Devastation: What We Know About Hurricane Harvey So Far

The Organic Prepper

Survival Saturday is a round-up of the week’s news and resources for folks who are interested in being prepared.

This Week in the News

As expected, Hurricane Harvey hit coastal Texas with a vengeance. Here’s what we know so far.  

Dire warnings about Hurricane Harvey

The media was abuzz with predictions and warnings in the days before the storm made hit the coast of Texas. It is expected to affect highly populated parts of the Texas coast like Corpus Christi (325,733 people) and the Houston metro area (6,313,158 people).

Mandatory and voluntary evacuations saw highways jammed for hours yesterday.

Yesterday, Patrick Rios, the mayor of Rockport Texas, had a grim suggestion to help potentially identify the bodies of those who stayed behind.

“Those that are going to stay — it’s unfortunate — but they should make some type of preparation to mark their arm with a Sharpie Pen. Put their social security number on it, and their name.

We can’t emphasize enough that this is a life-threatening storm. All the advice we can give is get out now.

We hate to talk about things like that. It’s not something we like to do but it’s the reality, people don’t listen. (source)

The Weather Service of Houston and Galveston warned:

Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may become dangerous rivers. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed.

Potential impacts in this area include: Structural damage to sturdy buildings, some with complete roof and wall failures. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Damage greatly accentuated by large airborne projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months. (source)

Offshore oil rigs closed down production and evacuated employee. (Note that regardless of where you live in the United States, you can expect the price of fuel to increase sharply. Some areas have already reported an increase of 19 cents per gallon.) Hospitals transferred critically ill patients. People without cars were loaded onto buses. At least one college campus closed down.

Forecasters and officials warned the storm, predicted to be the fiercest to hit the United States in 12 years, posed life-threatening risks.

“It’s hard to imagine just how horrific and destructive this amount of water will be, but it goes without saying that anyone who has decided to stay in a low-lying area is risking their lives and those lives of first responders,” MSNBC meteorologist Bill Karins said Friday. (source)

Some governmental back-up was in place in advance of the storm.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Friday it had summoned 460 National Disaster Medical System staff including doctors and nurses for the storm.

The Centers for Disease Control also said it had prepared two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations in Baton Rouge, La., that could be deployed to other locations. (source)

Unsurprisingly, many people waited until last night to purchase supplies to ride out the storm and subsequent flooding.

Houston residents stood in long lines at grocery stores and cleared out shelves of staple foods and bottled water, KPRC-TV reported. Grocer Kroger sent an additional 80 truckloads of bottled water to its stores in the area. (source)

Bottles of water and other drinks sit in a nearly emptied shelf at a Kroger Co. grocery store in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. Hurricane Harvey, set to make landfall on the center of the Texas coast late Friday, is expected to hit a refinery-rich stretch of the Gulf Coast and U.S. drivers could soon see the impact at the gas pump. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Not only was food in short supply, but emergency equipment and fuel also became scarce.

In the hours ahead of the first strong winds, supplies became scarce as Harvey’s strength grew — leaving those seeking to top off their tanks and grab flashlights on a scavenger hunt for some of the most basic emergency supplies.

A Stripes store downtown early Friday night was boarded up, but hadn’t closed down — and customers casually drove up to the pumps for what might be the last re-up before Hurricane Harvey’s arrival, joking: “Is there some kind of a storm coming?”

A few hours later, the store ran out of all fuel — and it was unclear when or if there would be more available. (source)

I just have to ask…

Would you be ready if a disaster like this was headed your way? Could you evacuate rapidly with all of the important things you needed? Would you have the supplies on hand to weather the storm? Keep in mind that it isn’t just hurricane country that has to worry about natural disasters. Floods, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, and extended power outages could threaten many of us. No area is completely safe from the wrath Mother Nature.

If you know, deep down, that you’d be out there standing in line for the last case of water, then be proactive. Go here to learn how to create a thorough emergency plan, no matter where you live.

