Beware of alliterative storms
August 25, 2017 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Hurricane Harvey (WaPo) is approaching the Texas coast as a major hurricane. The Border Patrol has threatened to keep their checkpoints open and lock up fleeing illegal aliens. Always good ongoing discussion at wunderground's Category 6.
posted by dances_with_sneetches (796 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
Major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. are relatively rare. This is expected to be the strongest on the Texas coast in 47 years. The system is expected to stall at the point of landfall and continue to dump massive amounts of rain as a tropical storm.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:34 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


A friendly reminder that there is no head of FEMA, and hasn't been for six months. We're about to see the true consequences of the Trumpist "Deconstructive Government."
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:36 AM on August 25 [47 favorites]


Yeah. Sometimes I think, Trump will make an all-out effort to respond, after all this is a state that helped elect him and he has a lot to lose here. Other times, I think: Trump.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:38 AM on August 25 [15 favorites]


From the top story at the WU link: "Localized multi-day rainfall amounts could be as much as 35", according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC)."

Yowza.
posted by notyou at 6:39 AM on August 25 [4 favorites]


As somebody already noted on Twitter, this is the first crisis that Donald Trump must face that was not already caused by Donald Trump.
posted by jonp72 at 6:40 AM on August 25 [98 favorites]


> A friendly reminder that there is no head of FEMA, and hasn't been for six months. We're about to see the true consequences of the Trumpist "Deconstructive Government."
Are you sure? Wikipedia says Brock Long is the current FEMA administrator.
posted by runcifex at 6:40 AM on August 25 [10 favorites]


I found this article regarding Houston's flood management (or lack thereof) on twitter this morning. Stay safe, guys.
posted by lineofsight at 6:43 AM on August 25


No, you're right. He was confirmed July 31.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:45 AM on August 25 [4 favorites]


NOAA, also important in this scenario, is the agency without an appointee at this point, and there is no head of the Department of Homeland Security because of the Gen. Kelly appointment to White House Chief of Staff. Details. The ongoing professional rank and file at both FEMA and NOAA will do fine. The real test is Trump's own response. Recall the Bush 43 Katrina flyover, and the misplaced criticism of Obama for not creating distractions by visiting Louisiana flood areas during the height of that crisis in 2016.
posted by beagle at 6:50 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Well Brock has had the entire month of August to settle in, so no worries, right?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:50 AM on August 25 [11 favorites]


He worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as Hurricane Program Manager from November 2001 to January 2006.
Well, that's reassuring. He has tons of experience!*

*Katrina, August 2005
posted by xyzzy at 6:55 AM on August 25 [17 favorites]


One thing you can be sure of is that Trump will jump in very quickly with declarations of victory. We will not know how bad the damage is and how many lives were lost until early next week, after the torrential rains have cleared. Major hurricanes that kill in the 100s in the U.S. are rare. Even Andrew, Category 5, suburbs of a major metropolis, killed only 65. (edited to change Katrina to Andrew)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:57 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Weather: just another piece of the mess he inherited.
posted by davebush at 7:02 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


One thing you can be sure of is that Trump will jump in very quickly with declarations of victory.

IIRC Obama didn't immediately go to New York after Sandy for a photo op because a presidential visit to NY is disruptive in many ways (closing roads, security) under normal circumstances, and under disaster level conditions actively counter-productive to recovery.

Trump will do the photo op regardless. It's all about him.
posted by adept256 at 7:07 AM on August 25 [15 favorites]


He'll probably do the photo op in a fire truck too. He likes them. It's not as if there's anything more important they could be doing.
posted by adept256 at 7:09 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: Other times, I think: Trump.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:10 AM on August 25 [11 favorites]


Here in San Antonio we're one of the major evacuation points and all day yesterday we had a steady flow of people driving up from Corpus Christi and various other points south.

It'll flood here in San Antonio with even the mild storms that get this far inland, but it always floods in SA when there's heavy rain and we know exactly where the water goes and how to deal with it. That's why if you look at a map of San Antonio you'll see fairly large green spaces all through the city, they're places no one is allowed to build because they flood in every major storm so we keep them as parks and wild spaces. When there isn't a storm they're great for biking, hiking, picnicking and so on.

But the actual damage from the hurricane won't be known until days after the storm has passed. It's expected to dump at least 20 inches of rain on the places where it makes landfall, plus huge sea swells and massive wind.

Basically coastal Texas from Brownsville all the way up to Louisiana is going to get hit hard, and the final tally for all the damage won't be in until sometime next month at the earliest. Likely there won't be too many deaths, but there will be massive property damage.
posted by sotonohito at 7:10 AM on August 25 [13 favorites]


From one hurricane hotspot to another -- be safe, Texas mefites.
posted by PearlRose at 7:21 AM on August 25 [7 favorites]


You're next, Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:26 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


David A. Graham/The Atlantic: Is Texas Ready for Hurricane Harvey? (How Bad Could Hurricane Harvey Be?)
Experts have long worried that a powerful storm striking the Gulf Coast could be a costly and deadly environmental disaster.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:32 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


My parents in East Texas were a lot younger when they went 5-10 days without power after Rita and Ike. I sent my traditional plea to please go to Fort Worth (where they know the area and are comfortable getting around) or at least just go to Shreveport or something and eat casino buffets all weekend but they won't. They have a generator and a window unit and guns, and they're on high ground that's never flooded. The neighborhood usually becomes impassable with giant downed pine trees, though, and I worry.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:38 AM on August 25 [14 favorites]


I have some friends from Houston who work in the oil industry who said fuck it and went to a nice resort in southern Mexico for two weeks. They have no idea if they'll have a home or the husband will have a job when they get back but the car is parked high up in a garage* and the wife works in environmental so they reckon she'll have work for the next 25 years cleaning up the expected oil spills. And they'll miss the storm and aftermath. So far they've NOT been impressed with how Houston handles storms and they expect this to be "a total shitshow".

*They've lost two or three cars to flooding already since moving to Houston a few years ago.
posted by fshgrl at 7:39 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]


They have a generator and a window unit and guns

Gun culture is so weird. I hope people named Harvey stay safe.
posted by adept256 at 7:47 AM on August 25 [10 favorites]


I'm really worried about the Border Patrol essentially forcing immigrants to stay in the hurricane's path. I think we could end up with a Latinx Katrina, and arguably even fewer people care about undocumented immigrants than Black citizens. ( I say arguably. but I don't think we need an actual argument in this thread.)
posted by AFABulous at 8:00 AM on August 25 [31 favorites]


Old people with guns is a big reason my friends decided to leave town tbh.
posted by fshgrl at 8:00 AM on August 25 [25 favorites]


The border patrol is reminding me of that video a few years back of a gang mugging people as they fled the lower decks of a sinking ship.
posted by rodlymight at 8:05 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my folks and sister/BIL/nephews live in SW suburbs of Houston. They fled for Rita and all that did was leave them stuck in traffic on the highway to Dallas for hours and hours with crying, puking cats in the car. Their suburb was supposed to get a bullseye strike from Rita but it shifted course at the last minute, so the evacuation just was a giant ball of stress to no good end.

They're all staying put for this one. Their county isn't under an evacuation order anyway. The eye is hitting further south around Corpus Christi I think, but they'll be on the "dirty" side of the storm, the one that gets stronger winds/storm surge and more rain due to the rotation. Their neighborhoods have always stayed dry in storms and are protected by levees, but this is probably the worst potential storm they've faced in the ~20 years they've lived there so who knows if that will hold true.

They're stocked up with food (and according to my dad "plenty of beer and wine") and batteries and schools are closed on Monday already. I suspect they'll be fine - they are all cautious and know not to drive through standing water etc. so hopefully everything will be ok. Probably end up without power for at least a few days - I heard on the Weather Channel that the storm's stalling out will not only mean tons of rain, but means winds will stay high for a few days making it hard for the electric company to get out there and make repairs right away. Ground will be so saturated that trees *will* get uprooted and take down power lines.

My BIL works at an HEB and he posted pictures of completely empty shelves last night. They worked overnight to restock and there was a line outside the door of people waiting to get in when they opened at 6am today. Sister lucked upon a gas station getting refilled by a tanker truck this morning so only had to wait 5 mins to get gas and didn't have to drive around to find a station that still had fuel.

I can't say I blame them for not wanting to evacuate (it's not like they're on the beach about to get a direct hit) so I just hope they all hunker down and ride it out safely.
posted by misskaz at 8:11 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


Their suburb was supposed to get a bullseye strike from Rita but it shifted course at the last minute, so the evacuation just was a giant ball of stress to no good end.

"Ball of stress to no good end" absolutely does not follow from "shifted course at the last minute."

The right perspective on that event is "random chance had it that the worst they dealt with was a day of stress and cat puke, rather than a return to a neighborhood utterly destroyed, followed by years of stress and cat puke."
posted by tclark at 8:17 AM on August 25 [11 favorites]


I was just explaining their perspective, not rationalizing it. More like a description of how human brains work than a "this is the correct way to think" statement. But thanks for the lecture!
posted by misskaz at 8:21 AM on August 25 [32 favorites]


As somebody already noted on Twitter, this is the first crisis that Donald Trump must face that was not already caused by Donald Trump.

Let's not jump to conclusions, we can't be sure of that yet.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:22 AM on August 25 [16 favorites]


So, is Brock Long any good? His resume contains other disaster-related jobs, but that could mean anything...
posted by Melismata at 8:24 AM on August 25


the days of stress and cat puke
laugh and run away
like a child at play ...

sorry .,.
posted by pyramid termite at 8:25 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


> As somebody already noted on Twitter, this is the first crisis that Donald Trump must face that was not already caused by Donald Trump.

That may be so, but he can always make it worse.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:26 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


[A few deleted.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:27 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


It's all ok, he has a rally in Missouri next week planned so he can tell us how well he handled it.
posted by rewil at 8:30 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Pish, there's no need for anyone to be running NOAA or DHS or FEMA for that matter. This hurricane's going to come ashore and do its thing just fine, no need for government bureaucrats to help it along.

I was 11 years old for Hurricane Alicia in Houston and from my memories it was awesome. Doing the hurricane tracker maps in the newspaper the days before. Buying supplies, including a special treat of letting me make fudge. The weird light and stillness as the pressure dropped. And best of all the eye passed over us and I went outside. It was the creepiest thing ever.

Of course I had shreds of masking tape on my windows for years afterwards.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Trump on his plane, says only "hurricanes, natural disasters" would stop him from participating in Pres debates

In Trumpese this means he'll use the disaster as a platform to lash out at Hillary's memoir.

they are all cautious and know not to drive through standing water

My big flat land floods all the time and this is what kills people. "If it's flooded, forget it", is the local PSA. What looks like a puddle is actually tonnes of water. If you're thinking of trying to drive through it, forget it.
posted by adept256 at 8:41 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Austin is apparently far enough inland to avoid high winds and the heaviest rains. But what always concerns me most here is the inevitable spawning of tornados...
posted by jim in austin at 8:49 AM on August 25 [6 favorites]


I just moved my nephew in to Texas A&M in College Station last weekend. Classes were supposed to start on Monday, but apparently they are tentative depending on the amount of rain. I have urged him to come up to Dallas this weekend in case the storm bears down on central Texas. Hopefully, he will come up here tonight.
posted by Benway at 8:59 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


From his bio Brock Long might be the only member of the cabinet who's actually qualified for his job! I hope so for the sake of the people in the path of this hurricane.
posted by monotreme at 9:05 AM on August 25 [6 favorites]


Methinks that someone at Wunderground's Category 6 received that suitcase we were all talking about yesterday.
Picture is dated like this:
August 25, 2017, 2:34 PM
posted by sundrop at 9:08 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Levees don't protect from rain or rivers. A Lot of rain in Buffalo Bayou could surge into tanks. There's enough oil in Houston to push a BP-level event into a confined space, Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay.

Most industrial sites are allowed to get away with stormwater treatment for a 10% or 4% rain. Another case were "businesses" can have much lower standards than residents, who have to have flood insurance for the 1% event.

Because of the overheated Hot Gulf pushing water into the air, this rain will be more unlikely than the 1% level--that means a lot more water than the industrial facilities can handle, and more water than people are insured for. A Deluge.

And then there's a potential for river flooding from all the bayous into a surge-elevated Galveston Bay. The Mississippi River met Katrina in Plaquemines and the water went even higher.

in 2012, Isaac's surge into Lake Maurepas was timed just right--the storm surge had just started to leave the river before the rain surge came down--if the two surges had collided that would have pushed high-velocity waters even higher.

If you have people in Galena Park or Pasadena, I would talk to them about evacuating. If an oil storage tank goes off its base, the oil can spread for 3 miles. This was Murphy Oil in Katrina, Stolthaven in Isaac.

Support groups like T.E.J.A.S., Air Alliance Houston, Galveston Bay Foundation that know and publicize what hazards exist in their areas--the government knows about these but generally won't tell the public in mass media.
posted by eustatic at 9:24 AM on August 25 [13 favorites]


From his bio Brock Long might be the only member of the cabinet who's actually qualified for his job!

I got him confused with Brock Turner for a minute, which, considering the current administration, wouldn't surprise me all that much.
posted by AFABulous at 9:27 AM on August 25 [14 favorites]


From his bio Brock Long might be the only member of the cabinet who's actually qualified for his job!

Just look at the bank-up job he did as FEMA's Hurricane Program Manager when Katrina came through. Shortly after which he moved on for some reason.
posted by Bringer Tom at 9:45 AM on August 25 [6 favorites]


This 2016 story from ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, Hell and High Water, is pretty amazing. And terrifying.
posted by pantarei70 at 9:45 AM on August 25 [6 favorites]


Anyone have any links for the best overall coverage of Harvey?
posted by robbyrobs at 9:56 AM on August 25


Spacecityweather.com is a good Houston-centric source for easy-to-understand hurricane info.
posted by mcdoublewide at 10:00 AM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Hurricane Georges was a category 4 when it hit us in South Alabama and hovered for days. Rivers rose such that houses on 10 foot stilts had a foot of water or more in their living rooms. Volunteering to do cleanup was sobering. Texas, cowboy up, this could be a doozy.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:10 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to some biblical rain here in Houston this weekend, but I'm crossing my fingers there won't be extended power outages. I'm not really worried about flooding for my particular area, so at this point it's a matter of sitting tight and waiting to see what will happen to the classes I'm supposed to teach next week. I have a feeling the first week of the semester may end up being a total loss.

Stay safe and stay off the roads once the fun stuff starts, everyone.
posted by Salieri at 10:48 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


It's all ok, he has a rally in Missouri next week planned so he can tell us how well he handled it.

Springfield, MO, where my daughter is attending college. She is already planning to join whatever protest evolves from his visit.

#ProudPapa
posted by COD at 11:00 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]




I'm in Austin, I figure we'll get rained on pretty hard.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:27 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Well, I might be wimping out, but when my college and my wife's school cancelled Friday and Monday activities we decided to take our long weekend in north Texas with family. Our neighborhood in the SW Houston suburbs will definitely have impassable roads, and I didn't relish the idea of being stuck there if the worst predictions occur and Harvey makes landfall, heads back to the Gulf, restrengthens, and then heads into Houston.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:54 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


For some reason this storm seems to be combining the worst of tropical storms (heavy, heavy rains) and the worst of hurricanes (damaging winds). Areas on the Texas coast are pretty flat and can handle surprisingly heavy rains with few problems (not 25" or 30" though) but this storm seems to be reaching strangely far inland with both very bad winds and heavy rains. This looks like it may cause a lot of damage far from the coast.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:54 AM on August 25


There are two huge reservoirs on the west side of Houston contained by 75 year old earthen dams. If they fail, a lot of the most expensive neighborhoods in Houston (which means the most expensive in the US) and downtown are going to get a wall of water down Buffalo Bayou.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:08 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


It has been upgraded to a major hurricane and is at 120 mph, 943 mm Hg.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:17 PM on August 25


If they fail, a lot of the most expensive neighborhoods in Houston (which means the most expensive in the US)

The idea that the most expensive real estate in the US would be in Texas is laughable on its face. Here are the 25 most expensive houses for sale right now, and the 25 most expensive zip codes. Houston would have a hard time making the top 100.
posted by toxic at 12:19 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


943 mm Hg

That does not sound right; that's a much higher pressure than normal as opposed to a lowering. 943 mbar, maybe?
posted by Four Ds at 12:20 PM on August 25


Too use to writing about blood pressures (which I'm doing now for the upcoming M.D. exam).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:23 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]




Oh, fuck you, Trump. Good luck? Good luck?!?
posted by sciatrix at 12:31 PM on August 25 [12 favorites]


gl hf dd
posted by theodolite at 12:38 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


Eric Berger (previously with the Houston Chronicle) is covering the storm, and he's doing so without any of the media's typical rating's driven hysteria. I highly recommend following him on twiiter.
posted by Beholder at 12:48 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


At one time, River Oaks and the Villages in Memorial were among the most expensive zip codes in the US. But, times change and real estate fluctuates.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:51 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Between the hoax emails going around and Greg Abbott making things worse, I hope people don't get riled up beyond buying out all the bread, water and gas from local stores.
posted by Salieri at 12:52 PM on August 25


A calm-before-the storm anecdote: I’m in East Texas and remember the nightmare that was the Rita evacuation very well. Coming as soon as it did after Katrina, folks were scared. A staggeringly large number of people fled north. The storm did substantial damage here, and a lot of people were without power for days on end. Nonetheless, folks pitched in to help in whatever capacity they could.

My first cousin once removed was the pastor of a small Methodist congregation, and the church opened up its campground to busloads of evacuees from Houston. What would normally be a three hour drive took upwards of 18 hours, and the people on the buses were exhausted and stressed to a point I have never before witnessed.

In the midst of this overwhelming misery, my teetotaler, fundamentalist mother grabbed a notebook and started taking…cigarette orders. To this day, when I think of disaster response, I picture that diminutive woman, a lifelong “tobacco-is-the-devil’s-weed” proselytizer, standing in the middle of a haggard, sweaty crowd and saying “OK, I’ve got 12 Salems, 8 Marlboro Lights, 9 Winstons, two Virginia Slims. Anybody else?”

So all you inland Texans: Hunker down and prepare for the rain, but get ready for waves of people from the coast. This thing could go on for days, and it’s hard to tell who’s going to get the worst.
posted by mcdoublewide at 12:57 PM on August 25 [35 favorites]


My grandmother's name was Hazel, and she had a real oversized, boisterous personality. When Hurricane Hazel came along in the 1950s, she had a ready-made nickname.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:58 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Did Trump really just pull a "I just want to say good luck, we're all counting on you" on Texas?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:13 PM on August 25 [11 favorites]


Looks like this'll be one for the record books. The radio was saying that the speed of the strengthening over the last day has been the fastest ever recorded, anyone know if that's true?

This is going to suck for whoever gets hit, but if it has to hit the Gulf Coast I'm glad it is hitting us here. Texas is a pretty rich state, and I know in Houston we put a lot of effort into increasing flood water runoff speed after Ike. At least New Orleans is getting a break.

Personally I think my household should be fine unless the roof comes off or we take a random tornado in the face, in which case I'd like my last Metafilter sentence to be:

Metafilter: A calm-before-the storm anecdote.
posted by BeeDo at 1:18 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


rain in Austin
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:21 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


The northern Gulf of Mexico typically has very warm water by this time of year, so quick strengthening is not unheard of. I hope it slows down before it hits, like they sometimes do, though.
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:25 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


GOES16 Visible Satellite view of Harvey. This is updated constantly, with the last frame usually about four minutes in the past. Please remember that this is a visible view, so it will become less than useful once the sun sets. (The infrared view isn't loading for me, but the control panel's on the left side, so try again later, I guess?)
posted by suckerpunch at 1:32 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Greg Abbott making things worse

Holy shit. If anyone tries to leave (on his advice, when the local officials said not to), and is killed in traffic, they should impeach that motherfucker.

(yeah, don't I wish)
posted by notsnot at 1:37 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Eric Berger (previously with the Houston Chronicle) is covering the storm, and he's doing so without any of the media's typical rating's driven hysteria. I highly recommend following him on twiiter.

And he just updated his twitter feed with some very ominous comments about Houston flooding.
posted by Beholder at 1:40 PM on August 25


Hey Texas, if you're a pet owner, remember to look out for your pets. Many went missing during Katrina and Sandy. Be safe and good luck!
posted by cazoo at 1:50 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


This is gonna be an interesting few days.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:50 PM on August 25


NHC's 4PM report is out. 941mb, 110kt winds.
posted by suckerpunch at 2:01 PM on August 25


Was planning to ride it out with not enough water or canned goods; I'm now at Hobby Airport waiting on my delayed flight to Dallas. Not convinced I'm getting out of here until we take off .
posted by Ranucci at 2:07 PM on August 25 [6 favorites]


Holy shit. If anyone tries to leave (on his advice, when the local officials said not to), and is killed in traffic, they should impeach that motherfucker.

oh my gosh, I had no idea that 23 people died in a bus accident trying to evacuate for Rita.
posted by lalex at 2:15 PM on August 25


man, I am not a religious person, but I for real just lit a candle. Thinking about all of you in Texas.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:24 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


Be safe, Texas Mefites.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:26 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


Hurricane Harvey check-in post in MetaTalk, for keeping up with your fellow MeFites.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:28 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


One of the things I learned from Rita is that you should keep a paper map in your car. A big map gives you information you can't see as well on your phone or a GPS. Like how far does a road go in my direction or can I cut over a few miles and have more options. People who traveled away from Houston on smaller roads found little traffic and open gas stations. I stayed at home for Rita but wished I hadn't for Ike.
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:37 PM on August 25 [17 favorites]


Yes, the Rita evacuation was an absolute mess. Multiple families left in 2 vehicles, some families left in 3 separate vehicles in Rita, others had "car trains" of whole families each with their own car and items---all of this led the huge traffic jam, which led to vehicles pushed beyond limits in some cases. The bus fire was related to poor maintenance and stretched limits as I recall. Texas Tribune did a nice review

Other Lessons learned:
1. Leave early or don't leave at all or leave at the absolute last minute or leave afterwards. Leaving when advised just leads to 18 hrs stuck in traffic.
2. More money, less stuff. Evacuate lightly-important papers, diapers if needed, water and more water. Food for a day, clothes for a few days. There are probably stores and/or laundry facilities wherever you land.
3. Have small bills on hand. You don't want to spend 20USD buying a bag of chips from the extortionist car next to you or from the "supply and demand" shopkeeper because no one has change.
4. If possible, travel with a spare gas can safely filled and stored.
5. As possible, bring a trash bag/deodorizer and please don't litter. Road crews picked up dirty diapers and other trash for days.
6. Added on preview-Bee'swing is correct, bring a paper map. And rain boots and jackets.
posted by beaning at 2:43 PM on August 25 [13 favorites]


I would add:
7. a bunch of dimes and quarters for pay phones. In my CERT class we learned that those come online first if there's a major phone outage. Residential and commercial landlines are last. Mobile/internet is anybody's guess.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:47 PM on August 25 [6 favorites]


Oh, and:
8. printouts of important contact info... don't count on having access to online stuff.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:49 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


One more and then I swear I'll stop:
9. have out-of-state contacts and let them know you might use them as communication bounce points. Another gem from CERT education: long distance phone calls are considerably more likely to work than local ones due to system overload as well as emergency management priorities for bringing phone lines back up.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:52 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


There are still pay phones out there?
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:03 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Not a lot but they do still exist.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:19 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Seeing that Harvey is now a Category 4. Stay safe Texans.
posted by lalex at 4:03 PM on August 25


oops, sorry, here's the NOAA link
posted by lalex at 4:04 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]




maps

of offshore infrastructure [BOEM]

on onshore, low-lying contamination sources [EPA, Climate Central]
posted by eustatic at 4:10 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Jesus. Category 4. At least the Whooping Cranes are mostly still up north. Port Aransas is right in the bullseye of the NE quadrant. One of Texas' nuclear power plants too.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:29 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Still says category 3?
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:33 PM on August 25


Annika Cicada: They haven't updated their graphic pop-up yet, but the official forecast lalex linked to describes it:
000
WTNT64 KNHC 252259
TCUAT4

Hurricane Harvey Tropical Cyclone Update
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL092017
600 PM CDT Fri Aug 25 2017

...6 PM CDT POSITION AND INTENSITY UPDATE...
...HARVEY BECOMES A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE...
...SUSTAINED HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS SPREADING ONTO THE MIDDLE TEXAS
COAST...

Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance aircraft data indicate that Harvey
has become a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of
130 mph (215 km/h).

[etc.]
posted by barchan at 4:48 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


thanks!
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:58 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I randomly picked up a book in a house we stayed at years ago, and it turned out to be Erik Larson (who also wrote Lusitania, and Devil in the White City, among other great books you should read) 's Isaac's Storm, the story of the meteorological event that literally erased the wood-constructed Galveston from the map in 1900, killing an estimated 8000 people.

Hoping Harvey is not as bad.
posted by Dashy at 5:07 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Re: Pay phones.. fair warning, the last two times I have needed to use a pay phone (no cell signal), in both cases the booth was home to a yellow jacket nest (one was in the coin return!) Be careful. :(
posted by xedrik at 5:19 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Obligatory Earth wind and current map (this site just keeps getting better and better).
posted by carter at 5:36 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Local Corpus Christi tv station KRISTV currently has a live stream.
posted by carter at 5:39 PM on August 25


STP nuclear plant prepared to weather storm
In the event the storm’s winds breach the 73 mile-per-hour barrier, Eller says their internal procedures dictate that the safety team, consisting of essential personnel only, would shut down both reactors completely.

“The only reason we’d consider powering them back up, even partially, would be if asked to do so by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Eller said. “With any hurricane, there are likely to be power transmission issues in getting it where it needs to go, so before we turned anything back on.”

The plant site is located 10 miles inland and at an elevation of 29 feet, well above the reach of even a Category 5 storm surge. The plant was designed with watertight buildings and doors to keep emergency electric power and cooling systems fully functional. All buildings housing safety equipment are flood-proof to an elevation of at least 41 feet above mean sea level.
posted by MrVisible at 5:47 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


monotreme: I believe that Congress changed the law about FEMA director appointments after Brownie and Katrina. The director must have previous experience in emergency management now.
posted by raysmj at 5:52 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Well they certainly found a guy who can do a helluva job.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:19 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]




Yeah it's live. He's in his car in a car wash in rockport. 138mph winds.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:28 PM on August 25


That chaser's video looks fascinating but I get like 1 second of feed alternating with 7 seconds of buffering, over and over. It's somethingdotted.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:28 PM on August 25


I'm smooth on ipad/pc. Stream of stupid comments though.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:30 PM on August 25


According to this article (abc.com), seven counties so far are being completely evacuated, and evacuation in four is mandatory. Even so, there will be holdouts:
Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Rockport, Texas, where Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios told reporters Friday, “We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark there[sic] arm with a sharpie pen with their name and social security number.”

“It’s not something we like to do but it’s the reality; people don’t listen," Rios added.
posted by tully_monster at 6:34 PM on August 25


Typical new version video player, it "smartly" figures out my streaming resolution and doesn't give me the option to manually make it lower so I can watch the goddamn stream when it keeps buffering. Yeah it's clear as a bell for 5-7 seconds at a time, then it drops to rescync. Over and over and over again. Would love to watch it but they made it impossible for me, yay technology.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:39 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


33k people watching that stream. People are switching from TWC's streams to this guy.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:41 PM on August 25


Yeah it's live. He's in his car in a car wash in rockport. 138mph winds.

Two sides of me are watching the video.

The side that's all 'omg be careful, horrified at what it means for people and holee shit I want to hide under my bed'

And the side that's 'omg how do I get his job. I so want to be there. Weather, it's amazing'
posted by Jalliah at 6:41 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]



Why is he outside!!!!
posted by Jalliah at 6:43 PM on August 25


The roof is coming off of the building he is in.

Also he should probably get back in the car
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:44 PM on August 25


This is a fascinating thing. 43k people watching this livestream. I don't know of a situation where we watched a disaster unfold like this.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:48 PM on August 25


This guy is insane. "Something horrible just happened. Let me go outside!"
posted by Salieri at 6:50 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


"Let me go outside, something horrible just happened"
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:50 PM on August 25


"Something horrible just happened, lemme go outside"

Roof collapsed on something outside. He really should get back in the car.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:50 PM on August 25


Well one thing about the streaming fail is that I won't get to see this guy die.

Probably someone will.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:51 PM on August 25


I agree with the stream comments, Big Ballz indeed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:55 PM on August 25


Seems I can keep the audio if I keep the video continuous in a hidden tab, and it doesn't buffer. Great.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:56 PM on August 25


how is he able to still internet, seriously.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:57 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


cellphone towers everywhere in our modern era. Most with multi-day battery backups.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:58 PM on August 25


Rated for Cat 4 winds though? I'm impressed.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:00 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I would pay him $1000 dollars right now to say, while pointing at the eye or his building, "Anyway, here's Wonderwall."
posted by barchan at 7:01 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


They don't depend on wired infrastructure, so yes, it's an impressive wireless web. But it will all fall down a few days after the storm passes when the batteries drain.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:02 PM on August 25


Man, if Stormchaser Jeff doesn't have a heart attack I'm going to have one for him. I could record this and use it instead of coffee.
posted by loquacious at 7:02 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]




His ears are killing him. My mom who had the eye wall of Frederic pass over her said the same thing. He may get a break in the weather soon if he finds the eye. Insane he's still streaming
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:03 PM on August 25


He just told someone he loves them over the phone...
posted by sagc at 7:04 PM on August 25


And verified, I don't know what the mechanism is, but his video pulses and buffers and pulses and buffers but if I put his vid in another tab and just listen with a different tab open, the audio is continuous and clear. That might be of use to his next of kin when this is over.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:04 PM on August 25


Wait, he's in Rockport and isn't sure about the storm surge? He has a fancy way of detecting that besides someone calling him, right? Did I miss something?
posted by barchan at 7:04 PM on August 25


Oh God he's getting out of the car....
posted by FireFountain at 7:06 PM on August 25


Small tornado apparently touched down in Matagorda, no one injured though.
posted by emjaybee at 7:06 PM on August 25


It's too soon for a dot, but I got a dot ready.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:07 PM on August 25


I think this is the actual streaming location.
posted by sagc at 7:08 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


I just want to say that the part of me that's was all 'OMG how do I get his job' has jumped under the covers with the 'holee shit this is horrible' side.
posted by Jalliah at 7:08 PM on August 25


I had to turn off Livestream can't watch a man die
posted by emjaybee at 7:08 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Best comment yet in the incoming phone calls blowing up his cell :'student loan people'
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:09 PM on August 25


This is not going to end well.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:09 PM on August 25


I think this is the actual streaming location.


Yah. Mine's wrong. Yours has the invincible blue building in it.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:10 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


He brought other people with him. Just saying.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:11 PM on August 25


I spent 3 hours sitting in a car wash doing the same thing while the eye of hurricane Charlie passed 3 miles to my south. It's an adrenaline rush standing in those winds but all it takes is one loose 2x4 and you're dead.

It's all fun and games tonight but waking up to the utter devastation at day light tomorrow is going to be soul crushing. He's going to see things he's going to wish he'd never seen. I worry he may stumble into a situation live that could be terrible for other people to see. This isn't a Bruckheimer movie, it's the real thing and it's going to be awful.

Everyone in TX please be safe and stay indoors. There's going to be downed power lines everywhere by morning. Be smart and stay put if you didn't evacuate. Godspeed.
posted by photoslob at 7:12 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Seriously, that little blue building is amazing. Is it made of vibranium?
posted by Salieri at 7:12 PM on August 25


The stream said it was adamantine.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:14 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]





One of the dudes has a life jacket on.
posted by Jalliah at 7:16 PM on August 25


Not terribly funny, lord_pall.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:17 PM on August 25


"It's all fun and games tonight but waking up to the utter devastation at day light tomorrow is going to be soul crushing. He's going to see things he's going to wish he'd never seen."

His website says he's a storm chaser with 35 years experience, and it's his full-time job: "documenting and filming well over 900 tornadoes, 24 Hurricanes, ice storms, wild fires and every extreme of mother nature. Jeff’s company, Storm Productions, holds the world’s largest private collection of historic weather events and survivors stories. In 1994 Jeff received an Emmy award for "Day of Tornadoes" for his coverage of the Gainesville TX F2 tornado."

It's terrifying and this stream is bananas, but I think he's probably savvy to the risks and has seen more of the aftermath than anyone else ever has.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:18 PM on August 25 [7 favorites]


Just read most of the thread in one sitting in Austin. Even though it rained hard here this afternoon, it's been pretty calm since. It's a little windy but not raining. Cooler and a bit humid. I think our part of the weather is later tonight or in the morning.
posted by jclarkin at 7:20 PM on August 25


Yeah, if he survives this he's going to consider it the peak experience of his entire life.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:20 PM on August 25


Not terribly funny, lord_pall.


It's an immensely complicated task, and this storm system is so bizarre that a lot of the existing models simply don't work. Not meaning to make light of this kind of disaster, just thought it was a darkly funny perspective on the challenges in trying to calculate the incalculable.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:23 PM on August 25 [13 favorites]


Of everyone's not there, the loveseat by Jeff is the place to be. If he survives.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:23 PM on August 25


A generation of gamers demands to know who your iSP is Jeff.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:23 PM on August 25 [7 favorites]


Yeah, if he survives this he's going to consider it the peak experience of his entire life.


I'm slightly concerned that it's going to end up like the guy who photographed mount saint helens erupting.

Isn't there going to be a storm surge too? When does that show up in relation to the eye?
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:24 PM on August 25


Who the hell keeps calling Jeff in the middle of this??
posted by XtinaS at 7:25 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


It's an immensely complicated task, and this storm system is so bizarre that a lot of the existing models simply don't work. Not meaning to make light of this kind of disaster, just thought it was a darkly funny perspective on the challenges in trying to calculate the incalculable.

Not to mention, the guy you linked to is one of the guys behind SpaceCityWeather. His city is in for it an he knows it. A little gallows sarcasm is to be expected.
posted by stevis23 at 7:26 PM on August 25 [7 favorites]


Someone said it was a telemarketer earlier.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:26 PM on August 25


Already told you, student loan people.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:26 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Watching local Fox News Steve Harrigan in a rain slicker leaning into the rain and wind in Corpus Christi. We love to make weather reporters suffer.
posted by emjaybee at 7:27 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I really hope he gets out of there in one piece, but he's apparently doing what he loves if he doesn't.

Now I know what people mean who don't like earthquakes mean when they say "The ground isn't supposed to do that" because the air should definitely not being doing that and fuck everything about all of that in particular.
posted by loquacious at 7:27 PM on August 25 [7 favorites]


To be fair this guy has had a career doing this and it isn't an "accident" that he's at ground zero. Most of the people in the shadow of Mt St Helens didn't realize what was about to happen. Nobody on the Gulf Coast as an excuse.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:27 PM on August 25


Is he driving??
posted by soakimbo at 7:28 PM on August 25


Metafilter: Fuck everything about all of that in particular.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:28 PM on August 25 [13 favorites]


Is he driving??

Nope. Blue Beetle is still there.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:29 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Someone suggested weather bureaus...maybe it's media types trying to get a quote or something.
posted by tully_monster at 7:29 PM on August 25


Right after Andrew blew threw, and to be fair, the winds had died down, I got a call from a loan service.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:30 PM on August 25


Well, that's something.
posted by soakimbo at 7:30 PM on August 25


Jeff's gonna need to change his ringtone.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:31 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Obligatory Earth wind and current map (this site just keeps getting better and better).

I've been getting "ERROR.captureStackTrace is not a function" on that site in Firefox. Anyone have a workaround?
posted by notsnot at 7:31 PM on August 25


It's terrifying and this stream is bananas, but I think he's probably savvy to the risks and has seen more of the aftermath than anyone else ever has.

Except he's standing outside his car while the metal roof of the building he's in is being torn off. When the roof comes off the brick walls will collapse. He's in over his head and still making poor decisions.
posted by photoslob at 7:32 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


THE ROOF JUST FELL

THE BUILDING COLLAPSED AROUND HIM

JEFF, GO HOME
posted by XtinaS at 7:34 PM on August 25


Roof gone. Shit real level increasing.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:34 PM on August 25


Building collapsed. He's still in the car at least.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:34 PM on August 25


Ugh. The location of the eye hasn't really moved much since 8:50 CT. This is some rough shit.

Won't the worst part come when the winds switch direction, and everything pushed one way gets pulled the other?

And the building's collapsing...
posted by suckerpunch at 7:35 PM on August 25


The bue bastion stands.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:35 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


And now he's outside again.

He better be wearing a helmet.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:35 PM on August 25


Who the hell keeps calling Jeff in the middle of this??

Stream chat has just suggested that his phone number was found somewhere and it's been, well, internetted. So everyone from media to 4chan is apparently calling him, possibly. His phone wasn't exploding before.

And he's possibly the kind of person that doesn't normally silence his phone or not answer it, or maybe that particular line or phone. It seems to be distracting him like crazy and frustrating him.

I'm hoping it's not his only phone because it's probably going to make his phone useless.

There's also some modern dark comedy of getting a telemarketer call in the middle of a hurricane eyewall.
posted by loquacious at 7:35 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]



WTF. He getting out of the car now?
posted by Jalliah at 7:35 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Ugh he's not in the car jeezus christ
posted by soakimbo at 7:35 PM on August 25


He just left the car.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:35 PM on August 25


uh, so, what are his options now?
posted by lalex at 7:36 PM on August 25


Infrared view of Harvey, about 44 minutes. Jeff needs that eye to just move a little more in his direction...
posted by suckerpunch at 7:36 PM on August 25


I think Jeff is out of time for the hurricane to do anything different.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:37 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Who made this blue shed?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:37 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


uh, so, what are his options now?

Hope the eye gets there.

GET BACK IN THE DAMN CAR
posted by Jalliah at 7:37 PM on August 25


Blue building gone. Never forget.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:37 PM on August 25


Storm stalled
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:39 PM on August 25


Did anyone else just lose the stream?

Is he still alive?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:39 PM on August 25


Feed is gone. So many bad decisions. I hope he makes it out alive.
posted by photoslob at 7:39 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


My feed is down.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:39 PM on August 25


Oh, God.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:40 PM on August 25


Lost the stream. Praying ...
posted by soakimbo at 7:40 PM on August 25



Stream is gone for me too.
posted by Jalliah at 7:40 PM on August 25


It just came back for me - he seems okay for now.
posted by FireFountain at 7:41 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


The stream dropped for me.
posted by carter at 7:41 PM on August 25


He's back in the car.
posted by tully_monster at 7:41 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Feed is back. Blue building still there.

Why is it light out?

Edit.... wait, that's a previous clip. No feed.
posted by MrVisible at 7:41 PM on August 25


Feed is back. Blue building still there.

Why is it light out?


You restarted the feed from the beginning.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:41 PM on August 25


Feed is gone. Considering what I heard last, I am not optimistic that he will emerge from this. He was in the middle of a literal whirlwind of violent events. He probably realized the car was a bad place to be, and was looking for something better, but absent a multi-story steel and concrete building in sprinting distance he was pretty well screwed.

.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:42 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Whoops, no, they're replaying it. Damn.
posted by tully_monster at 7:42 PM on August 25


Jeezus folks.......
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:42 PM on August 25


Oh shoot, okay. Thanks for clarifying Lord_Pall.
posted by FireFountain at 7:42 PM on August 25


I hope he's okay. D:
posted by XtinaS at 7:42 PM on August 25


For a summary, Jeff has been inside his car in a car wash that has been falling apart piece by piece as the wind has been surging faster and faster. He has mentioned wind in the 140s. A lot of roofing has past in front of his car from other nearby buildings. He has said the concrete wall next to him has been shaking. He is trying to wait for the eye to get somewhere safer.
While writing this the roof above him collapsed, he got out of the car. The feed died.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:42 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


I had to turn off Livestream can't watch a man die

I feel like shit after every time I watch these things because I feel like I'm only encouraging this kind of behavior. I have such trouble stopping myself despite that.

There's half of me that finds it so fucking fascinating I can't turn it off, the half of me that goes WHEEE when there's turbulence on a plane (and understands gallows humor can be a good thing). And the half of me that's a scientist and is relentlessly objective just drones on and on making observations and knows this kind of video can be useful to help scientists understand how such a storm works and help improve all kinds of things - evacuation, prediction, buildings*. And I wonder if videos like this, as much as they may encourage a small subset of people to do stupid shit, may encourage more of the larger population to evacuate if told to.

But ALL of me does not want to watch this guy die when a piece of sheet metal slices into him at 120 mph, especially now that all that debris is out there, and honestly that part is starting to win. He may have a lot of experience, but unfortunately, and I stress I don't know if that's true in this case or not, sometimes a lot of experience had a tendency to lead to hubris. I'm starting to feel some real anxiety here. And his poor wife!

But geez I lost the stream just now, and really hoping it's the cell tower, not him.

*Apparently everything should be made like that indestructible blue shed.
posted by barchan at 7:43 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]



At this point I'm glad that I had turned the sound off and was in another tab went it went down because ugh.
posted by Jalliah at 7:43 PM on August 25


I just don't pray, but I am praying now. For this dude and all the other people facing down this storm.
posted by lauranesson at 7:44 PM on August 25


He had mentioned a few minutes earlier that his phone's battery was almost dead, so he would need to leave it plugged in when he exited the car. If he took the phone out with him it's possible the battery ran out.
posted by Emily's Fist at 7:45 PM on August 25


I am not sure the roof collapsed. He had said so, but then got out of the car to show the car wash office area had been blown to smithereens. He pointed the camera upward quickly and I am pretty sure I saw his roof was still intact. Unless someone can confirm seeing his roof actually collapsed and I missed it as the feed cut out.
posted by scrowdid at 7:45 PM on August 25


He's a professional storm chaser. I don't want to diminish the tragedy if he's hurt or dies, but he chose to do whatever it is storm chasers do.

I feel like it's different than some yahoo streaming it out because they're a yahoo. I don't know why, maybe it's the career aspect? Or the scientific background?
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:45 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


The 35 years experience doing this in the field? agreed, it's different
posted by scrowdid at 7:47 PM on August 25


well, i hope he's ok where he is, because i think he pretty much ran out of options an hour ago - that was insane and i don't want anything to do with a hurricane ever
posted by pyramid termite at 7:49 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Another livestream from Rockport - Facebook, not Periscope.
posted by suckerpunch at 7:49 PM on August 25




He's fine, so far:

JustonStrmRider:
Hearing Jeff's stream is down, so letting everyone know we are okay. Building where we are out holding on.
posted by XtinaS at 7:49 PM on August 25 [14 favorites]


Professional storm chasers, like professional mountain climbers, are not immune to making fatally bad decisions. I hope he hasn't, though.
posted by emjaybee at 7:49 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Just rewatched the end, seems not to match what we saw live, ended with him getting ino the car. Odd.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:50 PM on August 25


The carwash probably seemed to be the safest bet, with its cinder block walls, especially if most of the buildings around were wood/standard construction. With the carwash coming apart he really didn't have a plan B, there wasn't a hotel-casino nearby with a multilevel concrete-steel parking garage. I would like to think otherwise but I am a practical person. I think I just heard the guy's death scream. I will probably hear it a lot in my mind in the future. I will be both grateful and astonished to learn otherwise. But this is a harsh and unforgiving world, and he lived his whole life on the edge. I am sure that if he is dead he is regaling the other folks in Valhalla with his daring deeds before other storms, and those other warriors are being properly impressed.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:50 PM on August 25


He's fine, so far:

JustonStrmRider:
Hearing Jeff's stream is down, so letting everyone know we are okay. Building where we are out holding on.



Phew
posted by Jalliah at 7:51 PM on August 25


Let's please not write premature obituaries every time the feed cuts out. Give it a few hours (or a day) before eulogizing the man...
posted by Emily's Fist at 7:51 PM on August 25 [18 favorites]


Reddit live thread says tornado touched down in Angleton, and this goddamn hurricane doesn't appear to be moving.

Fuck.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:52 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Bringer Tom, it's chill. My dumb prayer had no effect and the guy is okay.
posted by lauranesson at 7:52 PM on August 25


Let's please not write premature obituaries

Point taken, but honestly when I'm listening to a voice cast and I know the caster is in danger and the last thing I hear is literally a scream before the feed cuts out, you can't blame me for making an assumption.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:55 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Phew. I am so glad to be wrong.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:55 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]





Someone on twitter who seems to be in contact (he's another meteorologist) said that they are in the eye and re-orienting to find a safer place.
posted by Jalliah at 8:01 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]




New stream from Jeff!

