QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Probably there has never been anything so expensive in our country’s history, we’ve never done anything so historic in terms of damage and in terms of ferocity as what we’ve witnessed with Harvey. It sounds like such an innocent name, Ben, right, but it’s not innocent.”
—President Trump, remarking about the severity of Hurricane Harvey (and the name “Harvey”) to Ben Carson, secretary of housing and urban development. Trump came to Texas on Tuesday to meet with state and federal officials in Corpus Christi and in Austin. During a news conference on Monday, the president pledged quick action and a multi-million dollar aid package. He plans to return to Texas this weekend.
Harvey Rages On
Since Friday night, Hurricane Harvey has unleashed flooding, 132-mph winds, and storm surges across Southeast Texas. But the storm isn’t done yet. Harvey made its second landfall early Wednesday morning in Cameron, Louisiana, near the Texas border. And in Texas, the Category 4 hurricane itself was just the beginning: 30 inches of rainfall have created flash floods in Beaumont and Port Arthur, leaving residents trapped in their homes and evacuees once again scrambling to find safety from the rising waters.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Texans Step Up
In the wake of ongoing tragedy, the people of Texas continue to show bravery, care, and selflessness towards strangers in need. In Harris County, 30 percent of which is underwater—an area roughly the size of Austin—thousands of trapped residents have been rescued and transported to shelter: 3,500 people saved by the Houston Police Department, 2,200 by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and many more by citizens. After 911 lines were flooded with calls, hundreds of residents, trapped by rising flood levels across the region, have posted on social media for rescue. And their fellow Texans have shown up with boats and supplies and full hearts, providing shelters in local businesses, forming human chains to help those in need reach safety, and opening their homes to families displaced by the storm.
Rising Death Toll
As Houston and Southeast Texas continue to reach record levels of rainfall—in five days, 51.88 inches have fallen over Cedar Bayou, more than many U.S. cities receive in a year—the death toll continues to climb. So far, there have been 31 confirmed and suspected deaths from flooding across Texas, including a Houston police officer who drowned on his way to work, and a family of six whose van was swept into Greens Bayou on Sunday.
The Dogs and Cats of Texas
For many evacuees awaiting rescue, their most prized possession is a Texan canine or feline. But some have no choice but to leave their beloved pets behind and hope for their survival. Rescuers have saved hundreds of animals so far, including Betty Walter, a Houstonian who rescued 21 dogs from her neighborhood, spending 14 hours with them in her attic before two men with a boat brought her and the dogs to safety. As flooding continues, more displaced animals are anticipated: shelters, like the Animal Care Services Department in San Antonio, are flying animals to New Jersey and Washington to make room for more four-legged evacuees.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
In response to Harvey, Houston ISD to provide three free meals per day for all students this school year Houston Chronicle
How to Spot a Hurricane Harvey Hoax on Social Media New York Magazine’s Select All
‘He could hear the kids screaming’: Six family members swept away trying to flee Harvey The Washington Post
Houston May Get 50 Inches of Rain. How Long Does It Take Your City to Get That Much? The New York Times
Why Those Floating Fire Ant Colonies in Texas Are Such Bad News Wired