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Texas in direct path of intensifying, ‘astounding’ Hurricane Harvey; Gulf waters warmer than normal; rainfall may equal annual total, shattering records

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August 24 2017 see full Washington Post article here

Texas is bracing for potentially catastrophic flooding and winds as Hurricane Harvey intensified Thursday and cruised toward a late Friday impact near Corpus Christi.

The National Hurricane Center described Harvey’s sudden strengthening as “astounding.” The storm is expected to strike as a Category 3 hurricane — meaning with winds greater than 111 miles per hour — making it the most powerful storm to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

…Harvey would be the first hurricane to hit Texas since Ike, a high Category 2 storm, came ashore in September 2008 in Galveston and caused tens of billions of dollars in property damage.

Hurricane Harvey is seen in the Texas Gulf Coast on August 24, 2017. (NOAA/Reuters)

…The Gulf of Mexico is vitally important for the nation’s oil infrastructure. Offshore platforms produce about 1.7 million barrels a day, nearly a fifth of U.S. crude oil production. More than 45 percent of U.S. petroleum refining capacity lies along the Gulf Coast as well as 51 percent of total U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity, according to Energy Department data

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Harvey forecast to slam Texas coast as major hurricane with ‘devastating’ flooding

By Brian McNoldy and Jason Samenow August 25 at 10:10 AM Washington Post

…Not only are the rain and flooding concerns huge, but the storm also has the potential to generate destructive winds and a devastating storm surge — or raise the water as much as 6 to 12 feet above normally dry land at the coast.

…An incredible amount of rain, 15 to 25 inches with isolated amounts of up to 35 inches, is predicted along the middle and upper Texas coast, because the storm is expected to stall and unload torrents for four to six straight days. The National Hurricane Center said it expects “devastating and life-threatening” flash flooding. In just a few days, the storm may dispense the amount of rain that normally falls over an entire year, shattering records.

…The National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi, near where the storm is expected to make landfall, said that due to the combination of flooding from storm surge and rainfall, “locations may be uninhabitable for an extended period.” It warned of “structural damage to buildings, with many washing away” and that “streets and parking lots become rivers of raging water with underpasses submerged.”…

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Here’s Why Hurricane Harvey Is So Scary and Unprecedented

Emily Atkin New Republic

….According to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, hurricanes usually come with only one of two awful characteristics—either heavy, persistent rainfall or strong, violent winds and storm surge. It looks like Hurricane Harvey could have both, because unique wind patterns may prevent the storm from moving quickly out of the region….

….“Climate change is definitely impacting the maximum intensity of rainfall,” Nielsen-Gammon told me, explaining how the warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture and therefore release more rainfall during storms….

A Texas-size flood threatens the Gulf Coast, and we’re so not ready

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