Oh thank goodness they're (temporarily) okay.
posted by XtinaS at 8:02 PM on August 25


"Rotating wall of debris, rotating at about 140, 150 down the highway here..."

o_O
posted by XtinaS at 8:03 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


The blue shed is still intact. They should just go in there.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:03 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


He's in the eye. It's calm, the eye is moving incredibly slowly, and he has plenty of time to find a new place to hunker down.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:04 PM on August 25


I kept the faith.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:05 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


with the storm surge coming he really needs to get out of where he's at - hopefully he can find a way clear
posted by pyramid termite at 8:08 PM on August 25


Well heck, I'm getting off this emotional rollercoaster. Good luck Jeff.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:08 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


You can follow him on twitter and he posts when he starts a new stream if you are on the Jeff-o-coaster for the duration.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:13 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


Another chaser live feed. Facebook this time. I find the smiley face emojis blowing across the feed to be distasteful.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:14 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


The live feeds are pretty terrifying. The comments are appallingly stupid. I hope all those guys are okay.

As usual, this thread is full of info. The wind map is amazing. Metafilter's Katrina threads were much more informative than any other news access. I was kind of glued to it, appalled and horrified. Bush was a spectacularly bad president, and now, well, I have faith in the helpers, they're trained and prepared.
posted by theora55 at 8:15 PM on August 25 [5 favorites]


All I can think about are the animals who are trying to survive this storm. The loss of human life during disasters like this is always crushing, but all those pets, all those strays, my heart is just wrecked right now
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:15 PM on August 25 [14 favorites]


As usual, this thread is full of info.

You might like watching the hydrology, rainfall accumulation, and livecams of southern Houston's sub-basins
posted by barchan at 8:20 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]



Shit.

Rockport reporting multiple buildings collapsed with many people trapped inside. Squad car windows shattered.

News and reddit is saying that as of now emergency help cannot be dispatched.
posted by Jalliah at 8:21 PM on August 25


I had the same thought, but for the wild animals and the livestock that nobody has the ability or capacity to evacuate at all :(.

Speaking of evacuation, was there any update on the checkpoints and any other roadblocks to evacuation for undocumented folks? Everything is still terrible?
posted by mosst at 8:21 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


People evacuated the crap out of their livestock, believe me. Done it many times and there are great phone trees and help groups. Usually the first to go.
posted by fshgrl at 8:26 PM on August 25 [6 favorites]


yikes. @Matt Woolbright (Corpus Christie Caller): "Multiple reports are saying the high school in Rockport is just...gone #HurricaneHarvey"
posted by lalex at 8:29 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]




I've been watching this news station. They're all very subdued and not really knowing what to talk about because it's horrible. They showed some pictures of collapsed building which they were sent and which people may be in. Ugh. Why would they do that?

Oh and now they're saying oh wait, this is twitter and hasn't been confirmed so maybe we shouldnt be showing the the pictures.

Yah think?

And I think they said earlier that the storm may go over Rockport and then come back again?
posted by Jalliah at 8:34 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


When it's all said and done this system is gonna leave a lot of hurt behind for years to come.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:52 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


And I think they said earlier that the storm may go over Rockport and then come back again?

I'm not 100% on this, but from what I understand some of the storm system track predictions have it doing a loopity loo (if you look closely you can see them). However, part of the problem they're having with this storm is that they've got at least 3 prediction tracks that have emerged from the modeling and none of them are strong enough to really run with as the most probable. The SpaceCityWeather folks break down those different tracks here and their probability.

Ah, I found a better representation of that one possible looping track, here. I don't know what, of even if, there is an "official" storm track issued yet other than the "cone" area from NOAA. Hope that helps.
posted by barchan at 8:56 PM on August 25 [2 favorites]


Jeff's back :)
posted by soakimbo at 9:11 PM on August 25


They're off to shelter behind a Walmart.
posted by carter at 9:13 PM on August 25


Hmm. Jeff continues to make questionable decisions.
posted by fshgrl at 9:16 PM on August 25 [9 favorites]


If you are watching Jeff who is back online yet again, hitting "h" while watching periscope hides all the annoying chat and flying hearts.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:44 PM on August 25 [18 favorites]


Thank you. Its really annoying
posted by Jalliah at 9:57 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Good morning. The eye's now inland, moving north-northwest, and is collapsing. The storm's weakening - 975mb, 70kt winds. I guess the questions now are : where will Harvey move, and how much moisture will it continue to pull in from the Gulf?
posted by suckerpunch at 5:55 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


where will Harvey move, and how much moisture will it continue to pull in from the Gulf?

Nowhere, and metric fucktons, if the models are to be believe. None of the reliable models suggest movement of the center through day 5, and keep it at tropical storm strength (35 kt winds) just for extra fun. (Per the 5am EDT NHC discussion)
posted by stevis23 at 6:05 AM on August 26


Oh yeah, another question is that band of convection over Houston. Weak (but still destructive) tornadoes are likely. A good place to see all of the warnings as they appear is an NWS Twitter feed. (Note that tornado warnings aren't the same as actual tornadoes!)
posted by suckerpunch at 6:06 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


In case anyone was wondering after his feed cut out last night: "Just got confirmation from @TwisterChasers that @Jeff_Piotrowski is safe this morning".
posted by borsboom at 6:25 AM on August 26 [9 favorites]


Jeff just posted a short update on current conditions and damage.
posted by carter at 7:29 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Lord_Pall, thank you sharing that livestream last night.
posted by barchan at 9:24 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]



Jeff and his media company, Live Storms Media have been driving around and filming all morning. It's rough to say the least. Very rough. They give a much better idea of the extent of the damage then what the MSN has access too.

The videos are available on their youtube channel. Here is one of several from Rockport. From there you can get access to the other ones.
posted by Jalliah at 10:05 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


Am I understanding this thread correctly that the current expectation is that Harvey's just going to sit around for days pulling water out of the Gulf and dumping it on land?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:18 AM on August 26


The center of the remains of the storm are heading towards Austin. We had rain overnight and today varying from very hard to light with moderate wind in SW Austin (where I am). Currently it's raining but fairly lightly.

I'm not in the worst flood prone area so I don't know how bad that is in other places. I don't see many road closures in Austin which is a little surprising as there are roads over creeks that get closed often.
posted by jclarkin at 10:18 AM on August 26


Am I understanding this thread correctly that the current expectation is that Harvey's just going to sit around for days pulling water out of the Gulf and dumping it on land?

Pretty much, yeah.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:23 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]



For those that watched the insane livestream last night, it has been confirmed that the blue shed has survived. It's becoming sort of a symbol. Check out #blueshed on Twitter.
Here's a video from this morning showing where Jeff P was and the blue shed.
posted by Jalliah at 10:30 AM on August 26 [7 favorites]


That blue shed!

Thanks Jalliah. Glad to hear that guy say Rockport was a ghost town, pretty empty except for some police. As heart wrenching as the devastation is, it's nothing compared to people's lives. Although those watching news like this who did evacuate must be just sickened this morning. And it's just as beginning. . . please be careful, MeFites, and here's to you getting through this with minimal damage to your homes as well.

Also from a purely observational POV, this video with the curtains sucked through the sides of the window, outside the window itself . . . wow. That's an. . . . interesting pressure differential. Don't think I've ever seen anything quite like that before.
posted by barchan at 10:51 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


Wow, a lot of the wind damage is worse than the damage from the tornado that struck Tulsa a couple of weeks back. Usually surge wipes out the evidence of that sort of wind. I strongly suspect there are some areas with major surge damage, but the quick (and relatively late) strengthening may have kept it from being as bad as in some past storms. Still gonna be a lot of freshwater flooding, though. :(
posted by wierdo at 11:07 AM on August 26


If you read the comments on the storm videos many of them are asking if they been through such and such a place because they have family or friends there that stayed and they haven't been able to contact them. Twitter comments are the same.

So far no deaths reported in Rockport but according to a report from a couple of hours ago from the Mayor of Port Aransas he was told that there were deaths but he didn't know from where. It looks like since then he's said no deaths in Port Aransas. As of that time search and rescue operations had been started there and the mayor said that according to the Police Chief the local trailer park was 100% loss and they were starting SAR there. Search and rescue and damage assessment teams were trying to make their way into town. They know people stayed but have no idea how many.

There is no power and cell service is sketchy to non-existence so I expect it is going to be some time before we know for sure if the people that stayed are all okay.
posted by Jalliah at 11:07 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]



There are now some MSM reports of 8 deaths. According to the local news I've been watching they thought that maybe this many died but nobody could confirm. It appears to be very confused right now and those MSM reports may be premature.
posted by Jalliah at 11:11 AM on August 26


I'm from Corpus; a lot of my high school friends are from Rockport and still live there. While there are a lot of homes damaged, everyone I'm hearing from is OK and their families are OK. (A lot of them decided to stay. All of MY family, except one, on the other hand, evacuated.)

There is a mobile home park in Port Aransas that was obliterated. My understanding is that search and rescue is focused on that park right now. I'm hearing that from people who stayed, but the information is being relayed through fairly long chains, because Port Aransas/Aransas Pass/Rockport/Fulton is generally (a) without power and (b) without communications (except for those weather guys already there who have sat phones and the like).

Anyway, it all looks pretty bad for that stretch of the coast. Corpus, being on the southern side of the storm, was largely spared - some debris, signs down, things like that - but they're without power and still getting lots of rain.

From a weather perspective, there appear to have been some very interesting effects in Rockport - some of the images I'm seeing look like tornado images, where one home is obliterated, but an adjacent trailer is fine. I've seen some chatter about mesovortices in the eye wall that function a lot like tornados, which is super cool, from a science perspective, and also completely terrifying and heartbreaking, from the perspective of someone who has spent a lot of time in Rockport and has a lot of friends (and family) who live there (or snowbird down there).

Wind is picking up here in Austin, but we've got nothing compared to folks down on the coast.
posted by devinemissk at 11:25 AM on August 26 [6 favorites]


If you read the comments on the storm videos many of them are asking if they been through such and such a place because they have family or friends there that stayed and they haven't been able to contact them.

I admit I'm always hopeful it's just an "unable to contact" situation because so often it is. But yeah, that's not good.

As bad as the hurricane making landfall was, though, it's the flooding that I'm concerned about. Been watching the flood stage markers on the USGS streamflow map start to pop up like lights on a switchboard. And it's just beginning. Looking at the hydrographs, some of those streams went from 10 CFS to 4000 CFS in a few hours (like this one, log scale) and are still climbing. The Brazos and Trinity/San Jacinto basins are really getting hammered. But I've also seen a lot in Houston that have peaked and are falling. For now, at least. Here's hoping people are smart with the message the rain is there for awhile and don't take the downgrade to a tropical storm the wrong way.

And with all the rain, or the potential of rain, hitting that limestone in the hill country. . . I feel bad for the folks getting bad rain right now but I'm glad that the arm with the really heavy precip is not over the Edwards Plateau and such. Been watching Austin and San Antonio pretty carefully.

I see the NWS has issued both flash flood & tornado warnings (not watches) for about the same area slightly west of Katy (although the entirety of the areas for each warning are different). Here's to those folks right now.
posted by barchan at 11:49 AM on August 26 [5 favorites]


I just spent a year rebuilding after a storm destroyed the house. It's a nightmare to live in a disaster zone and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted. We're in north Texas, and the rain bands are supposed to be here soon. That's a big damn storm.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:28 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Well, my home is closely enough to the Brazos river that we are now under a voluntary evacuation notice. If the information I am seeing is correct, when the Brazos flooded last year, it set a record. We had't moved to the area yet, but neighbors told us that the water came partway up our drive, although not into the house. Projections are that this week's flood will break the record set last year, so we might finally get that indoor swimming pool we've been dreaming of. (As I mentioned upthread, we left Thursday, so we we're completely safe, just eager to see what the house looks like when we come back.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:47 PM on August 26 [5 favorites]


This is amazing. A hawk flew into a taxicab before the storm started and wouldn't leave, so the driver took him home. There are 8 additional videos as of this comment, and (spoiler) he's been turned over to a wildlife center . Paging rtha!
posted by AFABulous at 5:26 PM on August 26 [39 favorites]


Just came back here to post the adorable story of Harvey the Hurricane Hawk who got into a Houston man's taxi to escape the storm.
posted by emjaybee at 5:26 PM on August 26 [13 favorites]


Dammit AFABulous.
posted by emjaybee at 5:26 PM on August 26 [7 favorites]


Awwwwww, Harvey the hawk is adorable. Glad they got responsible rehab help as soon as possible.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:31 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


Also, Harvey is a Cooper's Hawk, COHA, not a red-tail RTHA.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:36 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Harvey was an amazingly good houseguest under the circumstances!
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:41 PM on August 26 [4 favorites]


Harvey! Juvenile Cooper's hawk, yes - yay for nice people and tolerant if confused wildlife!
posted by rtha at 6:48 PM on August 26 [5 favorites]


I'm sure the rehab people were like OH SHIT. Considering all the things that could have gone wrong, I like the part where the host is saying "You can just pick him up..." as the rehabbers are covering Harvey with a mat to restrain him. Harvey's hosts were actually pretty lucky, mixing not being too stupid about the bird with the bird being pretty tolerant. But it could have ended up in blood and feathers.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:01 PM on August 26 [5 favorites]


It's cute as hell but I am sure the rehabbers are not happy about the videos being out there. They should all be prefixed like one of the hydarulic press channel videos where they crush a lithium power pack or something, with a warning THIS IS EXTREMELY STUPID AND YOU SHOULD NEVER TRY THIS YOURSELF.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:06 PM on August 26


I'd be curious to see what our local raptor center would think of this, but Harvey seemed a lot calmer and quieter than I was expecting for a random wild hawk to be with no training, dealing with an untrained guy.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:15 PM on August 26


Well Harvey wasn't a random wild hawk, he was a juvenile hawk getting freaked out by weather conditions he had never seen and not knowing what to do. While usually the human would be the menace in his environment, in this case the human controlled the nice safe-seeming boxes that looked like a better place to be than out in the storm. Both Harvey and the YouTuber handled the whole thing pretty well, considering. YT guy was gentle and nonthreatening, offering not entirely stupidly chosen food and water, and Harvey put up with YT guy not really knowing how to handle him correctly with aplomb.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:34 PM on August 26 [14 favorites]


The Houston NWS issued an emergency flash flood notice to parts of the Houston area, which is only the second time they've ever done so (the first was the Memorial Day flood.) Apparently 3-4 inches have fallen over certain areas in just the last hour alone. Not good.
posted by barchan at 8:03 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Yes, we had four inches in the last hour. The bayous can handle two inches an hour. The water is high enough in front of our house now to flood into cars parked on the street. Water is surging out of the storm drain and bubbling out of the holes in the manhole cover, indicating that a nearby neighborhood took more rain than we did. I hope it drains away before the next storm band comes through tonight.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 8:30 PM on August 26 [4 favorites]


Space City Weather blog: "Among the extreme rainfall data we have already seen tonight is that 9.92 inches of rain fell within three hours over portions of Southeast Harris County, and 6.60 inches fell within a single hour along Clear Creek in Friendswood. According to the Harris County Flood Control District, both of these totals are 500-year flood events."

Wow.
posted by AFABulous at 10:43 PM on August 26


The flood maps say our home is in the 500-year flood zone; flood insurance is not required, but cheap, and provides some peace of mind, so we always get it.

What are the chances that a 500-year-flood event will flood a house that is in the 500-year-flood part of the map used for insurance purposes?
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 10:51 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


100% eventually.
posted by fshgrl at 11:00 PM on August 26 [4 favorites]


500-year weather events are now 50-year events. The inexorable march of Progress!
posted by phliar at 11:22 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


People are climbing into their attics now. This is horrifying.
posted by AFABulous at 11:47 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


Facebook group - a lot of people looking for rescue.
posted by AFABulous at 12:50 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I want to note as it hasn't been talked about that during Katrina which is my best comparison point, there was a huge loss of cellular towers, and the movement of people caused overload on working ones.

So, I'm not telling you not to call family or friends , but don't do so over and over, overloading already damaged towers if there is any signal all reduces the bandwidth of emergency calls going out as well.

It took a very long time for the cell towers to get up and running smoothly again.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:47 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


This is beyond catastrophic. Water is reaching the second stories of homes and apartments near Hobby airport. It's likely soon that even being on the roof of your (one-story) home won't be enough to stay out of the water--and more rain is coming. This could be unparalleled in American history. The nation's fourth largest city is drowning. Half of my Houston friends are reporting water in their homes. One young couple is in their attic with an axe, ready to break through to the roof.

I'm assuming my home will flood, but at least we got out. The feeling of helplessness as I watch the reports and check on my friends is...I don't have words for this.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:20 AM on August 27 [32 favorites]


KHOU: Officials: Do NOT climb into attics, go to roof to escape flooding
HOUSTON - There is "extraordinarily dangerous flooding" in southeast Houston, according to Jeff Lindner with the Harris County Flood Control District.

"We are getting calls from people climbing into their attic. This is along I-45 between downtown and Clear Lake," Lindner said. "This is along Berry Bayou, Beamer Ditch, Turkey Creek, portions of Clear Creek, Vince Bayou, Little Vince Bayou in Pasadena," he said. "Pretty much the entire southeast side of Harris County has had 13 to 15 inches of rain in three hours."

Lindner said they're also seeing flooding along portions of Hunting Bayou, downtown along Buffalo Bayou, Brays Bayou and Keegan's Bayou.

Chief Art Acevedo tweeted," have reports of people getting into attic to escape floodwater do not do so unless you have an ax or means to break through onto your roof."
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:31 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I learned after Katrina that old-timers in New Orleans do in fact keep axes in their attics, for exactly this kind of horror.
posted by thelonius at 5:42 AM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Yes, as a louisianian ax in the attic is a well known thing, and still lots of people died by drowning in attics.

I live in Chicago and like an ax the attic. (If anyone got this far north, me mail me if you need anything, including a place to stay)

Many hugs, much love . I remember the, aftermath of Katrina vividly as I lived in Baton Rouge at the time. It's not the time for those stories, but much love hugs, and any support I can give.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:47 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Tweet: "KHOU broadcasting live out of their upstairs conference room because water is now flooding into their studio. Just scary..."
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:57 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


KHOU live stream is provoking some serious Katrina-era deja vu.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:17 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. These people reaching out to the city for help on Twitter are making me cry. I'm not religious, but I'm saying lots of prayers anyway. Houstonites, what are the best local organizations to donate to for disaster relief?
posted by bluefly at 6:19 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Here's the Reddit Live thread for Houston: https://www.reddit.com/live/zhon9xy85b55/

It's really bad, and is going to get worse. Every water way is above its banks. Lake Conroe (85 km^2) has risen more than 7 inches so far and exceeded its full volume. The entire lake. Buffalo Bayou near downtown Houston looks like it's 25+ feet above its banks, and has nearly reached the overpasses above it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:53 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Harris county flood map showing rain totals. If you switch it to 'last 7 days' some stations on the south side are showing 24" of rain and 10-12" all over.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:54 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Here's a comparison of Buffalo Bayou from Friday to Saturday. Here's right now.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:55 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


And here's the basement of the building on the left in that webcam.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:00 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Also from a purely observational POV, this video yt with the curtains sucked through the sides of the window, outside the window itself . . . wow. That's an. . . . interesting pressure differential. Don't think I've ever seen anything quite like that before.

Yeah, one would expect curtains to be sucked through the inside of the window frame, instead of outside of the window frame, where it meets the wall.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:07 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


KHOU 11 on scene reporter just announced that they are evacuating their studio. They had already moved to the 2nd floor due to water and are now leaving the building.
posted by Jalliah at 7:09 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Channel 11 is right next to Buffalo Bayou, just upstream from downtown Houston.
posted by Bee'sWing at 7:17 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Just got a call from my boss to let me know my three co-workers in Houston are ok...so far. One of them is sitting with her dad in the hospital because he's waiting on a heart transplant. Have not yet heard what damage our Corpus office took. My boss is amazing, she started six weeks ago, when she realized we didn't have a formal emergency plan for this she basically kicked ppl into action. But we have lots of ppl in that area and God knows how they are all doing.
posted by emjaybee at 7:21 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]



Is there another local news station? Channel 11's stream just went down.
posted by Jalliah at 7:43 AM on August 27



Okay nevermind it's still up on youtube.

They're just trying to rescue a trapped truck driver that the news team found.
posted by Jalliah at 7:45 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Is there another local news station? Channel 11's stream just went down.

Their feed has been bouncing on and off for a while. If you wait a few minutes it comes back -- I can imagine the system is pretty overloaded. They're back on for me now.

It looks like there's a FOX station which is more stable.

This is terrible.
posted by jammer at 7:46 AM on August 27


Oops. Now it looks like KHOU lost their mobile unit. There's a test pattern up.
posted by jammer at 7:54 AM on August 27



For people not watching. The on scene reporter has been the entire news broadcast because the station is evacuating and they can't switch to any other feed. They are on a high level of a main highway. She has been doing a really great job of showing what is happening including water that is now up to 16ft on some of the roads. They can tell because it's now up to the overpasses that have measurements on them.

So in trying to cover and fill all the time they have been walking further and further afield. They ended up coming upon an 18 wheeler stuck in water and entrance road. The water is up into the cab now. They checked and the trucker is still in it and the water is rising. So they paniced and managed to find the incidence response team who has a boat.

They're trying to rescue him now.

The news crew, as long as this rescue goes well, pretty much will have saved this guy. The emergency people did not know he was there.

The youtube livestream is now down. Here's hoping that they managed to get this guy.
posted by Jalliah at 7:55 AM on August 27 [29 favorites]


Her name is Brandi Smith. I hope they get that trucker out safely as well.
posted by mogget at 7:59 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


ABC 13 are also streaming live.
posted by jammer at 7:59 AM on August 27




We must open up housing to everyone displaced. New Orleans ll be rainy yet, but we should requisition all those empty condos in the cbd for Houstonians, all Texans.
posted by eustatic at 8:08 AM on August 27


My cousin got shipped out from his station in Jacksonville to help KHOU cover the storm--apparently they've evacuated to the Fed building, and are safe and dry.
posted by damayanti at 8:16 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The NFIP is going to go broke on this one. It was already hitting $24b in debt and it also has to be reauthorized by September 30th. I really don't have much faith right now in this not becoming a ridiculous amount of human of unnecessary human misery.
posted by Talez at 8:17 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]




KHOU now using Facebook to stream.
posted by Jalliah at 8:19 AM on August 27


My brain cannot compute this whatsoever. We really don't have natural disasters like this here (yes, plenty of tornadoes in Wisconsin but they're extremely rare in the city). The closest thing I can remember going through are blizzards with temps of -10 to -20. I was stuck inside for a couple of days. It warmed up, they plowed the snow, and I moved on with life. You can't plow water, obviously.
posted by AFABulous at 8:20 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]




The truck driver is safe!!!

