Why such a disaster and no evacuation?
Does anyone deserve blame for the response to Hurricane Harvey?
Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath are still very much current events. According to the most recent forecasts, perilous weather is expected to linger in southeastern Texas for several more days, creating additional devastation and life threats. Rescues are ongoing, and there are many people still in need of basic care.
So it is premature to wonder how the storm turned into such a catastrophic event and who, if anyone, deserves blame for the government’s preparations, predictions and response to an unprecedented weather event. Still, some answers to the basic questions that precipitated the event are coming into focus.
Why did Harvey become so vicious?
There has been plenty of meteorological unpacking over the past week, but in an interview with Scientific American, meteorologist Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground, a pioneer in online weather geekery, offered up one of the best explanations for how and why Harvey turned into such a monster.
For starters, Masters pointed out that the storm grew extraordinarily quickly. At bedtime Wednesday it was merely a tropical depression — defined as a storm with maximum winds of 38 mph. But overnight into Thurs-
David Emswiler (center) thanks Thomas Luna (right) and Hugo Elizondo, who rescued Emswiler on Monday from his flooded house in northwest Houston. Luna and Elizondo came to the city from Tomball with their fishing boat, looking to help in the rescue effort following the arrival of Hurricane Harvey. Rains from the storm continue to fall on the area, with 2 more feet expected.
Boats fill Tidwell Road in Houston on Monday as rescuers help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey’s flooding evacuate. Thousands of Houstonians have had to be rescued.