Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm, is fast approaching Texas’ Gulf Coast, expected to make landfall by Friday night or Saturday morning. With winds up to 129 mph, the storm has been considered “life threatening”, and Texas officials have been urging coastal residents to evacuate, or at least get to high ground. Texas Governor Greg Abbott asks that people, “put [their lives] first and [their] property second.”
In addition to the high-speed winds, coastal residents can expect 35+ inches of rain and severe flooding. The last major storm to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma, which hit the Florida coast in 2005. However, more memorable is Hurricane Katrina, which has been America’s costliest hurricane to date. Katrina was one of the deadliest storms on record, with around 1800 fatalities.
Harvey is the first Category 4 storm to hit the US in 12 years, and many fear that government agencies and officials are ill-equipped to manage the aftermath of the storm. Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are without permanent leaders. The DHS also oversees the Coast Guard and FEMA, two teams that are vital to the relief aid of those impacted by the storm. Former Secretary of the DHS, General John Kelly, was taken from his position to be the White House Head of Staff. His deputy, Elaine Duke, is currently the acting secretary.
General Russel Honoré, however, believes that the lack of permanent leaders will hinder the aid that NOAA and the DHS can provide for those affected by Harvey. He stated, “We don’t allow temporary coaches in the SEC, so why the hell are we running a federal agency with a temporary leader? It doesn’t create a team.”
The DHS and FEMA insist that they will do their best to provide aid for those in need, and the National Hurricane Center asserts that they are monitoring Harvey closely so that they can provide updates as they become available.The National Weather Service believes that Harvey will leave parts of Texas uninhabitable for “weeks or months”.
For more information on Hurricane Harvey, visit The Weather Channel. For information on how to stay safe during Hurricane Harvey, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s page on hurricane readiness.