Just spoke to @BrandiKHOU and @KHOU_MSandoval. They're safe. Truck driver was rescued. They're hunkering down now we're off air. #KHOU11
posted by Jalliah at 8:22 AM on August 27 [18 favorites]


The NFIP is going to go broke on this one.

National Flood Insurance Program, for the acronym-challenged like me
posted by thelonius at 8:25 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


FYI, it looks like KUHT (from UH so fair warning not rained out yet) is simulcasting KHOU and doing its calm public media thing from their streaming page.

Also, still catching up with the news here in Houston but profoundly worried about the city. It's still raining, y'all. And while, technically, I live next to a bayou realistically it is the colleagues and friends and strangers across the metro area that I am worried about.

Houston has had a rough few years with flooding and apparently, "Houston’s flooding issues are important because more people die in Houston from flooding than in any other city. No other urban area in America has flooded as much as Houston in the last 40 years" (that's a quote from Eric Berger summarizing the Texas Tribune piece linked way upthread).*

So you can understand that when we start talking about catastrophic, unprecedented flooding in Houston that we are already screwed. First ever Flash Flood Emergency for Catastrophic Life Threatening Flooding screwed. And it's still raining.

*Please do me a favor and take a pass on the 'then maybe people shouldn't live there' stuff right now. We're still in the middle of it; there'll be time for hot takes later.
posted by librarylis at 8:29 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]


@EricHolthaus
"Believe it or not, new NHC forecast means Houston is likely only half done with rainfall from #Harvey. This will get worse."

"Latest NHC #Harvey forecast continues to show a dire scenario for Houston. Heavy rains continue through Wed., with 50" totals now expected."
posted by Buntix at 8:40 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


I am so impressed with KHOU news and how they're are handling this. They're streaming on Facebook while they work at setting up a new studio and get on air.

They're just calmly explaining what is going on and reporting what they can. Any sort of commercialized 'news' veneer is gone. It's just people working together and doing the best they can in a very hard time. The air is one of support and caring.

It's comforting to watch.
posted by Jalliah at 8:49 AM on August 27 [12 favorites]


NWS just now: This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety. #Harvey

I have never seen an NWS statement like that, and I've been studying disaster preparedness and response for nearly a decade.
posted by karayel at 9:00 AM on August 27 [33 favorites]


Is their Twitter header usually that ominous looking?
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on August 27



Here's a video from Brandi Smith, KHOU reporter of the rescue of the truck driver.


ABC13 which is still livestreaming is reporting on a man and his son who showed up with a boat and are doing what they can to get people.

Live coast card press conference on right now.
posted by Jalliah at 9:06 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I live in the Heights and this is crazy. Even 3 days ago meteorologists I trust weren't sure Harvey would become a Hurricane at all and now they're saying we may get 50" of rain. The flood control website has a gauge at the bayou about a half mile from my apartment and it stopped reporting water level at 6 AM when it was reported at 8 feet about the top of its banks. It hasn't reported any rainfall in the past 3 hours which can't be right so I think it's broken, but before it went out it said we'd gotten 22.4" in the past 48 hours.

So far we're staying dry, but the streets are all flooded within 2 blocks of us in each direction. I haven't read the thread but for non-Houstonians that alone isn't that alarming because the streets are basically part of the drainage system here, but there's so much rain west of us still draining through our bayous that I'm not sure my place won't flood if we get another night like last night tonight.

It's also wild to think about the full stoppage of Houston that will come over the next few days. They don't think the 'eye' of Harvey will go over us til Thursday! HISD has already cancelled classes for the entire next week, and the other districts in the area will likely follow suit.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:11 AM on August 27 [13 favorites]


I am very uncomfortable that there are no stats or numbers; it means that news people really have no idea about water levels, number of residences, cars on the road etc, etc.

I remember Katrina(which is different in many many ways, the topography differences are important) when they literally didn't know where there were unoffical large shelters where people were staying.

The evacuation orders were set up light due to the road infrastructure - a way larger of percentage of people are in the city than stayed in NO. That call I fear is going to be an extremely deadly one.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:13 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


That man and his son featured on the ABC live stream who have been voluntarily out rescuing folks with their boat since last night, have the last name of Gonzalez. I think they are Jesse and Jesse, Jr. if I heard the stream right.

Just saying.

Having lived in central Texas for 7 years and having spent much of my time back then as a working musician on the gulf coast and in the southeast, I'm watching in horror.
posted by spitbull at 9:16 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


There are now some forecasts predicting Harvey will loop back over the Gulf, gain strength and then return over Houston.

@torrea40 "Latest model agrees #Harvey will slightly re-emerge over Gulf Tuesday am, gain some strength then move N towards Houston
#FloodingHouston"

@PivotalWeather "Latest GFS continues to suggest #Harvey will meander around the same area through at least midweek. link to chart on pivotalweather.com #txwx"

@BenNollWeather "New ECMWF shows #Harvey moving back over the Gulf on Mon, restrengthening, then making a 2nd landfall near #Houston on Wed. Unthinkable."

[forecast charts/animations on links]
posted by Buntix at 9:17 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


My mom just texted from her bathroom in the Memorial area where she's riding out the latest tornado warning that Houston ISD has canceled classes for the entire week.
posted by jaksemas at 9:19 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


This live KHOU stream really is pretty amazing. At the moment I'm watchinga Facebook stream of a mobile phone pointed at a laptop showing a web page that has a slightly older stream of KHOU on their web page. Then a phone call came in and interrupted the broadcasting camera, so that was awkward. They are doing literally anything they can to broadcast.
posted by Nelson at 9:21 AM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Remember earlier this week when social media circulated out a "secret memo" from Houston leadership about disaster planning for 100 inches of rain and three days without power and it was called a hoax? Yeah, right.
posted by beaning at 9:30 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


that much flooding is going to take the city water system down, too, at least until they can verify that it's not contaminated
posted by thelonius at 9:32 AM on August 27


I mean hopefully still an absolute worse case scenario but that rain prediction as a week long event may not be so off for some parts of the area.
posted by beaning at 9:34 AM on August 27




Ya realize that having someone who's anti-global warming should logically support keeping flood insurance going, right?

Global warming logically should support the flood insurance paying out and preventing rebuilding in the places destroyed with the payout money.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:51 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


The poor defenseless bats! And all animals who can't take care of themselves and probably will not be saved. I assume this will have a devastating effect on the ecology.

Are any agencies dependent on Trump for leadership in the short term, or can they run themselves? E.g., must FEMA or the National Guard wait for a specific go-ahead from the White House to do stuff?
posted by AFABulous at 9:54 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]



Fire Marshall (I think) is now calling for public help. Asking for anyone with boats and high water vehicles to come help. He said more govt and state assests are on the way but they can't wait. They need more help now.

He said that govt assests are fully utilized and isn't a situation of them not being prepared it's that it is not enough.

:(
posted by Jalliah at 10:07 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


There are bats swimming in Buffalo Bayou.

One of the commenters on that Twitter thread suggested it looked more like they were drowning.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:07 AM on August 27


Maybe they're just waving.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:10 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]



Not that it will likely make a difference posted here but who knows.

Here is the number the officials are saying to call if you can help with a boat or high water vehicle. 713 881 3100.
posted by Jalliah at 10:11 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Greg Abbot is responsible for calling out the Guard and declaring a state of emergency and requesting FEMA's help.

Yeah, those bats are in big trouble, I wish the video taker had a pool skimmer.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:11 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Good news

Can bats swim?

Although there is little scientific data on the subject, observations by naturalists in the field seem to support the fact that some bats swim in stressful situations but that it is not normally part of their ordinary behavior patterns. For example, flying foxes, often island inhabitants, may have to fly long distances to obtain food. A forced landing or a foray over water to collect fruit which has dropped and floated there may necessitate an unexpected swim. Photographs of the flying fox, Pteropus giganteus, show the animal actually swimming, using its wings and feet to reach land rather than floating or paddling.
posted by AFABulous at 10:11 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]




If wasn't the fire marshall. Sorry. It was County Judge Ed Emmett
posted by Jalliah at 10:14 AM on August 27


A rescue drama just played itself out on Twitter. "La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients", with disturbing picture of elderly people in several feet of water. More tweets and a few hours later "RESCUED!! Thank you to the National Guard & the Galveston City Emergency crew for our rescue".

(I've been holding off posting this because there's a horrible possibility the whole thing is a hoax.)
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on August 27 [11 favorites]




Confirmed tornado touchdown in Needville. Area north of it under threat and telling people to take it seriously.
posted by Jalliah at 10:22 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]



A rescue drama just played itself out on Twitter. "La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients", with disturbing picture of elderly people in several feet of water. More tweets and a few hours later "RESCUED!! Thank you to the National Guard & the Galveston City Emergency crew for our rescue".

(I've been holding off posting this because there's a horrible possibility the whole thing is a hoax.)


I've been watching this one too but didn't post it for the same reason. Not sure if it is real. Unfortunately it looks like there have been a few hoax posts of people calling for help. It's disgusting.
posted by Jalliah at 10:24 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Speaking of wildlife, I suspect there are floating fire ant rafts around the area now.
posted by spitbull at 10:29 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


This is why we need Mandatory Evacuation Orders. With a mandatory evacuation, the staff of the nursing home would have been required to move the residents.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 10:29 AM on August 27


The consensus on Twitter and Facebook is that the pic is photoshopped. For one thing, the chair and blankets are dry; they should be waterlogged. And I don't believe for a second that all those people would be so calm even if they had dementia. The water has to be cold.
posted by AFABulous at 10:29 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


SCHOOL CLOSURES: Updating list of cancelled classes due to Harvey (posted 12 mins ago)

All? I think "all" is the right answer.
posted by tzikeh at 10:30 AM on August 27 [5 favorites]


And... who the fuck is standing around taking pictures?
posted by AFABulous at 10:30 AM on August 27


And... who the fuck is standing around taking pictures?

That part is believable, I'm afraid
posted by thelonius at 10:32 AM on August 27 [6 favorites]


Twitter and Facebook are filled with requests for rescues and RTs/shares of same, but I worry that will clog up emergency phone lines as "helpful people" continue to call hours after those people are rescued (since there's no way to propagate updates through the network).
posted by AFABulous at 10:41 AM on August 27




That's an unkind way to put it jferg. Anyway that link is a Galveston newspaper confirming the rescue at the nursing home. By helicopter! Looking at a map I'm surprised they weren't evacuated before hurricane came ashore.
posted by Nelson at 10:52 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


@Nelson: I was referring to the comment above that "consensus on Facebook and Twitter was that it was 'shopped", not the comment just above mine, sorry for being unclear.
posted by jferg at 10:53 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Initial response to Katrina had similar school posting closures; the estimated time out was way way way underestimated. Even non damaged schools had to contend with being staging areas for worse off areas, shelters, power issues, and of course it's students being homeless.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:03 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Just did a walk around in my neighborhood, the rain is calm for now. I've never seen the bayou this full, but I wasn't in this part of town during Allison. A bunch of people are out in my area, didn't see any house flooding so that's good news.

I am very uncomfortable that there are no stats or numbers; it means that news people really have no idea about water levels, number of residences, cars on the road etc, etc.

I have no idea what you mean by this, but the news seems to be doing a good job as far as I can tell. There's a great website that can give you an idea of the water coverage in your area (https://www.harriscountyfws.org/, though any out-of-towners should stay off of it as much as possible because it went down for a while last night and we need it to help plan). Also most of the flooding happened during the night and I'm not sure what you expect for how they should know how many residences or cars are affected yet? Anyways maybe I'm just more plugged in on facebook and twitter and stuff.

Remember earlier this week when social media circulated out a "secret memo" from Houston leadership about disaster planning for 100 inches of rain and three days without power and it was called a hoax? Yeah, right.

This is stupid and I've flagged it as noise. I believe the city officials when they say that was fake, and I think implying that we should be distrustful of city officials at this point in time is honestly dangerous.

that much flooding is going to take the city water system down, too, at least until they can verify that it's not contaminated

They just announced that water is still good for most of town, so at least we don't have to worry about that.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:06 AM on August 27 [10 favorites]


In recent bad news though, the Med Center is starting to flood. Ben Taub, a large hospital, has lost power and is being evacuated and a friend who work at MD Anderson says their first floor is starting to take on some water.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:09 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


There's a large bat colony under the bridge, I assume that's where they are coming from.
posted by beowulf573 at 11:25 AM on August 27


In recent bad news though, the Med Center is starting to flood

I sincerely hope not. I saw the news about Ben Taub but hopefully it's limited to them. Most of our major hospitals and trauma centers are in the Med Center. It's also, selfishly, where I live. None of the streets are flooded at this end of the Med Center but I'm on the south side of the already-flooded Brays Bayou; much of the Med Center is north of it. There was a lot of work done to protect the Med Center after Allison and again last year after the Tax Day Floods. Here's hoping that it works.
posted by librarylis at 12:06 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Apologies for the slight derail: "Convection-resolving mesoscale models, which have a tight enough resolution to depict individual thunderstorms, are an invaluable tool in situations like this," described this image. Is there a website which provides mesoscale-model predictions for locations throughout the US?
posted by Coventry at 12:07 PM on August 27


That nursing home picture has pissed me right the fuck off today, now I just want to punch some Senators.
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


And... who the fuck is standing around taking pictures?

It seems sensible to take a moment to document the situation while helping, at some point where no one's drowning right this second. This is serious abuse which the Nursing Home organizers should to be made to account for.
posted by Coventry at 12:15 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


The last paragraph and last few sentences of the latest mesoscale precipitation discussion from the NWS, emphasis mine:
THE THREAT OF FLASH FLOODING IS INCREASING ACROSS SOUTHERN LA AS SOILS SATURATE, WHILE SIGNIFICANT TO CATASTROPHIC FLASH FLOODING CONTINUES ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST TX, INCLUDING THE HOUSTON METROPOLITAN AREA. THE AVERAGE RAINFALL WITHIN THE HARRIS COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT NETWORK HAS EXCEEDED THAT OF TROPICAL STORM ALLISON (2001) IN ALMOST HALF OF THE TIME (2-3 VERSUS 5 DAYS). HISTORIC FLOODING IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE IN THE HOUSTON METROPOLITAN AREA THROUGH THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
posted by barchan at 12:15 PM on August 27 [11 favorites]


Friend of mine has packed backpacks and inflated her little boat for her and her two teenage daughters. There's flooding at the end of her street that hasn't reached her yet but I'm feeling like she might have to use it. And it will probably be dark and pouring and how terrifying would it be to launch yourselves into that?
posted by emjaybee at 12:20 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


And... who the fuck is standing around taking pictures?

The person who took the picture to put on social media because they were trying to get help and figured that an actual picture would get people to finally start paying attention. According to what appears to be one of the initial postings they had been trying to get help as soon as the water started coming up and weren't getting anywhere, so they posted the picture and asked for help.
posted by Jalliah at 12:20 PM on August 27 [28 favorites]


Both Bush and Hobby airports closed at least until a Wednesday.

Godspeed to the rescuers while they've got daylight and a break in the rain. The news feeds are showing lots of regular folks helping out their neighbors, reminding you that there are still lots of good public-spirited people in this country. But it seems to me that Trump needs to allow the military to assist (Fort Hood, presumably, has many useful resources). . There is a basic problem of scale that's getting more apparent. This is much, much more widespread than Katrina ever was. You can see the local first responders growing weary.

Really hoping the response to this isn't politicized, although I know that's naive. SE Texas is full of poor communities with minimal resources and shabby infrastructure.

It's odd watching the news and feeling like the national coverage doesn't grasp the severity of the situation yet. I remember that feeling from Katrina.
posted by spitbull at 12:21 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]



KHOU is back on air with help from their sister station in Dallas. Youtube stream is here.
posted by Jalliah at 12:23 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Doors anyone have lists of shelters in Brazoria county? Just found out some family didn't evacuate Sweeney , TX and we have had no contact.


Sputbull, I feel the same thing. I'm watching local Houston ABC 13 for coverage. The news never matched what was going on the ground, there simply is just too much to cover I think.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:25 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


It's odd watching the news and feeling like the national coverage doesn't grasp the severity of the situation yet.

Nothing seems more obvious to me today that we keep repeating this trope like everything's a big ol' surprise. "Well, we didn't know two months ago that there was going to be a hurricane." Can we maybe all get on the same page and realize that hurricanes pop up in a matter of days? Is it too much to expect people to be at least this smart? They know nukes are bad, and this isn't really that much more complicated than that.
posted by rhizome at 12:25 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


I am so impressed with KHOU news and how they're are handling this. They're streaming on Facebook while they work at setting up a new studio and get on air.

They're just calmly explaining what is going on and reporting what they can. Any sort of commercialized 'news' veneer is gone. It's just people working together and doing the best they can in a very hard time. The air is one of support and caring.

It's comforting to watch.


I just watched a bunch of their videos because of this post and they made me cry a little bit. Bless these people.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:30 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


I didn't really grasp the scale of this disaster until I looked at the road closure/flooding map. Holy moly.
posted by theodolite at 12:33 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


By my reckoning, that's a 200 mile stretch.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:41 PM on August 27


I didn't really grasp the scale of this disaster until I looked at the road closure/flooding map. Holy moly.

OMG. Normally I'm like, "Texas can eat a bag of dicks, because Texas", but G-d, no-one should have to go through this shit.
posted by mikelieman at 12:41 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Emergency management guy on the news livestream just emphasized that rescuers are not checking peoples' documentation. How awful that that even has to be said.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:41 PM on August 27 [45 favorites]


Godspeed to the rescuers

While we're waiting during this brief weather break, I'd also like to give a general shout-out to municipal services people like drinking water & wastewater managers & crews and roads workers who are going to be operating the heavy machinery and all those other people like dispatchers and techs working on the water gauge websites who may not be quite visible right now, but are either working really fucking hard behind the scenes or will be first on the scene for clean-up as soon as it's safe. IMHO they can get a bit forgotten because they're not getting their photographs taken rescuing people with boats, but they're working just as hard and having just as much sleepless nights on behalf of the people as everyone else.

Yeah, Houston's getting the bulk of the news coverage the but rivers at major flooding stage range all the way from Austin to Corpus Christi to San Antonio, and about to hit Louisiana.
posted by barchan at 12:48 PM on August 27 [23 favorites]


Houston Transtar Map. Damn. I've never seen it look like that.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:50 PM on August 27


Ways to help Via captain awkward's patreon:

- Texas Diaper Bank is creating relief kits

- Houston Coalition for the Homeless is coordinating shelter

- SPCA of Texas coordinating animal rescue and rehoming

- Houston DSA coordinating volunteers for rescue and assistance

- Houston Food Bank

- Direct Relief connects safety net providers with medical supplies

- Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi

- Portlight prioritizes disaster relief for people with disabilities

- Austin Pets Alive is taking in strays from Harvey zones

- Corpus Christi food bank

- Galveston food bank

- AirB&B for places to stay

- Global Giving's Hurricane Harvey relief fund

- GoFundMe pages related to Hurricane Harvey (I haven't vetted these)

- Dallas shelters prep for evacuees, how to help here

- HEB: mobile kitchens, aid + find out which stores are open

MORE FOOD BANK INFO via Houston Press:

Houston Food Bank
832-369-9390
houstonfoodbank.org

Galveston Food Bank
409-945-4232
galvestoncountyfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
361-578-0591
victoriafoodbank.org
Closed Friday

Corpus Christi Food Bank
361-887-6291
foodbankcc.com

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
409-839-8777
setxfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
956-682-8101
foodbankrgv.com

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
979-779-3663
bvfb.org

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
512-282-2111
centraltexasfoodbank.org

San Antonio Food Bank
210-337-3663
safoodbank.org
posted by brujita at 12:51 PM on August 27 [19 favorites]


Houston got 22 inches of rain in 24 hours. I've experienced inch/hour rain, and it's like being in a waterfall. In Rockport, with the wind, I just can't even. I'll bet the nursing home photo was taken by a resident or staff. I think I'd prefer to be on a table rather than sit in that water. I can't understand why they didn't evacuate, or don't have a better plan.
posted by theora55 at 12:56 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Some information about the Addicks reservoir--this is from a few years back, and some (but not all that is needed) repairs have been made. Current conditions, as of a couple hours ago.
posted by Emera Gratia at 12:57 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


So much for the Wall, anyway; no Texan of any stripe is going to stand by and watch money being wasted on that stupidity, now -- not to mention that Houston is going to need every Mexican laborer and craftsman it can lure across the border from now 'til who knows when.
posted by jamjam at 1:11 PM on August 27 [39 favorites]


I keep thinking about how North Carolina got a pittance after Hurricane Matthew.

Will be interesting to see how response to Houston plays out.
posted by Sublimity at 1:18 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


As far as having plans to deal with an event like this I think the best plan is "be prepared as best as you can" and given the state of our current social support structures for the elderly and disadvantaged being piss-poor under the most favorable of conditions, I'm going to assume this was the best we could do.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:20 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel slightly better, Emera Gratia, Barker and Addicks are only filled to ~3.7 to 5% capacity right now. They've literally got almost two hundred thousand acre feet each to go before they've reached flood pool capacity. In the Houston area itself, Lakes Conroe and Houston are much more worrisome. And there's a lot more reservoirs around the state nearing capacity, including some of the ones near Austin.

Unfortunately, it seems a lot of the rain those reservoirs could have stored upstream to hinder Buffalo Bayou flooding fell downstream from them. Maybe a good thing for the reservoirs and their weakened infrastructure, but not for Buffalo Bayou.