Quick Disaster Readiness Tips

Last night, Hurricane Harvey made catastrophic landfall.

Last night, true to dire predictions, Hurricane Harvey made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas. It is the first Category 4 storm to make landfall in the US since Hurricane Charley in 2004.

The storm hit at 10 pm last night with winds of more than 130 mph.  At 5 am, the storm downgraded to a Category 1, but this is nothing to sneeze at. Winds are still up to 90 miles per hour in some places and torrential rain is expected for days.

In Rockport, Texas, there were reports of several building collapses last night. The roof caved in on a senior living complex trapping an unknown number of elderly people inside. At the time of publication this morning, rescuers were still unable to get to them. (source)

Jeff Piotrowski,  a storm chaser, stayed in Rockport and filmed the damage in the eye of the hurricane.

At one point, Piotrowski said that a ‘car wash’-like structure collapsed and that the roof of the building in which his car was parked was also in danger of collapsing.

‘There’s total destruction here outside my window,’ Piotrowski said, his voice rising as he dramatically describes the effects of the devastation around him.

‘There’s zero visibility,’ he said in one Periscope video. ‘I see walls and debris now flying through the air.’

Piotrowski described ‘roofs being ripped off’ and ‘high beams splitting.’  (source)

Here’s his live video from the center of the storm.

President Trump declared a disaster (on Twitter, where else?) at 9:46 last night.

Somehow, this was seen as a political move and some people were displeased (?) with his announcement of aid. It looks like the President’s “fascist” powers are so vast he is even responsible for a hurricane. One has to wonder if these people criticizing Trump’s early response are the same people who criticized President Bush’s delayed response to Hurricane Katrina.

What comes next?

Texans are in for a rough week or so. Those whose homes survived the initial storm and high winds without damage will now face torrential rains and flooding.

Here’s what you can do to prepare for disasters before they happen.

At least 40 inches of rain are expected as the storm stalls over the coastal region. Victoria, Texas has already received over 16 inches of rain. This could result in catastrophic flooding over a wide area.

So far, just over 211,000 people have reported power outages. However, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) expects that this number will increase.

The electric company is at work to get power restored, but it may not happen immediately.

Centerpoint Energy said they have thousands of workers ready to tackle outages caused by Hurricane Harvey, but cautioned they may need help from outside Houston to get the lights back on. (source)

This map shows where power outages are most likely.

ABC13 predicts the following power-outage timeline:

Saturday morning
As Hurricane Harvey slams Texas at its peak, the lights are likely to go out in Victoria, Palacios, and areas as far north as Wharton County.
Saturday evening
If you live in the Houston area, this is when you would most likely begin seeing power outages, particularly in the southern parts of Harris County.
Sunday morning
Centerpoint crews will most likely be found working to restore electricity in areas like Angleton, Wharton, Victoria, and down the coastline. The power might also be out in Beaumont, Galveston, Liberty and east Harris County (source)

Any reports from the frontlines of Hurricane Harvey?

Are you in the path of Hurricane Harvey? If you still have power, let us know how things are going. Can you share any insight to help others be better prepared in the future? Your stories could help someone else, so please share them in the comments section below.

The Organic Prepper

4 thoughts on “Devastation: What We Know About Hurricane Harvey So Far

  1. Don’t mass with Texas is actually from an anti- litter campaig started in 1985. George Bush was Governor from 1995-2000 and Rick Perry was Governor for the next FIFTEEN! Although Mexico’s war of independence pushed out Spain in 1821, Texas did not remain a Mexican possession for long. It became it’s own country called the Republic of Texas, from 1836 until it agreed to join the United States in 1845. I’m not sure but I think that Texas exclusively has its own power grid. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages it SEPERATE from the feds!

  2. ‘(Note that regardless of where you live in the United States, you can expect the price of fuel to increase sharply.’ …….and there you have it…..

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