Good evening everyone,
As I type this, hurricane and tropical storm warnings are now in effect for much of the Texas Gulf coast, as hurricane Harvey continues to intensify in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. This hurricane is expected to make landfall…and, perhaps, multiple landfalls…along the Texas Gulf coast.
At this point, there is uncertainty over how intense the hurricane will become in terms of wind speed. As I type this Thursday, the National Hurricane Center is expecting this to intensify to a category 3 hurricane,, with winds of 111-129 mph (or 96-112 knots, or 178-208 km/hr). However, and this is the key: the steering winds aloft will go pretty much calm once it approaches land, and will stay that way for at least two days. That means that this system should stall over the coastal areas, and bring catastrophic rainfall amounts of 10″ to as much as 35″ of rain from Houston to Corpus Christi, and areas 100+ miles inland from there. The flooding that is all but certain at this point may exceed anything some areas have ever seen in modern times…and this is NOT hyperbole, in any way, Current rainfall projections for Houston are somewhere around 20″. The storm surge may be over 10′ high, and could be even higher if this occurs near or at high tide. Roadways, homes and businesses near the coastline would be completely inundated in the impact area.
AllisonHouse is part of the U.S. weather enterprise, whereby we cooperate with the National Weather Service and its related entities (NHC, SPC, WPC, etc), and also our private partners as well. Tonight, our competition, the United States National Weather Service, NOAA, FEMA and related agencies have a unified message we beg you to hear and understand: if you are in the hurricane warning, your life is in danger once the hurricane moves in. Execute your evacuation plan now, as per local authorities. If you are in a mandatory evacuation area and you don’t leave, given the intensity of the system and the extreme rainfall expected, you are putting yourself and anyone with you in grave danger. And we want to see you alive! If you need help, call your friends, family, and if you have none or are unable to physically evacuate, please call for help from local authorities or private entities. They LOVE to serve you, and you are NOT a burden to them.
For those who think “This won’t happen to me, because…” No. If you lit a match next to an open container of gasoline, but it still doesn’t explode or catch on fire, could you really consider yourself to have been safe? You just got really fortunate. Do you want to stay in an evacuation zone where all you have to rely on is phantom luck? And for many in this event, it will be the first time they experience a storm surge or a catastrophic flood in modern history. It’s not because the winds are so strong with this hurricane…it’s because it will be moving as fast as person walking briskly, once it gets to the coastline. In other words: think of someone dumping buckets of water on you for two days…non-stop.
So, again, if you are in a hurricane warning, evacuate. If the authorities tell you to evacuate, do so. They don’t like telling you that, believe me. They’d rather be at home with their family and friends; instead, they are trying to save your life, and those you care for. The storm surge and catastrophic flooding are the two main threats with this system; dare I say the latter may be considerably worse than the already bad former.
Gilbert and the AllisonHouse team