*The last time I was in the area, I could not believe how much development had been allowed near those reservoirs and what had been allowed upstream from them either.
posted by barchan at 1:21 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


The nursing home didn't evacuate because they were told not to evacuate, and for good reason, given what happened when Houston tried to evacuate for Rita. What happened in the Rita evacuation showed, or should have shown, that a mass evacuation is impossible. There IS NO SOLUTION to this problem for disasterprone population centers of the US. There could be a solution. But that would take investment in transportation infrastructure and social services on a national scale. That would be a job for the federal government. Every time this happens, the feds and their apologists start blaming state and city government when they're not blaming citizens for not being self-actualized enough to magic themselves out of danger. This contemptible shoulder shrugging and blame shifting is the absolute depths of depravity. The fault is the feds', now, then, forevermore. Put the infrastructure in place, and that means trains planes buses AND social services to help the poor and the sick and the old. Nursing home operators cannot build new roads or rebuild the railroad system we tore out in the 80s or scramble some military troop transport planes to evacuate masses of people. This is what the federal government is for and why G. Norquist's idea that we should drown it in the bathtub was bad.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:30 PM on August 27 [82 favorites]


My sister is a nurse and she called me yesterday to point out that there's going to be a blood shortage from all this, and to get my AB ass down to a donation place. The joke's on her because I already had a donation appointment set up.

But, if you can, take the time to donate blood soon. They'll be needing it.
posted by sotonohito at 1:34 PM on August 27 [16 favorites]


Don Pepino, are you sure the La Vita Bela nursing home in Dickinson, TX was told not to evacuate? That article you linked is about Houston and Harris County. Dickinson is in Galveston County. From what I can find online, Dickinson had a voluntary evacuation order. I mentioned being surprised they were not evacuated because I looked at a map. Not only is Dickinson planned to evacuate for Category 4 hurricanes like Harvey, but the specific nursing home is about 500 feet from a bayou.

I agree about the larger point of the lack of federal (and state) investment in disaster avoidance and preparedness. But in this specific case I'm also wondering if the nursing home bears liability. If that were my grandmother sitting in flood waters I'd want to see someone in jail. Nursing homes can't build roads but they sure should have a plan for a hurricane better than "sit tight and hope some guy in Florida gets enough retweets that a helicopter rescues the people we are responsible for."

The terrible lesson from Hurricane Katrina is you can't count on government to come help you. It's hideous.
posted by Nelson at 1:54 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The terrible lesson from Hurricane Katrina is you can't count on government to come help you. It's hideous.

"The future's here
We are it
We are on our own
We are on our own!"
posted by mikelieman at 1:58 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Houston Chronicle: TS Harvey victims, don't share viral National Guard social media message
Houston area residents should not share or copy and paste an alleged number for the National Guard, even if intentions are noble.

A message reading "The National Guard is being deployed to our Texas area. If you find yourself in a state of emergency. Call 1-800-527-3907. Please copy, paste or share!" is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.

That phone number is for an insurance company based out of state and not a number to an actual governmental entity.

You will not be rescued or helped by calling that number. There is no apparent source for the message and a government agency has not shared a number for assistance.

If you are in true danger, call emergency officials and or 911 instead.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:01 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]




There IS NO SOLUTION to this problem for disasterprone population centers of the US.

And yet, what Katrina showed if anything is that this is not true. It took us several years and several screwed up attempts, but when Katrina came we got everyone out who cared to try getting out despite a similarly short timeline compared to what we normally get. It's called contraflow evacuation, and it requires all the agencies to line up and be on the same page. You open up the highways and move cars up both sides in one direction, away from the hazard, and ruthlessly clear obstructions. It's the reason Katrina's death toll was in the mid four figures instead of five or even six figures. It can be done. Don't let anyone tell you it can't. We did it here in NOLA.

But it costs money and training and time and preparation, and really in our case it cost a couple of botched attempts before we figured it out. But we didn't still have 90% of our population in place when Katrina hit, and we really only had 48 hours rather than the usual 72+ we're used to because of the way Katrina sucker-punched us.

Take the roadway system of a modern US city, and really harness it to GTFO, and you can do some amazing things. But as we learned you have to anticipate it, plan it, make preparations for it, coordinate with downstream entities like the next state over, and make infrastructure mods like the special lanes to get people onto the "wrong" side of the freeway. You do that and you can evacuate a city in much less time than you ever believed possible. I know that, because NOLA did it when the chips were down and lives were on the line.
posted by Bringer Tom at 2:22 PM on August 27 [20 favorites]


Mayor: Port Aransas a "100-percent loss."

The actual article isn't as dire as that -- the 100 percent loss refers to a specific trailer park.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:25 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Port Aransas population, 4000
Rockport population, 10,500
Corpus Christi population, 326,000
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:32 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


"we got everyone out who cared to try getting out"
You WHAT now? WHAT? One dead in attic didn't "care to try" to get out? The whole mobilizing the schoolbuses x days late thing didn't happen, it was that they didn't care to try? Superdome was a figment of my imagination, those people all opted to stick around despite opportunity to leave because they didn't care to try? Trying to walk across the bridge and getting shot at apocryphal? All those people on the rooftops for days just didn't want to give evacuation a shot? Everybody just decided not to evacuate their grandparents? People in government didn't go on TV and tell the carless to hitch a ride with a neighbor like all their neighbors were just rife with cars? The nursing homes? Charity hospital? They all considered the totally viable evacuation options and decided to shelter in place instead like idiots? Ditto the jail? Here lies Vera god help us was a photoshop job? Am I misreading you?
posted by Don Pepino at 2:33 PM on August 27 [29 favorites]


Can we do a little "room reading" and decide that now is not the best time to condemn people for not evacuating or for living on the coast in the first place?
posted by hydropsyche at 2:38 PM on August 27 [26 favorites]


[Let's not either relitigate Katrina or be complete raging assholes about people who are currently in crisis and/or dead. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 2:45 PM on August 27 [20 favorites]


Thank god rescuers took the nursing home situation seriously and didn't take the word of people who have seen some shops in their time, christ
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:46 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


The shortcomings of the Katrina evacuation aside, the population of the Houston MSA is at least six times that of the NOLA MSA. And as noted above, Houston's most recent experience of hurricane evacuation was Rita, in which the vast majority of casualties were caused BY the evacuation and the terrible gridlock that resulted, not the storm. There will and should be conversations about the decision not to order an evacuation, but it's short-sighted to say this was an easy call. Especially given the awareness that there would be serious flooding on highways--consider what would have happened if the floodwaters hit a scene like this. An effective evacuation would have taken days, if not more, and major resources (including a lot of mass-capacity vehicles). There are no easy answers to this scenario.
posted by karayel at 2:51 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


(including a lot of mass-capacity vehicles)

The Houston school district alone has 1100 school buses. There are 13 rows of seats in a standard school bus; so that's at least 52 adults per bus.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:57 PM on August 27


Contraflow is very effective, and I'm surprised it's not used in tx as well. But Katrina did teach many lessons about mass evacuations, every disaster does.

Some policy changes after:

1) wider availability of pet friendly shelters
2) Louisiana diverts ALL school busses to New Orleans in the state during mass evacuations
3) distribution plan changes due to shortages of supplies
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:01 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Here's a twitter thread from someone who was trapped in that Rita gridlock, by the way.
posted by karayel at 3:02 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]




There is a contraflow plan for Galveston, I'm not sure it is needed as much for Houston--there are a lot more ways out. Rita is a special case because it was a cat 4 storm that happened right after Katrina and people were panicked. Lots of people evacuated that didn't need to. There was a lot of attention paid to this and more emphasis paid to where people lived.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:05 PM on August 27


Texas does have contraflow evacuation plans. In the case of Galveston they've been in place for a very long time; I remember learning about Galveston's plan to evacuate via I-45 nearly forty years ago.

I would not want to be the one to make the call to evacuate or not evacuate a city the size of Houston. Evacuation carries with it its own dangers and costs. 107 deaths were attributed to the evacuation for Hurricane Rita. Even so evacuation might be better than staying, but it's a tough call.

Part of what I find upsetting about this hurricane is that the local governments couldn't get their stories straight about evacuation. The governor directly contradicted local officials. No doubt they'll argue for years about who was right.

(PS: to anyone else like me in San Francisco. Watch what is happening and think through what happens here if we have an 8.0 earthquake. Do you have a plan? Do you have emergency supplies? Unlike hurricanes there's not even the chance of an evacuation before an earthquake. And the government isn't going to be able to help immediately. You should prepare.)
posted by Nelson at 3:09 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


Photo Galleries.

Alan Taylor/The Atlantic: Photos: The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

The Guardian: Flooding in Houston after hurricane Harvey – in pictures
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:18 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Can you even imagine what would happen if the federal government started using eminent domain to seize Texans' land to build a highway they didn't ask for, "for their own good?"

There is room to point fingers in every direction, but it certainly doesn't help that Houston is a national poster child for irresponsible urban growth policies. Fix those, raise local/state taxes to pay for more than the bare minimum of infrastructure, and then there might have been more that the federal government could have done to ensure that a reasonable evacuation plan existed.
posted by schmod at 3:22 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


but it certainly doesn't help that Houston is a national poster child for irresponsible urban growth policies.

This is a very important fact.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:32 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


They used eminent domain to take land for the Keystone pipeline, though it did make a lot of Republican land owners very mad.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:33 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Text conversation with my husband's cousin, a theater teacher in Houston:

Me: how are ya'll doing? any flooding near you?

Her: All around us is completely under water. We are ok though, very grateful. The town i work in (Dickinson) is tragic .
My students and their families and other teachers have lost their homes.

Me: oh god I'm so sorry. those poor kids.

Her: They live in awful situations to begin with. It is devastating. So many have lost everything.
One of the other theatre teachers was on her roof for hours with her 6 and 2 yr old thru the rain (before she got picked up)
Send love and prayers for my students. A lot of healing will need to happen.
posted by emjaybee at 3:39 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


The Houston school district alone has 1100 school buses. There are 13 rows of seats in a standard school bus; so that's at least 52 adults per bus.

Which is 57,200 people. Wondering how the other 5.5 million people in the Houston MSA get out without creating gridlock - even with contraflow, and even with scattering in different directions. As someone who used to live in Houston and with immediate family who are currently safe but potentially in harms way I've just about had it with armchair disaster planners and victim-blamers.
posted by misskaz at 3:39 PM on August 27 [43 favorites]


Houston-adjacent here. Watching the devastation has been crazy- We're lucky to be on the second floor of an apartment complex on high ground, so we may be taking in some friends in a few hours. Chiming in on Contraflow- We definitely have it after Rita, but as far as I can tell it wasn't activated this time because most people were told hey, don't leave.

All of us were explicitly told not to evacuate because it would clog up the roads- and now Spring Creek is flooding, so everyone along there is being told urgently to get out, get out, get out. It's very surreal.

A mention on shelters not taking pets- definitely something we're seeing on the news here. Boats are too full for pets, and facebook groups have mobilized to do animal rescues. Since most won't be allowed in shelters with fido right now, Mattress Mack, furniture empire owners & beloved local legend, is opening his show rooms to people and pets as a shelter.
posted by Torosaurus at 3:44 PM on August 27 [23 favorites]


You have to remember that most of Houston is 30-50 feet above sea level and not vulnerable to storm surges. Very different from New Orleans. Most of the worst flooding is in low lying parts of town, those are the people who need to evacuate when a hurricane threatens.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:46 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


[Let's not either relitigate Katrina or be complete raging assholes about people who are currently in crisis and/or dead. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 4:45 PM on August 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


Please and thank you.

We are kind of busy, at the moment, and appreciate any love and support offered.

Armchair quarterbacking our decision to live in/near Houston, why we should or should not evacuate, etc. could maybe wait until Labor day, if y'all don't mind.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 3:48 PM on August 27 [23 favorites]


Rescued pups (and people)!
posted by zachlipton at 3:52 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Good twitter thread By Jia Tolentino about how to help and who you're helping.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:58 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


My cousins lost their house, and the water rose so fast the wife was able to grab almost nothing -- I think basically birth certificates and immigration papers -- before she had to go to the second floor and then onto the roof, and wait for rescue. Her husband is a 911 operator so he was already at work, and they were able to evacuate her to his workplace. (She had to leave the pets with food and water and hope for the best, but she's not super hopeful.)

We haven't heard from my other relatives in the area. One household are diligent over-preparers so I'm sure they're okay, even if their house isn't, but the others are a little feckless and I'm worried.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:59 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


For those of you there, or know people, Houston has set up "lillypads" - shelters or evacuation rally points - in pertinent areas people can walk to (not drive) so as to be transported to shelter areas if needed. Here's the link about it and map.

(If at first glance it seems some areas are pretty empty, keep in mind not all of Houston has been flooded or not as badly as other areas.)
posted by barchan at 4:02 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


That fake-National-Guard-phone number thing... Sometimes I wish I still believed in hell. Why would someone, how would someone sit down and write and release things that has a very real chance of outright killing someone vulnerable!?

(I'm not talking about the people who believed it and forwarded it meaning well obviously.)
posted by seyirci at 4:22 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Politico: Trump to Visit Texas on Tuesday

"We are coordinating logistics with state and local officials, and once details are finalized, we will let you know," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "We continue to keep all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers.”
posted by box at 4:23 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I'm one of those people who would never leave their dog behind, I'm afraid.

This really makes you realise that most US cities were built so quickly they didn't have time to adapt to these big infrequent events. Both my Houston friend have probably lost their houses, it's terrible.
posted by fshgrl at 4:29 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


"We continue to keep all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers.”

Is there a single thinking person now who doesn't immediately interpret "thoughts and prayers" as "I really couldn't give a f*ck?"
posted by ryanshepard at 4:35 PM on August 27 [15 favorites]


Maybe Trump thinks he's the Pope?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:36 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

- Fred Rogers

It's a very small thing in the great scheme of things, but to be given such trust, and reward it with kindness and hospitality, well. One thing we need is hope. Here is hope for us all.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:40 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


Makes me glad to have life vest for our dogs. They hate being in the water, it turns out, but it's definitely nice to have, living in an area where surge flooding is a possibility.
posted by wierdo at 4:42 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


This really makes you realise that most US cities were built so quickly they didn't have time to adapt to these big infrequent events.

This is not how it happened. We always knew that the big infrequent events would happen, even if infrequently. NOLA was nearly wiped out several times in its past by hurricanes and epidemics. NOLA is still here because it is, as Bienville said on the occasion of founding it, "the impossible but necessary city."

Houston is now also an impossible but necessary city.

It's not that we didn't have time to prepare, it's that nobody cared.

Preparing takes time, effort, and money. It's hard to budget for those when the clouds aren't on the horizon. NOLA got its shit together just in time to save almost everybody for Katrina. (*almost, it was still an awful loss of life.) But those preparations were expensive and annoying as hell and frankly, if Katrina had fizzled, we might not have been ready if the real storm had been a bit further up the alphabet.

Being ready is expensive. Nobody is quite ready for how expensive it is unless they have experienced how expensive the alternative is.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:43 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


The President's 7th tweet about the Hurricane:
HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!
He is remarkably bad at this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:46 PM on August 27 [22 favorites]


Eyebrows, I'm not sure about the usefulness of it as a direct proxy, but according to CenterPoint 97% of the city still has power. Of course lots of areas that are flooded may still have power, and lots of those power outages may be due to downed trees and tornado/wind events. But looking at their outage map, a lot of their big outages are also in areas that have bad flooding. And areas that are flooded (or near to/blocked by floods) are much more likely to go longer without power since it will take power crew awhile to get there (so if they have an outage, but it gets fixed, that tells you something too).

If you know their address or their zip, you could use CenterPoint's Outage Tracker* to see what it's like in their area - if it looks like they have power, or its one small instance not near a waterway (which points to a tree or something) it may ease your mind. It's not a perfect proxy but maybe it could be useful?

*Alas, I find it works better in Edge than Chrome for me, FYI
posted by barchan at 4:47 PM on August 27


Maybe Trump thinks he's the Pope?

I mean, "thoughts and prayers" are basically "I can't do anything to help, I hope you guys are OK and I will ask God to look after you". But Trump is the Chief Executive of the US Government and the Commander in Chief of its army. There is literally nobody in the world with more resources at their command. So that sort of sentiment is appropriate coming from a religious leader, because their practical ability to help is very limited: they can open churches for refugees and maybe organise soup kitchens or distribution points, but that's about it. The USA has vastly more resources and (not that I believe Trump prays, or thinks) the government can't claim to be concerned unless it's actually trying to help.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:48 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


This really makes you realise that most US cities were built so quickly they didn't have time to adapt to these big infrequent events. Both my Houston friend have probably lost their houses, it's terrible.

Yeah. I've never been to Houston, but I can imagine what it would be like if the residents of Manhattan were suddenly told they all needed to evacuate in advance of a devastating hurricane.

Just seeing the people being interviewed on the news yesterday, being asked why they didn't evacuate - they said they have nowhere to go. They could literally not afford to leave their home to stay somewhere else, no place to stay, no one to take them in. I mean, I guess some of them probably could've gone off and lived in their cars somewhere?

But then a lot of people probably didn't really expect it to be as bad as it is, and no amount of weather reporting could've convinced those people otherwise. Texans are tough, prepared, etc. Houston can handle rain, etc.

Thinking of what would have to change in this country to make that sort of disaster preparation possible and accessible for everyone makes my mind reel.
posted by wondermouse at 4:50 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


It is some kind of irony that Houston has accomplished nothing toward building an "Ike Dike" in the last ten years to protect it from a category 4+ hurricane, and then to see this bizarre end run of Harvey flood it in a way that a dike wouldn't have helped. You just can never prepare enough. You can never prepare in exactly the right way.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:55 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


Yeah. I've never been to Houston, but I can imagine what it would be like if the residents of Manhattan were suddenly told they all needed to evacuate in advance of a devastating hurricane.

It would be awful. But we do have the advantage of having a comprehensive mass transit system.
posted by lalex at 4:55 PM on August 27


You can also use the Houston Flood Warning Site to check if there are channels near their homes that may have flooded - use the address feature on the right hand site and check "channel status" - if you haven't done so already!
posted by barchan at 5:03 PM on August 27


The hydrographs in the Houston area. My (amateur, NJ) experience is that the forecasted levels tend to be conservative.
posted by booksherpa at 5:32 PM on August 27


This really makes you realise that most US cities were built so quickly they didn't have time to adapt to these big infrequent events.
Houston is literally the city it is today because the hurricane of 1900 devastated nearby Galveston, nearly completely destroying the existing city and diverting development to a site that was considered safer. Well over 90% of Houston has been built since the destructive power of Gulf Coast hurricanes was amply demonstrated.
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:33 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


(Since I've already abused the edit window enough on that previous comment, I want to add separately that I am emphatically not trying to blame average Houstonians for the destruction being visited upon their city. But the people who were in charge of planning definitely should have been aware of the risks and taken them into account when deciding where and how to develop.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:38 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Texas flood disaster: Harvey has unloaded 9 trillion gallons of water
The total rainfall from the storm is likely to tally up to a widespread 15 to 30 inches, with a few localized spots picking up 50 inches or more. Many textbooks have the 60-inch mark as a once-in-a-million-year recurrence interval, meaning that if any spots had that amount of rainfall, they would essentially be dealing with a once-in-a-million-year event.
posted by Buntix at 5:39 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]




You know, many of us live in cities and towns that are poorly planned or in crazy locations from the point of view of public safety in a natural disaster. Houston is hardly unique or uniquely deserving of criticism.
posted by spitbull at 5:50 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


If you know their address or their zip, you could use CenterPoint's Outage Tracker* to see what it's like in their area - if it looks like they have power, or its one small instance not near a waterway (which points to a tree or something) it may ease your mind. It's not a perfect proxy but maybe it could be useful?

Also, if you're curious about a specific block check Snapchat's map. It's incredibly useful for figuring out if an area is experiencing flooding.
posted by DynamiteToast at 5:53 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


If there is a single city in the world that could do a great job of handling fifty inches of rain in a few days--or even thirty inches--I want to hear about it!
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 5:54 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


Houston is actually uniquely bad on several different axes, and we need to talk about that if we're going to talk about this city surviving climate change.
posted by lalex at 5:57 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]



The President's 7th tweet about the Hurricane:
HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming. Spirit of the people is incredible.Thanks!
He is remarkably bad at this.


I just? he sounds ... proud? that such a big storm happened during his presidency? like it makes him look impressive bc a really big thing happened? like he thinks he had something to do with the strength and size of the storm? like the bigness of it makes him bigger??? wha
posted by poffin boffin at 5:57 PM on August 27 [32 favorites]


we need to talk about that if we're going to talk about this city surviving climate change.

(which doesn't have to be right this second)
posted by lalex at 5:58 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


big boy make big storm!
posted by barchan at 5:59 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


[bunch of penis jokes deleted]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:03 PM on August 27 [22 favorites]


> The horrifying part is that there are still areas forecast for another 20 inches between now and Friday.

The latest NWS forecast [twitter link w/ charts] is suggesting another 22" to 28" in places. Presumably the increasing estimates are due to it being projected to pick up more moisture if it goes back out to the Gulf.
posted by Buntix at 6:06 PM on August 27


I just? he sounds ... proud? that such a big storm happened during his presidency? like it makes him look impressive bc a really big thing happened? like he thinks he had something to do with the strength and size of the storm? like the bigness of it makes him bigger??? wha

My read on his tweets is that he wants to deflect any potential criticism in advance. He wants to make the point that this is a uniquely bad storm, like, the worst, so really anything he does in response is impressive, because... look, it's a really bad storm, OK? The flooding is really bad. I guess we're supposed to be glad he's talking about it at all.
posted by wondermouse at 6:07 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


I like that, wondermouse. But I wouldn't be surprised if he legitimately believes that mother nature "waited" until he was president to unleash such a storm because it "knew" he and he alone could handle it, and of course it would do it in Texas because only Texans could handle it, or some shit like that. Or, it could be like my mother said this morning (ugh), "Thank god Obama isn't president right now, Texas would be screwed!"
posted by barchan at 6:10 PM on August 27


Wasn't there chatter after Katrina that said maybe New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt if it was so susceptible to flooding?
posted by rhizome at 6:12 PM on August 27


The geology of New Orleans is pretty clear. It's not going to be there in a hundred years. If you build a Verrazano Narrows floodgate, New York could be though. An Ike Dike could keep Houston viable.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:23 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


My family lived in Houston for a couple of years when I was a kid. I remember crazy, heavy rainfalls and flooding, but nothing that would have made me think the city shouldn't exist. Admittedly that was a long time ago, but I'm not prepared for this idea of Houston being a city that shouldn't exist. And I hated Houston with a passion.

(I've been back as an adult and liked it very much and this is terrible)
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:28 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Ugh.

[WaPo] The country’s flood insurance program is sinking. Rescuing it won’t be easy.
The extreme cases are only a fraction of the NFIP’s 5 million active policies, but they historically have accounted for about 30 percent of its claims. And while they’re a financial albatross for taxpayers, the claims are hardly the program’s only challenge.

