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Record-Setting Hurricanes Rock North America

Storms hit Houston and Puerto Rico this month

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A student looking at relief organizations to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

A student looking at relief organizations to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

John Gresham

John Gresham

A student looking at relief organizations to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

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Hurricane Harvey has made national news because of the sheer devastation it has brought to Texas, but many are asking the question, “just how bad is it?”  Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday, August 25th near Port O’Connor, Texas. In the span of 36 hours Harvey went from a tropical depression to a category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Harvey is the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S in more than a decade, and one of the most damaging behind hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The official death toll attributed to Hurricane Harvey is 82. This number is low in comparison to Katrina, which is estimated to be 1,833 people. The relatively low death toll can be contributed to the preparations that were taken before the hurricane hit. Rather than issuing a mandatory evacuation order, people were instead told to “hunker down and stay safe,” which led to fewer people out on the roads when the record rainfalls hit. The rain itself is what led to Harvey being referred to as a “500-year storm.” Some estimates point towards a record 51” of rain in the Houston area, causing roads to being submerged underwater.  In all, 20 trillion gallons of water were dumped by Harvey over the states of Texas and Louisiana.

Harvey left a path of destruction in its wake. More than 300,000 people were left without power in Texas and almost 200,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the hurricane. Unfortunately, 80 percent of homeowners in Texas live without flood insurance. Perhaps the most concerning figure is that economic losses are estimated from $70 to $200 billion, most of which can be attributed to costs from uninsured homes. Texas Governor Greg Abbot has requested $125 billion in federal relief and expects to exceed that number in actual spending.

Harvey is one of the most powerful Hurricanes to hit North America. Now that Harvey has dissipated, what can we do to help? First, there are several organizations helping out in Texas and Louisiana. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are two major organizations getting involved, but there are many smaller, more local organizations that are helping as well.

In addition to the charitable organizations, many celebrities and athletes have pledged to donate to Harvey relief. Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Taylor Swift have all donated large sums of money to help those affected by Harvey.  Both the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys have pledged $1 million towards relief, with J.J. Watt raising $14 million for Houston. Many more celebrities have pledged donations to help in Texas, from headliners to small local musicians in every community, putting out tip jars dedicated to relief efforts.

The destruction brought by Hurricane Harvey was over in a matter of days, but the rebuilding will take years.

 

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Record-Setting Hurricanes Rock North America