Climate Change Likely Heightened Harvey’s Fury.
Hurricane Harvey roared to shore on August 25 as a Category 4 storm, with 130-mph winds by the time it hit Rockport, Texas. Heavy rainfall has caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast, displacing thousands and causing dozens of deaths. More than 2.3 million people live in rain-soaked Houston, and hundreds of thousands have been without power. Harvey is the strongest storm to hit a U.S. coast since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and it has destroyed many buildings along the coast. Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane by early Saturday morning before being designated a tropical storm, but the most catastrophic effects of the storm are unfolding over several days. Flooding is among the worst in U.S. history. Houston was once largely a swamp and relies on a decades-old system of canals to drain flooded streets. Those by creeks and bayous have faced high flash flood risks. An investigation last year by the Houston Chronicle found that many of these waterways were built before the city’s population exploded and when rainfall estimates were lower. The estimated $26 billion it would take to update these channels doesn’t seem likely to happen soon.
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