The NFIP, which must be reauthorized by the end of September, is nearly $25 billion in the red — a debt that administrator Roy Wright says he sees no way to pay back.

And this was BEFORE Harvey.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:30 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The topography of NO and Houston are dramatically different. Like, there isn't really good comparisons of topography aside from that they are both closer enough to the coast to be hit by hurricanes .
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:31 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


My family made it out of Sweeney, Tx they say they are expecting a crest wed 10 feet over record flood stage (from family, not from direct new source). This would be Brazoria county .
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:37 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Roundup of numbers on CNN's feed right now. Hmm, can you spot the outlier that seems like a small problem right now?

Here's an overview of where things stand as of Sunday night across Texas, based on information from city, state, and federal officials:

56,000 phone calls to Houston 911 in little more than 15 hours
More than 1,500 people in Houston-area shelters
One person arrested for attempting to loot a gas station
306,058 power outages across Texas
54 counties included in state disaster declaration
In Austin, 422 active power outages affecting 12,218 customers

posted by nakedmolerats at 6:40 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


9 trillion gallons is...christ, 34 cubic kilometers!
posted by notsnot at 6:42 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


The county is calling for folks on the backsides of Addicks and Barker reservoirs to prepare to evacuate in the morning. Maps are being distributed showing potential flooded areas. It's a target evacuation, not a general evacuation.

The Army Corp of Engineers will be doing a controlled release of Addicks to prevent and uncontrolled release later.
posted by beowulf573 at 6:47 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


We spent a lot of time in the Interdimensional Transponder (the closet) during tornado warnings, but most didn't touch down. There's one gas station nearby with the cover torn off, which might have been from a tornado. We're on high ground, so the floods didn't get us.

9 trillion gallons, just wow.
posted by BeeDo at 6:52 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


The homes that will be flooded by the release will be flooded for two months, reports the guardian.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:59 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


HEB, the real MVP
posted by peeedro at 7:04 PM on August 27 [15 favorites]


This Twitter thread is a really interesting "Houston floodsplainer": There will inevitably be extreme hottakes regarding flood planning and monday-morning QB-ing of officials. This is for context.
posted by lalex at 7:04 PM on August 27 [26 favorites]


9 trillion gallons is...christ, 34 cubic kilometers!

34 km^3 is a 6.4 km square filled as deep as the Burj Khalifa. Christ, indeed.
posted by stevis23 at 7:11 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Was just coming here to share the thread lalex linked above; lots of good background info there (not just on the evacuation question, but on geography/hydrology, urban planning, past and present flood control and mitigation plans, etc). It's really worth reading.

Also, in good news, from the local ABC station: "JUST IN: PETS ARE ALLOWED AT EVACUEE SHELTERS! Judge @EdEmmett and Mayor @SylvesterTurner do not want people outside with their animals." So glad to see this; that's one of the biggest reasons people hesitate to evacuate. At the least, this will probably mean fewer people have to be rescued; very possibly, it will save lives.
posted by karayel at 7:25 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


That was excellent, lalex, thank-you.

I'm on my third re-read of that ProPublica article linked here earlier and this time another point leaped out at me: the amount of impervious surface (surface which the water runs off of instead of being absorbed) increased in Houston over 25% from 1996 to 2011, and wetlands (which absorb water) decreased by 30% from 1992 - 2010. Jesus.

I bet the writers of that piece are feeling just sick right now.
posted by barchan at 7:26 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


9 trillion gallons is...christ, 34 cubic kilometers!

Just under two Great Salt Lakes.
posted by theodolite at 7:28 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


If there is a single city in the world that could do a great job of handling fifty inches of rain in a few days--or even thirty inches--I want to hear about it!

City of Tulsa can handle that sort of thing without it going beyond street flooding, but it took multiple devastating floods over the course of a decade for people to finally become willing to spend the tax money. Hundreds of millions were spent over the course of a decade and a half buying flood prone properties and building better storm sewers, outlet channels, retention and detention ponds, etc. It doesn't even waste too much land since a lot of it is used for ball fields and other park like things, and in exchange, very little damage is done even in a 500 year flood.

All the surrounding cities, on the other hand have houses flooded out several times a year by less than 100 year floods because they refuse to spend money on flood control. People move to these suburbs precisely because they have lower tax rates. I'm not sure if they think all of Tulsa's flood control structures are there for show or what, but they sure seem all too happy to risk their life and property to save a couple grand a year at best.

Anyway, my point isn't to shame anybody, just to say that yes, it is expensive to defend against flooding like this, but it can be done. It can't save everything, but it still makes a huge difference.
posted by wierdo at 7:33 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


The Measure of Things: How big is 34 cubic kilometers?

It's about 60 times as big as Sydney Harbour.
In other words, 34 cubic kilometers is 60.5 times the size of Sydney Harbour, and the size of Sydney Harbour is 0.0165 times that amount.

It's about 30,000 times as big as The Houston Astrodome.
In other words, 34 cubic kilometers is 28,000 times the size of The Houston Astrodome, and the size of The Houston Astrodome is 0.000036 times that amount.


It's about one-seventy-thousandth as big as The Gulf of Mexico.
In other words, 34 cubic kilometers is 0.00001397 times the size of The Gulf of Mexico, and the size of The Gulf of Mexico is 71,580 times that amount.

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:48 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


If there is a single city in the world that could do a great job of handling fifty inches of rain in a few days--or even thirty inches--I want to hear about it!
----
City of Tulsa can handle that sort of thing without it going beyond street flooding...


So, knowing Tulsa and thinking of it as fairly dry, I took a look at the Tulsa rainfall records at NWS. Tulsa hasn't received over 56" in a year, and then only cracked 50"/year twice in the last 20 years, and in 5 or 6 years going back to 1888. It has never received 60" or more in a year. Indeed no monthly total exceeds 10" except for May 2015, when they had 14".

So I sort of doubt Tulsa could handle 4 feet of rain in one week, or if so, aggrieved taxpayers may have a point.
posted by spitbull at 7:56 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


One quibble about the Twitter explainer posted above: Continued growth is no excuse for poor flood control. Many other cities place very stringent runoff requirements on new developments. If the necessary infrastructure to deal with it downstream isn't in place already, the developer gets to either build it or pay a proportionate part of the cost to build whatever project will enable them to meet the standards.

Again, it isn't a panacea. 20-30" of rain in a day is going to cause trouble no matter what you do, but damage is significantly reduced when storm water is considered as important as having vehicular access or a sewer hookup.

What really gets my goat is places where it is perfectly legal for people upstream to pave over vast swaths of land, thus causing downstream flooding where it never was a risk before. IMO every jurisdiction should require that water discharge from a property at no greater a rate than it would have naturally. (In other words, developers should be required to control their runoff such that rain falling on impervious surfaces is handled in such a way that the amount of absorption into the ground is the same as it was before the land was developed) At least then nobody is making things worse for existing residents.
posted by wierdo at 7:58 PM on August 27 [16 favorites]


One quibble about the Twitter explainer posted above: Continued growth is no excuse for poor flood control.

Oh, I agree completely. And Houston has particularly ridiculous growth (non)policies.
posted by lalex at 8:04 PM on August 27


The Measure of Things: How big is 34 cubic kilometers?

37,000 Empire State Buildings
3700 Boeing Everett Factory Buildings (that thing is ~10 stories tall)
posted by rhizome at 8:07 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


The Houston Chron recently posted this drone footage of the area near the Medical Center
posted by barchan at 8:25 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


9 trillion gallons is...christ, 34 cubic kilometers!

The way that this scares me is as about 7 percent of Lake Erie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:28 PM on August 27 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: bunch of penis jokes deleted
posted by en forme de poire at 8:51 PM on August 27 [19 favorites]


Japan spent some 2 billion dollars (not inflation adjusted from 1993) building some insanely large and powerful underground waterway system to handle the monsoon season, to prevent the surrounding areas from being devastated from flooding. This was in response to repeated flooding in Tokyo, and that was largely due to concrete used in urbanization unable to absorb the same amount of water as the natural landscape it replaced, which we are also seeing here.

Atlas Obscura has some good pictures that give a sense of scale for how enormous those tanks are.

However, Harvey's 9 trillion gallons of water in 1 week works out to 55,000 tonnes of water per second, far in excess of the impressive 200 tonnes of water per second that the pumps in the system could handle. (I was unable to find any other numbers to do a meaningful comparison with.)

Seeing the size of those tanks compared to a semi-truck in those pictures, and knowing how ineffectual that the pumps in Japan's system would be, really drives home how much water we're talking about, and how dire the situation is.
posted by fragmede at 8:56 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


This is so small compared to everything else, but the fucking baseball cap that the PINO is wearing in many of the recent Harvey-related pictures of him is for sale on the Trump-Pence website for $40 because of course it is.

Good luck, Houston. I'm sorry you got whacked with a 500 year storm while we have an idiot in charge. I hope he delegates to competent people.
posted by booksherpa at 9:01 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Well over 90% of Houston has been built since the destructive power of Gulf Coast hurricanes was amply demonstrated.

Oh I know but it's different when your city has been there 1,000 years and planners have that knowledge and history to draw on. It's super hard to predict what could happen, compared to knowing what has happened. The flood defenses around London are amazing but that's because of centuries of flooding and engineering to prevent it. Hard to replicate that in 40 or 50 years either planning wise or construction wise. Also the discharge records used to calculate the size of predicted storms are pretty short most places, 100 years is a real long one in the US

I'm not criticising Houston at all, I think this was a nearly unpredictable event and if you did predict it the odds of it happening within your planning window are so miniscule you'd never plan for it because of the cost. All you can really do is deal with it when it happens.
posted by fshgrl at 9:24 PM on August 27


However, Harvey's 9 trillion gallons of water in 1 week works out to 55,000 tonnes of water per second, far in excess of the impressive 200 tonnes of water per second that the pumps in the system could handle.

The 9 trillion figure refers to (southeast) Texas, which is...big. I don't think it's possible to make meaningful comparisons here unless we know the coverage areas of these drain systems.
posted by lalex at 9:28 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


That lalex link to a Twitter thread is so worth it for this:
"Wait are you Matt Memorial High School Class of 2001 Cheerleader Corbett?"
posted by perhapses at 9:39 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


Not to continue the 34 cubic km derail, but... That's approximately all the water in Crater Lake (18.7 km^3), plus filling the caldera until the water starts pouring over the edges.
posted by miguelcervantes at 10:30 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


So basically it's a metric fuckton of water is what we're saying.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:37 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


This is America, it's an Imperial fuckton.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:39 PM on August 27 [72 favorites]


The rain is historic and horrific . Adding to the rain totals is that traditionally hurricanes move, and that the wind patterns of hurricanes is still causing storm surge and is still affecting drainage in the south of Houston. Until it leaves, the normal way things drain into the gulf is slowed down/stopped .
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:46 PM on August 27


In high values of Imperial, Metric things happen.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:48 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


spitbull, Tulsa has been known to be subject to tropical rains at times with very high rainfall rates.

That's not even the point, though. Obviously drainage systems must be tailored to the area they serve. Whether it be Houston, South Florida, NYC, or Phoenix, the 100/500/1000 year floods and their attendant peak rainfall rates and storm total precipitation amounts can be designed for.

Even that is way off in the weeds. It isn't about specific amounts of water, it's about a system of dealing with flooding rains. Don't think Houston is even near the top of my list of places that have shot themselves in the foot on this subject. Sadly, it is something nearly every city will have to deal with thanks to the warming climate. Even in places that trend drier overall in a warmer world will see increased maximum rainfall rates which lead to catastrophic flooding.

None of this is to say that anyone deserves to have any of this happen to them. I don't blame individuals, on the whole. There are exceptions, of course. I have little sympathy for the property damage one of my clients is almost certain to suffer one day given that their house is steps away from a historically very flood prone river that just happens to have been quiet for the past half century or so. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he built the place. On the whole, however, people are looking for habitable places that they can afford. Renters especially don't really have the risk disclosed to them in a meaningful way, much less explained. Even many to most homeowners have zero idea what their flood risk is in a general sense, much less anything more specific if they weren't required to buy flood insurance as a condition of the mortgage.

Obviously a storm with rain like Harvey is going to do a number on any location it hits, but the freshwater flooding could be mitigated much better than it is in most cities. To be fair to Houston, they have been doing a lot of good work recently, but as far as I can tell they have done very little to stop new unprotected structures from being built or even to require mitigation of runoff from new developments. Sadly, the damage done by floods does not scale linearly with the crest height. Every inch you can take off the top in an extreme situation makes a much greater difference than taking an inch off a minor flood, thanks to the way the topography usually works out. Similarly, when the thousands of new subdivisions covering the suburbs upstream cover the land with roofs and driveways and roads and sidewalks, that water runs off and drastically increases peak flows downstream, leading directly to many of the horror stories we are witnessing unless developers are forced to contain their water on site to the maximum extent feasible.

The point being that flooding is a serious tragedy of the commons issue. What I do on my property has effects on everyone downstream between me and the nearest ocean. For that reason, I consider it to be a failure of leadership when the damage is so much worse than it has to be. It would be bad regardless, but the lack of comprehensive regional flood planning with actual teeth is making it far worse than it has to be.

I'm not saying Tulsa is perfect. As I said, their suburbs still don't get it and there is plenty more to be done. It does set a fine example of how a city can get serious about flood control and make a very big difference. Nature will do what nature will do, but that is no reason not to try to ameliorate the consequences as much as possible.
posted by wierdo at 3:14 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Sorry for getting a bit argumentative. Now isn't really the time for it. Suffice it to say that when it comes to deadly flash flooding, it's the rainfall rate that matters most. I'll leave it at that while people's lives are still in immediate danger.
posted by wierdo at 3:28 AM on August 28


spitbull, Tulsa has been known to be subject to tropical rains at times with very high rainfall rates.

I've been in a few Tulsa thunderstorms. I know. But you asserted confidently that Tulsa could handle rain on the order of Houston's this week -- 4 feet of rain in a few days. Tulsa has never, in modern recorded history, received more than 14 INCHES in a single month, and that only once in 2015. Its month average is more like 4 inches. So there is simply no basis for equivalency with Houston, nor any reason to assert that Tulsa's fine runoff controls would not completely melt down if it received a foot in a week, let alone four feet in a week. Tulsa has only rarely exceeded four feet in a YEAR, and most years gets three feet or less. The NWS numbers include any and all precipitation events. Tulsa still managed to flood pretty regularly until recently, as you pointed out.

Why does it matter? Because you asserted that if taxpayers just ponied up enough that a city could manage Houston-level massive rainfall and runoff and cited Tulsa as an example of a place that could easily handle Houston's current rain levels. That's simply not true. No American city could handle four feet of rain in a week without bad flooding, and it boggles the mind to think what level of infrastructural amelioration it would require to do so (see Tokyo comments above).

You implied (as do others) that Houston cheaps out on flood and runoff management compared to Tulsa, and that if Houstonians just paid higher taxes we wouldn't be watching Houston drown. Yes, like many cities Houston has allowed dangerous levels of growth given its location and topography, and has not invested sufficiently in infrastructure to handle its growth, but it isn't like "oh if we had just raised a few more millions in taxes we'd have been fine" under a week long deluge of feet of water.

No American city could handle this. No city in the world, most likely, could handle this. There's a note of blaming Houston for failure to be prepared here. I wonder if people will say that when an 8.0 temblor hits Seattle or San Francisco -- oh well, shouldn't have built a city over a major subduction zone! You can ameliorate large scale disasters. But you can't make them trivial once they reach a certain scale.

Houston is receiving the equivalent of a slow motion tsunami. There was no way to plan for this as a runoff management exercise, only as a disaster management exercise.

Tulsa is on a river bluff. Its flood risks -- always in spring -- are predictable and manageable and they have done a great job of limiting what were once very common deadly floods. I'm not knocking Tulsa. I'm just saying there is zero reason to say Tulsa could easily handle feet of rain. No way.

Oklahoma, by the way, has the lowest business tax burden statewide of any US state, I believe. It also has one of the highest sales tax burdens. So Oklahoma's tax system is massively regressive.
posted by spitbull at 4:14 AM on August 28 [28 favorites]


That said and as a former Texan, the attitude toward uncontained growth on the cheap with disregard for risks and dangerous focus on short term profit was striking to me in the 1990s, back when Austin was in a furious battle to save the Barton Creek watershed to the Edwards Aquifer as the city began an explosion of growth and development to its drier western environs. (Passing through the hill country now makes me so sad. It all seems so doomed. )

There is plenty of blame to go around for the interests who have developed Houston leveraging Texas' atrocious concern for the public good and total focus on making money at all costs. Then again we all benefit from that as we use the petroleum products, for example, being refined along the Gulf Coast at terrible long term costs to the sustainability of life on the coast. We look the other way when we get $2.30/gal gas or a $300 cross country flight, but we bear moral responsibility for not paying to protect people or nature where that fuel is mined and refined.

Anyway I'm certainly not praising Houston's development planing process.
posted by spitbull at 5:45 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Houston actually raised taxes to improve drainage around the city. Everyone paid more on their water bill. It's especially impressive because 90% of most flooding affects only poor neighborhoods. It's not enough money, but it made me think of the guy that wanted to move the elementary school in Cannon Beach, Oregon out of reach of tsunamis and the town voted it down.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:40 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Some more info on the water release at Addicks and Barker reservoirs. And here's the very detailed maps of the areas by the reservoirs with foot-by-foot markings of which houses might flood.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]




Scientific American, Hurricane Harvey: Why Is It So Extreme?
posted by theora55 at 8:15 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Humanity never fails to amaze me (bats being rescued) and disappoint me (stupid comments on those tweets).
posted by AFABulous at 8:32 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Humanity never fails to amaze me (bats being rescued) and disappoint me (stupid comments on those tweets).

At least the stupid comments got told they were stupid comments. The thread after the person who said 'humans first, she should be out in a boat' is pretty funny.
Boat? Do you see boat? Where is this magical boat that you think she has?
posted by Jalliah at 8:40 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Yo, haters. Bats eat mosquitoes. You live in a malarial swamp.
posted by spitbull at 8:43 AM on August 28 [26 favorites]


Dr Jeff Masters is a national hurricane information treasure.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:45 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


CNBC lets Bush's disgraced FEMA director exploit hurricane to pitch privatizing National Flood Insurance ProgramWhile admitting private insurers "don't want to cover floods," Mike Brown still calls for "privatizing" the flood insurance system relied on by millions
posted by tonycpsu at 8:55 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


The flood insurance articles that are coming out in the context of Harvey are very interesting to me. We live in a flood-prone neighborhood in Michigan, in a neighborhood built in the 50s in what would now be, a friend who is a deputy drain commissioner tells, a protected wetland. We have routine spring floods due to poor drain planning--a bunch of upstream development some years ago, without any upgrade to the water management system, means that it's easily overwhelmed. There is a short stretch of road near the drainage stream that floods and is closed every spring, and once or twice a year in heavy rains water covers the road in front of our house for part of a day.

In our neighborhood, you can be in the flood plain and required to carry insurance, and your next-door neighbor can be not in the flood plain and not required to carry it. As a result, our family has a $1400 annual insurance bill that many of our neighbors don't. That premium has more than doubled following catastrophic flooding elsewhere--Katrina and Sandy, for instance. We're in a desirable neighborhood, in the sense that it is the least-expensive neighborhood in a very expensive school district, with houses averaging more than 100k less than the median home price for the district. Meaning, young families will always want to get into this neighborhood to get their kids into the schools here. And houses don't come onto the market very often--in the houses immediately around us, we are the second-most recent to move in, and we've been here 15 years. In a different kind of neighborhood, with more turnover in housing, I'd be very worried about our ability to sell our house someday when we're ready to move, if people had a choice of a similar house three doors down, at a similar price, with no flood insurance requirement.

The flood insurance program, to my mind, is a bad insurance program: it only covers people who are almost certain to need it at some point. Therefore, premiums are expensive, even if below market cost, and payouts are huge. And the risk is shared by communities like Houston and New York City, where a serious flood can be catastrophic for millions of people, and neighborhoods like mine, where a couple of hundred houses, at most, would be affected in the most serious flood. I am entirely in favor of helping people in those cities, but the rise in our premiums has been very stressful.

I am hopeful that fatalities will remain low. I hope, too, that we will have the will and the imagination to create evacuation plans for future events that don't rely on each family's individual resources in order for them to be safe.
posted by Orlop at 9:00 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


woof. brother and his family, who live north of Houston and had been riding the storm out (without even really losing power) are being asked to evacuate.

since my brother's an actuary, I sincerely hope his insurance is up to snuff. They're not sure what's going to happen to their house.
posted by dismas at 9:04 AM on August 28


We've hit the point where everyone is sharing donation links to the Red Cross and all I can think of is the shitshow they put on after Sandy. And Isaac. And the Haiti earthquake. I'm hoping they've had a major change in leadership and priorities since Sandy, but if so I missed it.

Anyone got links to local groups to support?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:18 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


"Anyone got links to local groups to support?"

This thread on Twitter has several great local donation suggestions.
posted by komara at 9:21 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Thing is, Houston has terrible flooding problems even in lesser storms. And instead of improving flood control, they have let more and more flood-buffer zones be turned into a concrete, as noted above. So while it's probably true that you can't prepare for a 500 year storm, or at least prepare in a way that makes economic sense, they can't even deal with 5 year storms and that *is* a sign of terrible planning.
posted by tavella at 9:22 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


From Brujita's post waaay above:

Houston Food Bank
832-369-9390
houstonfoodbank.org

Galveston Food Bank
409-945-4232
galvestoncountyfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)
361-578-0591
victoriafoodbank.org
Closed Friday

Corpus Christi Food Bank
361-887-6291
foodbankcc.com

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)
409-839-8777
setxfoodbank.org

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)
956-682-8101
foodbankrgv.com

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)
979-779-3663
bvfb.org

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)
512-282-2111
centraltexasfoodbank.org

San Antonio Food Bank
210-337-3663
safoodbank.org
posted by brujita at 1:51 PM on August 27 [18 favorites +] [!]
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:23 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]




Came in to post this link to Texas Monthly, Here Are Ways You Can Help People During Hurricane Harvey.
posted by theora55 at 9:53 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Scientific American, Hurricane Harvey: Why Is It So Extreme?
How can Harvey produce such extreme rainfall even though it is no longer over the ocean?

