,was around $100 billion and Sandy in 2012, around $75 billions.
Mammoth Flood Disaster in Houston: More Rain Yet to Come, August 27, 2017, Weather Underground.