Why such a dis­as­ter and no evac­u­a­tion?

Does any­one de­serve blame for the re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey?

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Dex­heimer edex­heimer@states­man.com

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-

JAY JANNER / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

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.

DAVID J. PHILLIP / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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