Hurricane Harvey recently brought hell over the coastlines of Texas as it dumped over 27 trillion gallons of rain on the land. With these statistics, Hurricane Harvey has become one of the most devastating and damaging natural disasters in the history of the United States of America. The massive and widespread flooding is still affecting a lot of areas in Texas including Houston. People have been forced to evacuate in masses. Thousands of people have fled their homes and moved to safer places where Harvey can’t cause any trouble. The impact has been severe especially on the oil rigs which have been shut down and as a result, the oil production has stopped in the Gulf region. It is expected of the White House to ask a relief funding worth USD 14 billion from the Congress soon for the damage that Texas has endured during the wrath of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey is the first tropical hurricane to hit the mainland this Atlantic hurricane season and we hope that it is the last one too. The amount of damage that Hurricane Harvey has brought is iconic and gargantuan. These figures are even more intriguing when compared to other hurricanes like Katrina and Matthew. So, I decided to compare the statistics of Harvey with other hurricanes that have hit the United States in the past.
Harvey will go down in the history books of the United States of America as one of the most expensive hurricanes ever to make landfall on the continental US. The estimates of hurricane Harvey’s damages go up to USD 190 billion, which is way beyond Hurricane Katrina, which was somewhere around USD 160 billion back in 2005. Although, there are experts who suggest that the costs of damage caused by Harvey would be no more than USD 90 billion, that is, similar to hurricane Sandy.
A closer look at the total losses that have been incurred since the year 1980 till 2017 gives a much better insight. You would finally realize the degree of the wrath that natural disasters like these bring upon us. The estimated value of assets lost during hurricanes as well as all the natural disasters in the last 37 years adds up to USD 1.2 trillion. Now that is a staggering amount.
Among these, the major ones like hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Andrew, Charley, Irene, Hugo, Ike, Wilma, Rita, and Ivan caused a total damage of USD 442 billion to the state. In short, there is no doubt about the fact that hurricanes are the most catastrophic type of natural disasters that have ever hit humanity (in the recent times). The above-mentioned losses of USD 442 billion are about one-third of the total losses of USD 1.2 trillion that have been incurred since 1980 due to all natural disasters.
Another study shows that the trend of billion dollar hurricanes is only increasing every year. This trend may be due to any reason but it is certainly not a desirable trend.
But why are these tropical hurricanes so devastating after all? Have you wondered why do these once tropical depressions turn in to such monstrous hell raisers? Three words – Winds, rain, and flooding. This is like the devil’s perfect trifecta. Hurricanes by themselves are not a menace, but it is actually the ravaging winds blowing in a range from 90 miles per hour to 150 miles per hour, heavy torrential downpour, and the eventual as well as inevitable widespread flooding that possesses the capability to bring down an entire State to its knees. As a matter of fact, hurricane Harvey broke all documented records in the last 50 years in terms of rainfall with a little over 52 inches of rainfall in one place.
The amount of rainfall that Harvey brought upon Texas was unimaginable. Cities like Houston, San Felipe, Wharton, Rockport, as well as Bridge City were submerged in water. The maximum damage was inflicted in Houston where over 55,000 properties were affected by the advent of Harvey. Another town, Rockport, was in the direct affinity of Harvey. Conroe, another city, was well under water despite its controlled release of Lake Conroe. If we compare this to Hurricane Matthew which hit the United States of America in 2016, Harvey still has the upper hand. Matthew, although a category 5 hurricane, was brought down to a category 3 when it made landfall in Beaufort County in South Carolina. As compared to the still estimated damages of Harvey, Hurricane Matthew adds to USD 15 billion.
Hurricane Harvey’s wreckage does not end here. The flooding it brought to Texas was a devastating vision. People have posted videos and pictures on social media showing their entire city under water and people having to use boats to travel.
The situation of flooding in Houston is still unclear but statistics show that flooding has done severe damage in places like Beaumont, and Galveston.
People are comparing Harvey with Hurricane Katrina but that hardly seems fair. The devastation caused by Katrina in terms of flooding was because of poor disaster management planning, government’s failure to implement effective flood systems, ultra-violent surges, unorganized and hap hazard evacuation systems, and a completely ill-prepared authority. Hurricane Harvey, on the other hand, was a result of severe torrential rainfall and nonstop continuous downpour for days.
As sad as it sounds, the truth is that natural disasters always end up in the loss of lives. The same goes with Hurricane Harvey. It is reported that Hurricane Harvey has resulted in a death toll of 47 to 51 people. This is very low when compared to other hurricanes like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Hugo, and Hurricane Floyd which had death tolls of 159, 119, 112, 86, and 77, respectively. Hurricane Katrina yet again tops this list with a saddening death toll of 1,833.
Other effects of the hurricane Harvey include its impact on the oil and gas rigs in the Gulf region. The oil and gas industry has surely suffered. Approximately 10 percent of the manned oil rigs in the Gulf region evacuated, however, the total damage is still being calculated. Meanwhile, the prices of oil and gas have risen.
This was my quick summary and comparison of the hurricane Harvey and some previous hurricanes that have tormented the United States before. Hope you learned something new. Do like and share, and comment your experiences with hurricanes.
If you have some more precious time to spare, we would like to know which particular thing helped you the most in this article. Whatever be it- a step, a tip or a paragraph, kindly mention it in the below-section.