The answer to this is fascinating. Normally a hurricane pulls moisture up from the ocean and releases it as rain all around the storm’s area, particularly in the northeastern quadrant. But Harvey has dropped so much water over such a large area of southeastern Texas that the storm is pulling that water back up into itself and dumping it again as more rain. The flood area is so far and wide that it is acting like part of an ocean, feeding warm moisture up into Harvey. “You only need about 50 percent of the land to be covered with water for that to happen,” Masters says. “Obviously we have more than that in Texas.”
Ouch.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on August 28 [33 favorites]




Here's an update on the pet shelter situation from Austin Pets Alive (they're helping to relocate pets from Houston-area shelters and other pet-rescue efforts). They need donations (check the website before making an in-kind donation) and foster homes (esp. fosters who can take in big dogs, who don't have other dogs, and/or who can care for a pet with medical needs). They are expecting many more pets to arrive once the roads start clearing. They also need local folks to register to be on-call volunteers for the next week-plus.

Best Friends is also sending a disaster response team to the area. You can contribute directly to their disaster reserve fund.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:53 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I've told the story before on the blue about how my Coast Guard ship was told not to take on pets (specifically to "destroy" dogs) when we were picking up refugees in a massive influx of rafters from Cuba in '94. The captain of our ship threw that order in the trash with little more than some idle profanity and we went to work picking up dogs along with people. Far as I could tell, that order received about the same amount of respect on other ships, too.

Twitter evidence suggests Coasties still have certain feelings about pets.

The Coast Guard's motto is "Semper paratus," which is supposed to mean "always ready," but per the retweet that brought this to my attention it's more like "always awesome."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:11 AM on August 28 [25 favorites]


APA are a kickass local org and I'm not remotely surprised they are in the middle of this. We've already volunteered to take in fosters through the other rescue we happen to work with if need be, but I can check and see if we should directly work with APA instead.
posted by sciatrix at 11:18 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Also - a rescue group in Hankamer, TX is taking on water and needs to relocate their dogs - they're looking for (a) big dog crates (b) temporary fosters and (c) local people with boats or trailers who can move dogs w/ crates ASAP. Here's a post about it on the FB page of Second Chance Rescue (a NYC org that they partner with) -- [CW: all dogs are OK right now, but the post does contain pics of dogs in rising waters]. Here's a tweet you can amplify [again, pics of dogs in water].
posted by melissasaurus at 11:59 AM on August 28


the storm is pulling that water back up into itself and dumping it again as more rain.

Well, that's sort-of still good news, though, right? If it's just recycling water in a circle, there's at least no more being added.
posted by ctmf at 12:01 PM on August 28


there's at least no more being added.
Well, if it's taking it from downstream and depositing it upstream (and the storm rotates counter-clockwise) that's not so good.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:06 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


more is being added from the gulf.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:07 PM on August 28


Picture showing flows from the gulf

good news is the brown color is dry air, and there's a chance the dry air will starve the eye of any more fuel from the gulf.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:11 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


We've hit the point where everyone is sharing donation links to the Red Cross and all I can think of is the shitshow they put on after Sandy. And Isaac. And the Haiti earthquake. I'm hoping they've had a major change in leadership and priorities since Sandy, but if so I missed it.

Yes, if anyone knows of any "here's how the Red Cross is still/not still screwing up, please share them, I'd like to educate some of my bleeding liberal friends about some of the lovely things they've done. /s Thanks!
posted by Melismata at 12:18 PM on August 28


Directly from the 10AM NHC discussion :
Due to... a dry slot seen in water vapor imagery over the southern part of the circulation... only slight strengthening is anticipated while Harvey remains over the Gulf of Mexico.
Annika Cicada's link is to water vapor imagery, and the brown area is the dry slot they are discussing above.
posted by suckerpunch at 12:20 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


It's so frustrating to follow this from so far away. My mum is transferring some money to me so I can donate tomorrow, but it feels like a drop in a huge ocean.

Here is a sweet dog story, not all pets are drowning.
posted by mumimor at 12:46 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]






[One deleted. Sorry, but let's not be liveblogging the worst stuff we hear, please. If there's some goal, like getting the word out about something that can help others or help the principals somehow, or be in any way useful or enlightening, that's one thing, but just "here's something tragic that happened" is not a good direction to go here.]
posted by taz at 1:15 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Buzzfeed is collecting and updating a list of all the hoaxes, fake news stories, and fake images that are going around. There might be other lists elsewhere too, this is just the first one I saw. It's at least a starting place for people to check before they share/retweet something.
posted by primalux at 1:22 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Great article from Pro Publica and the Texas Tribune published in Dec 2016, showing that Houston's development practices were making catastrophic floods almost inevitable.

Also Ted Cruz and 20 other members of congress from Texas voted against making federal funds available for cleanup from Hurricane Sandy.

(whoops, it looks like someone linked to the pro publica article earlier -- i searched but didnt see it. apologies!)
posted by mrmurbles at 1:51 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


While many reach out to support their neighbors in this crisis, televangelist Joel Osteen, leader of what has been called the largest church in Texas (and also located in the Houston area) is taking on water for keeping his stadium-sized church closed to those in need.

He's also blocking Twitter followers that ask about it.
posted by darkstar at 2:14 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


His stadium-sized church is the actual arena where the Rockets NBA team used to play. So, not an exaggeration.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:18 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


It also was a concert venue. I'm constantly amused that where I went to see Sammy Hagar, Ronnie James Dio and Ozzie is now a church.
posted by beowulf573 at 2:21 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


His stadium-sized church is the actual arena where the Rockets NBA team used to play. So, not an exaggeration.

(with apologies to Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond)

If you let a person shelter from the storm in your mega-church-arena,

They'll want food from the concessions stand.

That shit ain't free!
posted by mikelieman at 2:22 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


As Jesus says perfectly clearly in the New Testament, "What have the poor ever done for me?"
posted by thelonius at 2:39 PM on August 28 [30 favorites]


In non-Houston Harvey news, here in New Orleans our mayor has recommended we all stay home tomorrow. Schools are closed, libraries are closed, city services are apparently closing as well.

Also for years we've been reciting the pumping capacity mantra of "our system can handle 1 in. of water in the first hour and 1/2 in. every hour thereafter" and just now the mayor said, "I haven't seen any evidence of that. [L]ike a myth, we don't know whether its real."

I don't mean to diminish what's happening in Houston by talking about our woes which can't even begin to compare to the loss of life and property that's happening in Texas at the moment. I'm just astounded that in this post-Katrina life of ours we found out in the flooding three weekends ago that our pumps were royal fucked and this in the middle of hurricane season? And now we have our leader saying, "Well, best I can say is that technically we own some pumps? Maybe?" It just makes me want to throw things.

... so I threw some money at the Houston Food Pantry since I couldn't think of what else to throw.

Best of luck to everyone else out there on the Gulf coast in the next few days.
posted by komara at 2:44 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


Joel Osteen and the rest of the Prosperity Gospel hucksters are rat fucking evil shit gibbons, and if there is a God in heaven, he will strike them with thirst so that they perish dry in the floods.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:47 PM on August 28 [37 favorites]


I thought Joel Osteen had abandoned the jesus grift for MLM of skin care products?
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:02 PM on August 28


I saw Ice Cube, PE, Geto Boys, and others at the venue that Osteen bought. That was such a better use of the space. He has always been a phony creep with an awful smile. Of course people will still flock to his fake church because he makes them feel like sitting in a former basketball arena listening to feelgood claptrap for one hour a week is what Jesus wanted for them.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:36 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Just got a text from a friend out there. Looks like the La Porte DuPont plant had a spill. Residents advised to stay inside, possibly poisonous gas in air.
posted by zabuni at 3:50 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Also for years we've been reciting the pumping capacity mantra of "our system can handle 1 in. of water in the first hour and 1/2 in. every hour thereafter" and just now the mayor said, "I haven't seen any evidence of that. [L]ike a myth, we don't know whether its real."

Oh please, this has been driving me crazy since August. It's not rocket science. The number and capacities of the pumps are well known, and you can divide that by the area of the city and figure out how much water they can remove. Don't take my word for it. Math is a thing. During that first hour, it is assumed that much of the water is going into catch basins, ditches, and sewers; once those reservoirs are full, it's all pumps. Thus the one inch then half an inch specs. And in normal historical circumstances, a large area of rain dumping half an inch an hour for more than a couple of hours is considered a very, very heavy rainfall.

After the flood the S&WB people were a bit glib and it bit them on the ass, but technically they were right to say the system was working nominally. The system is designed for a certain maintenance downtime per pump, and the fact is it is very unlikely that if every pump had been at 100% the outcome would have been any different. The fact is no pumping system ever built anywhere in the world could clear 5 inches of rain in an hour. Such systems aren't built because they would be seen as billions of dollars tossed at foolishness. Where do you stop? Sure we know today that Houston could happen, but if you had told any serious meteorologist this was going to happen a month ago they would have laughed in your face.

New Orleans' pumping system was considered a wonder of the world when it was built in 1910 and continues to be. The thing is we are now getting freak weather events of a kind that had never been seen when it was built, or even for many decades afterward. That the system is being overwhelmed by these new freak events does not mean it is a crap system, or that it isn't maintained well enough, or even that we should aim to build a system that can deal with this if it happens -- how often, really? We don't know. How many billions of dollars do we spend on something that might happen at an unknown interval?

I remember freaking out after Katrina thinking this was the new normal, but in truth it's now been twelve years and the new normal has mostly taken the newly more powerful and more frequent hurricanes out over the Atlantic where they only bother ships and fish. It's easy to get pissed off when it's your furniture on the front lawn, I understand that. But it's much harder to say what needs to be invested and what measures need to be taken against events so improbable they weren't even thought to be possible until the first few took us by surprise, and even today we don't know what the frequency or limits will be.

It is just barely possible, if we threw all the money at the problem, that we might be able to build a system that could have stopped the NOLA August floods. That system wouldn't look anything like the current one; it would require turning the entire city into one big pumping station, but it is probably at least physically possible. There is no humanly attainable technology that could have saved Houston from Harvey. Such a system will never be built because we simply can't. We do not have the means. It doesn't matter how much you are willing to spend or how much you pester the politicians; it is simply not within our means with any level of attainable commitment or investment.

We may need to rethink drainage goals with the new phenomenon of training thunderstorms in mind, but part of that is going to have to be an admission that we can't possibly stop them all. Humans have done mighty and impressive things, but in the end the Earth is going to humble us.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:52 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


I watched the Who twice at the then Summit (sat right behind Keith Moon at one concert). This place is near the flooding and would certainly help folks. Osteen looks like a mighty big fool amidst all the good people out helping today. His parishioners are Houstonians seeing this and hopefully his income will dry up and blow away.

Stay safe Houston.
posted by jabo at 5:12 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


We were able to get to the local market which opened back up today. Without detracting from the horrible things going on in the city, there are a couple of funny things to note about what people buy in situations like this.

Bread: all bought, at a limit of 2 loaves per person.
Milk: all bought.
Red Bull: all bought.
Sugarfree Red Bull: none bought.
Gatorade: mostly bought, with the exception of Cherry Ice flavor.
Biscuits: all bought.
Cookies, both to-bake and ready made: all bought except for Oatmeal.
Oatmeal: all bought.

I wish I still had my boat as we are not too far from Dickinson and they could use more rescuers, but I also don't have a vehicle which could get me to Dickinson right now on the flooded roads. There's one guy around here who drives a big lifted truck with a snorkel, I bet he's out helping. Are there local rescue groups one can join as an auxiliary that coordinate volunteer efforts? For all the idiot militias we have in Texas who like to drink beer and shoot guns, you'd think we'd have some who drink beer and practice water rescues.
posted by BeeDo at 5:13 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


Reposting from (the usually horrible) Nextdoor.com to give a sense of the crisis:
Dr. Vivian here! I just got back from Grb convention center because I heard they were in desperate need of emergency room physicians. It's a disaster. New born babies, pregnant patients, fractures , dislocations, wounds , seizures, diabetic Patients without medications , psych patients, anxious patients, demented abandoned patients, hypothermic patients and the list goes on and on. The fed guards, boats and trucks keep dropping off hoards and hoards of people. It's truly unreal! People have lost everything; Crowded into the convention center; Sleeping on cots and so dependent. It's beyond depressing. Besides medical care the most needed items seem to be clothes and blankets. I wouldn't advise anyone to drive from the energy corridor to downtown Houston but please feel free to drop off any and all donations at Memorial Village ER. We will see to it that all your donations are delivered to the GRB convention center as immediate as possible
posted by Burhanistan at 5:47 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


seems we aren't getting a ton of news. Nowhere I'm I seeing this story of impending Katrina-Superdome levels of problems. But, it seems like the immensity of the floods should be causing huge catastrophe. Seems weird. Seeing the previous post...
posted by Windopaene at 6:22 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


The live /r/houston thread is pretty current, and pretty frightening.
posted by MrVisible at 6:32 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Windopaene - the weather event is not over; which leaves less time to focus on conditions in shelters.

Katrina caused major, major infrastructure damage along the I10 I12 corrordor, which caused major distribution problems which has not been the case here.

In addition, the fact that b evacuations weren't preordered means until the event is over, it won't be clear exactly who needs what and where there are lacking resources.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:42 PM on August 28


By infrastructure damage, I mean the roads being washed away, not flooding.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:55 PM on August 28


Just seemed that when the wind was blowing, we had constant news. When it was just the waters rising...ominous lack thereof. But, agreed the continuing nature is different from coverage of other major hurricane landfalls, where the copters are flying at dawn to asses the damage and report on it.
posted by Windopaene at 7:51 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


seems we aren't getting a ton of news. Nowhere I'm I seeing this story of impending Katrina-Superdome levels of problems. But, it seems like the immensity of the floods should be causing huge catastrophe. Seems weird. Seeing the previous post...

Like Katrina, the real extent of the catastrophe won't be clear until the waters recede. It was the aftermath of Katrina that was the real disaster. Right now they're still in the thick of the storm. I can't even imagine how bad it will be. I feel so strange because I just got really good news today all while people's lives are ending and being transformed forever down in Texas. Millions of people are living through a terror that will color the rest of their lives. God save them (if there is a god).
posted by dis_integration at 8:05 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


The Houston crisis isn't a hurricane landfall. That would be like calling an atomic explosion a firework. It is an entirely new thing which we have never seen before. The weather part of it is ongoing and the humanitarian catastrophe has only just begun. That food and water are running out in a city of 8 million people where most of the roads have been impassable for two days is not exactly a surprise. This is going to be a much larger problem than Katrina because even though the floodwater is fresh and won't hang around for weeks, there was no evacuation and all the people are still there and will need to eat.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:08 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Bringer Tom, I'm not going to start a big SWBNO argument here with you in this thread that should be about other things. I agree with you on the point about how no city in the world is created to withstand the kind of rain event we had, and certainly not the kind of event that Houston is facing. I'm not mad New Orleans flooded, and I don't think the pumps should somehow magically have emptied the city and kept everything absolutely dry. Even when operating at peak capacity our pumping system is not some sort of miracle.

But for you to say "After the flood the S&WB people were a bit glib and it bit them on the ass, but technically they were right to say the system was working nominally" is beyond disingenuous. There was a cascading pile of lies starting at "everything's working fine" and failing all the way down to "actually we didn't even have people manning one of the stations, so sorry it took us over an hour to bother to turn it on." If you can read that whole article and still defend the SWBNO in some way then my only conclusion would be that you must be on their payroll.

It left me and every other New Orleanian that I've talked to - with you being the sole exception - with an extreme reduction in faith that our local government is truly working to keep us safe. So when my mayor says, "Hey man we don't even know at this point if the pumps can move the volume of water that we have always thought they could" I don't think he's fighting the basic math of [number of pumps x volume per pump x time], he's saying that those incompetent fools at the Sewerage and Water Board don't even know how many of the pumps are gonna work, or which ones are going to catch on fire today, or if there's even anyone at home to turn the damn things on.

So you'll have to pardon me if Harvey's eastward sweep has me a bit on edge because I literally don't think I can trust this city's government to keep me safe. And hey, it was probably always this way, they just got caught in some lies this time but now my (likely misplaced) trust is gone and from now on every time it rains I'm gonna be stuck thinking about how Cedric Fucking Grant gets his six-figure pension after "resigning" in shame and I'm stuck with the bill for the car I had to buy to replace the one that got flooded.
posted by komara at 8:09 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


komara, you are right on every point. That the S&WB has been a bed of nepotism and corruption and waste is beyond doubt, and having it aired out is a good thing. But what bugs me is the idea that if only we had done this sooner we would have avoided the flood. People are being motivated by the idea that the flood could have been stopped if only we had fixed the system -- and no, it couldn't have.

Maybe it took this flood to shake things up but don't kid yourself that anything we fix because of this shakeup would have prevented the flood. I'm not saying things don't need to be fixed; they have needed to be fixed and for a long time. But even if those things had been fixed 20 years ago, the August floods would still have happened, because nobody has ever designed much less built a system that could have stopped them.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:19 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Can the mayor order Osteen's church to be opened to support people in need?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:56 PM on August 28


Can the mayor order Osteen's church to be opened to support people in need?

Given they're likely not paying their fair share of taxes, eminent domain that fucker, and let the "church" sue them for not letting people die.
posted by mikelieman at 10:01 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


The church came out this afternoon and said they will start taking evacuees as soon as "other" shelters are full. I don't know what that means and it wasn't clear. Considering the Convention Center is now full at 7000 in a 5000 person capacity, that may be pretty soon, though. In the meantime they will open Tuesday to start distributing supplies IIRC.
posted by barchan at 10:12 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Link.
posted by barchan at 10:13 PM on August 28


Osteen should lose his tax exemption. Hard to justify the churchiness in this light.
posted by rhizome at 11:57 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]




And you can damn well bet that a couple of years from now, they'll be bragging about how their church stepped up to play a key part in the Harvey disaster relief and recovery, never mentioning how they had to be shamed into it, but praise the lord and won't you send a check for another hundred dollars to keep Smarmy Televangelist in the luxury to which he and his brood have grown accustomed -- I mean, to support his important ministry and demonstrate your faith?
posted by darkstar at 12:09 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


eh he'll probably just say the hurricane was god's judgement because his church isn't big enough
posted by um at 12:42 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


re: NO pumps...watch the big uneasy, harry shearer's outstanding documentary film about the katrina disaster...which likely had little to do with flooding over the levees but instead shows the levees collapsed due to improper construction materials and implementation. the ace did no oversight and no follow up with contractors. there is a very good segment on an ace whistleblower who says very plainly that the pump tests were bogus; when the pumps couldn't pass the spec testing, the tests criteria were modded down.

so even if massive engineering projects are undertaken, really, there are no guarantees - except contractors get paid.

/katrina derail
posted by j_curiouser at 12:42 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Some backstory. A long read with great maps from a friend in Houston who moved there a few months ago to live near her new grandchild.
posted by mareli at 2:43 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Chef feeds thousands affected by Hurricane Harvey in Victoria, Texas

Canter is a friend of mine from my skateboarding days and an all-around solid dude. He's got a gofundme page set up for donations to feed folks affected by the hurricane.
posted by photoslob at 3:47 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


And you can damn well bet that a couple of years from now, they'll be bragging about how their church stepped up to play a key part in the Harvey disaster relief and recovery, never mentioning how they had to be shamed into it, but praise the lord and won't you send a check for another hundred dollars to keep Smarmy Televangelist in the luxury to which he and his brood have grown accustomed -- I mean, to support his important ministry and demonstrate your faith?

You underestimate them. They're already denying they ever closed their doors to flood victims
posted by MrVisible at 5:03 AM on August 29 [14 favorites]






They're reporting that the water level in Addicks is ~5 inches from the from the top of the north spillway and is expected to crest this morning. (Reported water levels in Barker are inaccurate as the gauge was flooded last night and they are trying to replace it this morning.) This means an uncontrolled release of water around the north spillway - they're saying the flow is currently ~4000 cfs from the dam and uncontrolled will add about 4500 cfs (at its peak, it will be a curve) from other areas. Part of the problem is that the Bayou has submerged the outlet from the dams. They're reluctant to note how the Bayou will rise or how it will affect surrounding areas around the dam because they don't have any historical data to use in modeling and are still working the models. But one "good" thing is that it will happen slowly, and they're hoping it might go towards a bayou that could easily handle the flow.

To quote Eric Berger, "Not an engineer, so I don't fully understand the mechanics of this. But it's a very serious situation."

(Source: the Corps of Engineers & other officials public meeting this AM.)
posted by barchan at 6:19 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


FWIW those two reservoirs (Addicks and Barker) are considered very high risk for failure with problems stemming back to the 1940s design and construction. Here's a terrifying article from 2012 with a disaster scenario and information on the structural problems. This 2016 article notes some improvements have been made but slowly and not enough.

In happier news, a couple of articles about the La Bella Vita nursing home that was rescued with the dramatic photo. La Vita Bella owner: Residents laughed, joked during wait for rescue. Also Residents in photo of flooded nursing home are ‘doing fine’. The first article has a happy photo after the rescue. Also some details to set the story straight.

The rescue was by boat and truck, not helicopter. The nursing home operator's own mother was until recently in care there. They had intended to evacuate but did not "after consulting with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services".

(I feel bad sharing all this armchair-quarterbacking stuff while the crisis is still very much under way. I'm from Houston but left long ago and am in California. Reading and synthesizing is one way I retain some connection.)
posted by Nelson at 7:02 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like:
We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously.
posted by jammer at 7:13 AM on August 29 [27 favorites]


The levee at Columbia Lakes just breached. The affected areas were under a mandatory evacuation order. Hopefully people evacuated in time.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:54 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Re climate change and Houston floods, I would like to point out that the million dollar homes of oil company executives are north of the dams, and higher elevation, and those neighborhoods are dry, while their neighbors to the south are drowning. Once again, the wealthy are insulated from their own malfeasance.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:00 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


So how big an area is imperiled by the Columbia Lakes breach?
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:13 AM on August 29


Think this map/warning is in relation to Columbia Lakes.
posted by Buntix at 8:18 AM on August 29


Of course there's a drumpf tweet from the past for this
posted by numaner at 8:25 AM on August 29


Rather a lot of fire ants [thread quite interesting from entomological perspective - in between all the people doing the kill-it-with-fire thing]

@Elisa_Raffa "JUST IN: #Harvey BREAKS record total rainfall from tropical storm. Total 49.20" near #Houston breaks previous 48" & STILL COUNTING #kolr10wx"

Houston's annual rainfall appears to be about 49" as well, so that's a year's worth.
posted by Buntix at 8:45 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Houston flood: Addicks dam begins overspill [bbc]
A major dam outside Houston has begun spilling over as Storm Harvey pushes the reservoir past capacity, Texas officials say.
Engineers have tried to prevent nearby communities from being inundated by releasing some of the water held by the Addicks dam.
But flood control official Jeff Lindner says water levels are now over the height of the reservoir edge.
They still seem confident that it won't actually fail.

