Hurricane Harvey was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, causing over 200 billion dollars in damage,and caused at least 70 deaths.
It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country. Harvey dumped a U.S. storm record of 5 feet of rain across southeastern Texas in late August, leading to catastrophic flooding. In a four day period, the cyclone slowly meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing catastrophic flooding. With peak accumulation, Harvey was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the United States. The resulting floods destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. A number of factors combined to make Harvey extremely destructive.
First, Harvey strengthened as it approached land. Second, the storm was slow moving, so that it continued to drop rain on the coast. Finally, Harvey’s rains hit one of the most heavily populated areas of the United States. Combined together, these factors made Harvey one of the most destructive natural disasters of the United States.Climate change The Gulf of Mexico is known for hurricanes in August, so their incidence alone cannot be attributed to global warming, but the warming climate does influence certain attributes of storms.
Studies in this regard show that storms tend to intensify more rapidly prior to landfall. In a briefing, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated that the quantity of rainfall from Harvey had very likely been increased by climate change. The relationship between climate change and the frequency of hurricanes is still unclear. Harvey approached Houston near sea-surface water which were above average temperatures. Warm waters provide the main source of energy for hurricanes, and increased ocean heat can result in storms being larger, more drastic and longer lasting, in particular bringing greatly increased rainfall. Sea level rise added to the resulting problems. The National Climate Assessment states: Warmer air can hold more water vapor, and there has been a global increase of daily rainfall records.
The water temperature of the Gulf of Mexico was above average for this time of the year, and likely to be a factor in Harvey’s impact. Within a week of Harvey, Hurricane Irma formed in the eastern Atlantic, due to the similar conditions involving unusually warm seawater. Some scientists fear this may be becoming a “new normal”. Also higher seawater temperatures can make hurricanes more devastating. The slow movement of Harvey over Texas allowed the storm to drop prolonged heavy rains on the state, as has also happened with earlier storms. However, some scientists have looked towards the Earth’s past for the answer of Harvey’s unusual enlargement.
According to NASA scientists, the Earth’s climate has always changed over the past, so the current abnormal weather experiences are just a continuation of the past. Increase and decrease of the Earth’s climate may seem like a very unusual thing to us, but in reality the are a pattern.Meteorological HistoryEarly on August 13, the National Hurricane Center began monitoring a tropical wave on the western coast of Africa. Eventually, it organized enough evidence to be classified as a possible tropical cyclone, warranting tropical storm warnings to be raised around the southern Caribbean area. Later that day, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Harvey.
Harvey did not strengthen much in the eastern Caribbean Sea due to moderate wind, and Harvey’s presentation began to deplete early on August 19. Its water transmission pattern became elongated while the circulation became disorganized. Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm at on August 19. It was then declared an open tropical wave early on August 20. Also on August 20, the NHC (National Hurricane Center) began monitoring the remnants of Harvey for redevelopment, particularly in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, and especially in the Bay of Campeche. While traveling around the northern part of the Caribbean on August 22, satellite images and ground observations indicated that Harvey’s circulation became better defined. Late on August 23, the remnants of Harvey regenerated into a tropical cyclone, attaining tropical storm intensity on August 24. The system slowly strengthened until the early morning of the next day, at which point Harvey began to undergo rapid intensification as an eye developed and its central pressure quickly fell.
After becoming a hurricane on August 24, Harvey continued to quickly strengthen over the next day, ultimately reaching peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane. On August 26, the hurricane made landfall at peak intensity at Rockport, TX with winds of 130 mph. Texas Throughout Texas, more than 300,000 people were left without electricity and billions of dollars of property damage was sustained. On Monday, various news outlets announced the closure of oil refineries ahead of Hurricane Harvey, creating an artificial fuel shortage. Panicked, motorists waited in long lines. Consequently, gas stations through the state were forced to close due to the traffic. More than 48,700 homes were affected by Harvey throughout the state, including over 1,000 that were completely destroyed and more than 17,000 that sustained major damage; approximately 32,000 sustained minor damage.
Nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well. Yet the Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 destroyed.