There's a map posted by earlier showing areas likely to be flooded due to the controlled release which presumably will also apply to the overflow and any further releases to bring the level down.
posted by Buntix at 9:09 AM on August 29


As the storm starts to really hit Louisiana today & tomorrow, with floods already showing up there (NOLA got a flash flood warning last night), please don't forget them.

The death toll has sadly increased with the drowning of a Houston police officer in his vehicle.

2 good things: a) I'm super amazed at the Houston municipal water system & employees, who have kept their system up and running in most areas even though one of their purification plants by Lake Houston was submerged last evening. From what I understand they performed absolute heroics to keep the plant going, and while they've had to ask people to keep water use down in some areas, let's be happy that Houston has drinking water all through the city right now.

b) If y'all haven't been following the WaPo's coverage, their graphics team has done some really good work.
posted by barchan at 9:43 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


Looks like Galveston is getting it now, yuck.
posted by Melismata at 10:05 AM on August 29


George Monbiot: Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?
It is not only Donald Trump’s government that censors the discussion of climate change; it is the entire body of polite opinion. This is why, though the links are clear and obvious, most reports on Hurricane Harvey have made no mention of the human contribution to it.
posted by adamvasco at 10:14 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I do wonder a little if the Houston Astrodome could be put into service for something, but it looks like it's been closed and partially neglected for some time now. It would probably be too much to try and do anything there in the short term.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:15 AM on August 29


Still here, still have power, water, internet and a dry place. The first floor apartment below us flooded a bit (only about 6 inches of water, but it receded pretty fast) but the new residents hadn't moved in yet. We went to the Wal-Mart across the street yesterday and got stuck in a power outage. It's actually kind of funny- to echo BeeDo, the stuff that's there and that isn't-

Diet Coke- Gone
Diet Pepsi- One pack left. (It's mine now)
Water- All gone, except perrier
Chips- ALL gone, except the chicken & waffle or whatever flavor. All low fat pringles still on shelves.
Milk- Gone
Coffee- All gone, except keurig stuff
Bread- All gone, except the wheat-free stuff
Red Bull- All gone.
Monster- Lots left
Meat- Lots of larger cuts left and discounted- we really hemmed and hawed over a massive brisket for like, $5 before deciding we had no way to store it.
Ice Cream- Left alllllll over the store as people in hour+ long lines realized it wouldn't make it.

The Whataburger across the street is still closed. Happy for the employees, but sad for us because everyone talking about them has made everyone crave burgers.
posted by Torosaurus at 10:17 AM on August 29 [17 favorites]


The Astrodome was declared unsafe to occupy almost ten years ago, and not real work on it has been done since.
posted by beowulf573 at 10:30 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


The Astrodome should have been torn down as soon as the new stadium was finished. It has been a money pit ever since.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:38 AM on August 29


It is not only Donald Trump’s government that censors the discussion of climate change; it is the entire body of polite opinion. This is why, though the links are clear and obvious, most reports on Hurricane Harvey have made no mention of the human contribution to it.

It's like mass shooting syndrome. "Inappropriate to politicize this tragedy" right up until the moment that it goes down the memory hole.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:52 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


thread quite interesting from entomological perspective - in between all the people doing the kill-it-with-fire thing

To be fair, several of the people recommending flamethrowers are entomologists.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:54 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


(More in the quote-tweets than that thread though.)
posted by deludingmyself at 10:55 AM on August 29


Trump's in Corpus putting his tiny orange mitts all over the Lone Star flag and congratulating the FEMA director for "becoming very famous on television" due to Harvey.

My brain right now.
posted by marshmallow peep at 11:20 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Harvey's impact on a Hispanic neighborhood: 911 calls go unanswered and undocumented immigrants fear arrest.
posted by adamvasco at 11:25 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


My husband and I live in Dallas but we've not been down to Houston twice in the past month to MD Anderson to get a diagnosis for an unknown mass in his abdomen discovered by an MRI.
In case anyone doesn't know (and I didn't know before this whole process) - MD Anderson is the #1 Cancer Center in the world - even being a 4 hour drive away the survival rate is so high there we didn't even consider other options.

This is how amazing their staff was - Friday late afternoon there is one nurse covering for all the doctors (bless her heart) in the Sarcoma Office. She was able to get us rescheduled to the week after Labor Day and answered some much needed questions as we did not even have a diagnosis at this point.

Currently, MD Anderson is closed through at least Wednesday for outpatient services. Although my husband really needs to get started on treatment, there are so many people who are probably in a much worse stage. Through this catastrophic event and also with my husband's condition - it really teaches you to appreciate the good people in the world and really recognize and sympathize with other people suffering.

Article on MD Anderson's condition if you know anyone who has family or friends going there.
posted by hillabeans at 12:58 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


NASA JSC is closed until Tuesday the 5th but doesn't seem to have suffered major damage. During hurricanes they handoff US ISS ops to Huntsville, and they are gradually transferring responsibility back. I don't know, but I suspect it is mainly an issue with people getting to work rather than facility damage.
posted by BeeDo at 1:18 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if Houston tried to comprehensively improve its evacuation procedures after Rita? Did anyone improve contraflow, or develop evacuteer/city-assisted evacuation plans? I'm very aware of the evacuation disaster that was Rita, but I haven't been able to shake my concern that asking people to hunker down was effectively a roll of the dice, since a worst case scenario of a levee breach and people potentially being trapped in their houses with no food or supplies, and no ability to be rescued en masse seems to be playing out before our eyes.

Everyone keeps saying the mayor was right not to call for an evac order, and I'm not sure we'll know whether that was the right call until the waters recede. Lots of people rightfully say "We can't have another repeat of the Rita evacuation." But I can't help thinking that at some point, a Cat 4 or 5 will directly hit Houston, the evacuation window may only be 2 days tops, and what then? Hunkering down is not a long-term evacuation plan, and I seriously fear that even if the city makes it through without worse death tolls this time around, hunkering down might lend a false sense of security.
posted by mostly vowels at 1:34 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


There was some improvement to evacuation capacity after Rita. I know that I-45 North out of the city was modified to allow the southbound lanes in the event of evacuation, for example.

But those improvements were contemporaneous with a massive growth in Houston's population. So the practical capacity for the city to evacuate is similar to what existed during Rita.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:50 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


City of Houston also worked extensively with cities closer to the coast to coordinate evac timing, in order to maximize the number of people who could evacuate and do so quickly and safely.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 1:56 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


> To be fair, several of the people recommending flamethrowers are entomologists.

Guessing quite a few of them have accidentally Coyote-Petersened themselves with fire ants before. That said, shedloads of ants/wasps (insects, not people) and other carrion/garbage collectors are going to be a very good thing as the waters subside.

---
How cloud and data center providers are dealing with Hurricane Harvey -- There used to be quite a lot of the US internet stored round Houston, I had a couple of servers with Rackshack/Softlayer [now IBM apparently] there back in the day. A current datacentre list .

---

Hopefully not likely to be needed anymore, but found Google has map of shelters as part of their crisis mapping

---
posted by Buntix at 2:11 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]




Houston doesn't really have that huge a problem with evacuation. There are lots of safe roads away from the coast. It's not bottled in like Galveston. The problems with Rita were more psychological. There had just been a horrific hurricane (Katrina) in New Orleans. Just a few weeks after, there was another category 4, and people in Houston freaked out. Never mind that NOLA is right at sea level and Houston is 30 to 50 above, and therefore couldn't flood the same way. The point is, that a bunch of people that weren't in great danger evacuated because they were frightened. What was emphasized afterwards was that people that lived in the most vulnerable places should evacuate soonest and people in safer areas should evacuate next, etc. Really, when there hasn't been a hurricane in a few years people tend to under react to the danger. Expect another panic in the next little while if another storm comes.
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:26 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Houston is experiencing its third ‘500-year’ flood in 3 years. How is that possible?
Climatologists say the mechanism by which this is happening is fairly straightforward. “Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air,” according to the 2014 Climate Assessment produced by the U.S. government. “Global analyses show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has in fact increased due to human-caused warming. This extra moisture is available to storm systems, resulting in heavier rainfalls.”

That assessment includes this eye-opening chart on the rising prevalence of “heavy precipitation events” — defined in this case as five-year rain events, or events that have a 20 percent change of occurring in any given year.
posted by Coventry at 2:33 PM on August 29 [14 favorites]


Another issue is that evacuation models for hurricanes are generally based on flooding from storm surge (run from the water, hide from the wind). That's something that's pretty well-understood for the greater Houston area, and there are already well-established evacuation zones based on that scenario.

This type of flooding - from massive rainfall - was a completely different beast. I think this is something that will be studied extensively for future similar events, but this is completely unlike any hurricane event that Houston has dealt with before.
posted by Salieri at 2:55 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Heh. That WaPo article sure dues sidle up to its point.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on August 29


United Airlines is waiving change fees for flights from Bush Airport scheduled through Sept 12, 2017 as along as the rescheduled flight is before Nov 15, 2017. I don't think I've ever seen this large of a window before. Lots of reasons to do so though-flights crew availability, priority of humanitarian fights, affected travelers, etc.
posted by beaning at 3:04 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


We need to stop using terms like "500 year flood". These simplistic-yet-confusing statistical terms carry with it the assumption that the future will be like the past. But it won't be, global warming means that the future is most definitely different from the past. Extreme is the new normal.
posted by Nelson at 3:14 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


> “Warmer air can contain more water vapor than cooler air,” according to the 2014 Climate Assessment produced by the U.S. government

The bit in quotes is a fairly basic science fact. Possibly Christopher Ingraham just worded it badly.

It's also really really worth noting that the climate isn't a linear system where you just nudge the bell curve up a notch and a one in 500 year event becomes a one in 430 year event, the number of hurricanes per annum go up a couple. The more energy/warming there is in the system the less current models will be able to predict outcomes.

Harvey was a tropical remnant that became a hurricane, that became a previously not experienced thing.
posted by Buntix at 3:15 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Oh, I'm fully expecting another one next year if not this year.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:16 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


There are two more months in this hurricane season. And things are usually more busy at the end.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:20 PM on August 29


This type of flooding - from massive rainfall - was a completely different beast. I think this is something that will be studied extensively for future similar events, but this is completely unlike any hurricane event that Houston has dealt with before.

I keep hearing this but Allison dumped 40" of rain on Houston in 5 days in 2001. It flooded 75,000 residences and the inundation maps look a lot like Harvey. And Allison was only a tropical storm at the time.

As far as the "500" year storm that is calculated from the flows of record. It'll be recalculated after this one.
posted by fshgrl at 3:42 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I was in Houston for Allison, and it shut the city down. People who had never been flooded before were flooded. This seems significantly worse though. Addicks and Barker reservoirs weren't overflowing. there weren't so many people homeless. Maybe it's partly because it had been raining a lot before any of this started? The ground was wet and watersheds were full to begin with.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:08 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


oh hey someone found all the fire ants, all of them.
posted by lalex at 4:11 PM on August 29 [14 favorites]


I don't normally favor oil spills but . . .
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:13 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that's a kill it with fire situation if I've ever seen one.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:51 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


This was LBJ's response to Hurricane Betsy 52 years ago.
posted by brujita at 5:01 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Harvey has moved east of Houston. No more rain in the forecast. Good luck to Louisiana, may it blow through soon.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:03 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]




From ProPublica (today): Houston’s Big Dams Won’t Fail. But Many Neighborhoods Will Have to Be Flooded to Save Them.

tl;dr: not only did Houston let people build houses in areas the Army Corps consider to be actually inside the reservoirs, the housing development added a ton of non-absorbent pavement to the area.
posted by lalex at 6:00 PM on August 29 [18 favorites]


Yeah, I bike all over those two reservoirs and it is astonishing to me that the Army let developers build homes inside Addicks.

By the way, if anyone wants a copy of someone's masters thesis on the historical sites that were abandoned to construct the dams, along with a history of the people there, memail me and I'll dig it up when I can (travellig overseas far away from my flooded hometown at the moment).
posted by Burhanistan at 6:21 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


This type of flooding - from massive rainfall - was a completely different beast. I think this is something that will be studied extensively for future similar events, but this is completely unlike any hurricane event that Houston has dealt with before.
posted by Salieri at 2:55 PM on August 29 [7 favorites +] [!]


don t forget that Isaac in 2012 was a similar storm. slow mover, surge was more like cat 1, wind got up to 3, but really dropped down to 1 fast, and the Rain was epic.

Issac and Harvey are bridges between hurricanes and the more regular deluges that don't have names.
posted by eustatic at 6:42 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Hell, Houston had massive rains and flooding (the infamous "Tax Day Flood") last year way before hurricane season. We gotta adapt.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:36 PM on August 29


(I have to cop to enjoying that flood because the Hwy 6 bridge over I-10 was shut down and it became my fixed gear training hill.)
posted by Burhanistan at 7:45 PM on August 29


Looks like NRG/Reliant is going to open up as a shelter (I'd link but it's part of the Chron's continually updating catch-all article). That's great news, because the NRG complex has way more space than GRB.

And no, they are not opening the Astrodome.

Also, while the hurricane season runs through November 30th, Houston historically is safe from hurricanes post-September 24th. So in less than a month we can all take a deep breath.

Hoping those in Louisiana are doing ok.
posted by librarylis at 7:47 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


live 911 calls of new orleans street flooding here

They basically shut down the city today

The LA State DOTD has the 511LA map and downloadable app here

scrolling east on our at risk facilities map
posted by eustatic at 9:19 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Oh, I'm fully expecting another one next year if not this year.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:16 PM on August 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


Active Season means an Active Season!

Katrina / Rita
Gustav / Ike

Tax Day / Spring Flood 2016 / Louisiana August 2016

We don't seem to have enough energy or space in the Gulf for two storms at a time, but...a lot of bets are off

What's wild is that events like New Orleans Aug 2017 are not predictable like a hurricane. NWS issued the threat warning two hours after it was happening, one hour after 911 calls came in.

The "bump up" from a 2-inch in 2 hours predicted rain to a 9-inch in two hours actual rain cannot necessarily be anticipated. at least the hurricanes organize the system enough to get everyone ready.
posted by eustatic at 9:54 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Strongly agree with Nelson above re xxx-Year events. Years ago I studied river mechanics and we looked at the history of flooding - one statement I remember was that xxx-year flood events were an insurance industry construct to assign risk. But here in the real world we're dealing with an essentially infinite time series; there would seem to be no contraction to have dozens of say 500-year events back to back.

Certainly in NZ the pollies sound dumb when we have the fifth 100 year event in a year (an increasingly common occurrence whether drought or flood). And rain events and lock situations in general seem to have replaced normal weather nationwide - not that the dead-tree media ever cover that sort of thing.
posted by unearthed at 3:08 AM on August 30


a) I'm super amazed at the Houston municipal water system & employees, who have kept their system up and running in most areas even though one of their purification plants by Lake Houston was submerged last evening. From what I understand they performed absolute heroics to keep the plant going, and while they've had to ask people to keep water use down in some areas, let's be happy that Houston has drinking water all through the city right now.

That is really impressive and suggests not only heroic efforts but also a system that had some good decisions made at earlier stages to make it less vulnerable. I assume that the sewage system is no longer able to treat waste water, which is always unfortunate, but continued access to clean drinking water is huge.

We need to stop using terms like "500 year flood". These simplistic-yet-confusing statistical terms carry with it the assumption that the future will be like the past. But it won't be, global warming means that the future is most definitely different from the past. Extreme is the new normal.

I work in a field where we have to talk about flood flows and inundations all the time, and I hate the use of 2-year, 100-year, etc. It works fine as shorthand for other technical people who are communicating with each other, but it is read differently by the public and public officials. It's a scientifically correct phrasing that is absolutely guaranteed to be misunderstood and create confusion.

I think it would greatly help the public discussion about flood control and where to build or not build houses by even simply switching to percentages. Even though those are still confusing to a lot of people, saying "your house has an X percent chance of getting flooded each year" is still better than "within the X-year floodplain." I suspect there are even better options for public communication and helping policy makers, but it is frustrating how counterproductive the current language is.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:00 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


One of my besties found out his sister went missing while trying to evacuate other people. My Google fu is failing me, does anyone know if there is a centralized information clearinghouse where we can leave contact info in case, God forbid, they need to reach him with bad news? (I would also like to leave local numbers she can call when she's found, I've got people ready to shelter her.)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:20 AM on August 30


Do you know what town/neighborhood she would have been in? I haven't seen a centralized list anywhere yet, but I have seen a couple localized, crowdsourced Google spreadsheets going around that local FDs are using.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:37 AM on August 30


FYI, airbnb is waiving the service fees to match people offering free rooms with those who need urgent accommodations. Lots of rooms have been offered in the surrounding area, though it mostly seems concentrated in Austin, El Paso, etc.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:51 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


She was last seen at the omni Houston, which on a map, appears to be next to buffalo bayou and 610.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:32 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


ABC13 in Houston just started a missing persons page, where you can upload a picture and details of anyone who is missing. You can also email a name and photo to news@abc13.com.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:42 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Eric Berger/Ars Technica (also Space City Weather): This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same
I left the [Houston] Chronicle in 2015 to cover space full time for [Ars Technica]. But over the years I had built an audience [as a science writer] I felt compelled to serve, so I started Space City Weather as kind of a hobby. And it more or less remained a hobby until last week, drawing perhaps 25,000 page views a week. I had some loyal fans, but really, who wanted to read forecasts day after day when the seven-day outlook called for hot, sunny days with a slight chance of rain?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:50 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


Certainly in NZ the pollies sound dumb when we have the fifth 100 year event in a year (an increasingly common occurrence whether drought or flood)

the politicians love the bad-faith statistics embedded in "500 yr flood". you will have to pry that terminology from their cold, dead communications teams.

You hear, after every one of these "oh, but that was a freak event. we just have to get back to normal."
posted by eustatic at 9:32 AM on August 30


I think it would greatly help the public discussion about flood control and where to build or not build houses by even simply switching to percentages. Even though those are still confusing to a lot of people, saying "your house has an X percent chance of getting flooded each year" is still better than "within the X-year floodplain." I suspect there are even better options for public communication and helping policy makers, but it is frustrating how counterproductive the current language is.

A House in the "100-yr" floodplain has a 26% chance of flooding over the typical 30-year mortgage.

But the NFIP should require houses in the .2% annual, or "500-year" floodplain (see, the accurate statistic is not a good communications tool). Every flood, half or more of the house that get NFIP $$ are outside the 1% floodplain.

Louisiana has done a lot of work in this area, but still has some way to go. now, imagine the communications challenge of having a .01% rain, a .2% flood event (rain * flood control measures), category 1 hurricane winds with category 3 hurricane surge...all of which are necessary to communicate within and among the appropriate geographical context so that local government and state police can make evac calls and organize evacuations and response efforts.
posted by eustatic at 9:40 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


My complaint with "100 year flood" isn't the confusion about probability and percentages. It's that the earth is warming. Rapidly. Earth's weather is changing. We can't simply look at the past and assume the future will be the same; we know it will be different. Some of the flood estimates do try to account for this but the models are very speculative.
posted by Nelson at 9:48 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


You can stand and tell people "this land floods. It floods every 5 to 10 years and always has. It's a wetland. It has wetland soils and look- those are wetland plants. Don't build here" and they will look at the lot with starry eyes and a pout and say "well it's dry now. I want it". And then sue the zoning commission. Small towns have no hope of stopping developers or wealthy determined individuals from building, only strong and large regulatory groups with public support can (CA Coastal Commission as an example)
posted by fshgrl at 9:52 AM on August 30 [8 favorites]


If they even want to. Most towns are just as starry-eyed. "But think of the tax money!" I doubt that 30 percent of Houston wetlands that got turned into concrete over the last couple of decades faced much opposition in the city government.

Probably the most effective thing that could happen is killing the federal flood insurance. I'm sure it would cause disaster on many other fronts, but insurance companies and re-insurance companies take global warming seriously and shit mostly won't get built if it can't be insured.
posted by tavella at 10:11 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


The reviled mainstream media has been doing a great job of reporting. WaPo, NYT, Houston Chron, CBS and more. And it's a year old, but I have to share this photo of a midwife getting a ride on an inflatable swan to go deliver a baby in a Houston flood.
posted by theora55 at 10:56 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


they will look at the lot with starry eyes and a pout and say "well it's dry now. I want it"

Are there any jurisdictions which mandate flood proofing of new construction? Stilts or flood walls?
posted by Coventry at 11:24 AM on August 30


Maybe the federal flood insurance premiums could be assessed in terms of a home's flood proofing?
posted by Coventry at 11:26 AM on August 30


Or maybe, if infrastructure or buildings are damaged, they should be redesigned and rebuilt with higher levels of flooding in mind, and improve the overall climate resilience? Oh WAIT
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:34 AM on August 30




Yeah, pancake-flat Chicago (another city that really would prefer to be a swamp but the humans insist on not letting that happen) can barely handle a few inches of rain without ridiculous amounts of flooding, and that's even with billions of dollars worth of huge tunnels under the city to deal with heavy storms.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:01 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Or we could socialize the risk as an entire society. Like, everyone who owns a home and doesn't live in a flood zone could pay $60/year into the NFIP anyway ($5/month).

But that would be a wealth tax and class warfare and a burden on the American Dream and the rise of Communism and unthinkable.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:38 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


BTW, from March: Trump Slashing Funding To National Flood Insurance Program Can Cause Rates To Go Up [Forbes] -- apologies if that's a dupe.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:41 PM on August 30


Or we could socialize the risk as an entire society. Like, everyone who owns a home and doesn't live in a flood zone could pay $60/year into the NFIP anyway ($5/month).

You're talking about a country where some people think eating burgers and failing to go to the gym means you are unworthy and don't deserve healthcare. Clubbing together to allow people to live in flood zones seems unlikely.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:53 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


We already socialize the risk to the entire society, that's why the NFIP is billions in debt to the Treasury. The point is that people should *not* be building in flood-prone areas, and yet NFIP financially encourages them to do so. Socializing the risk makes sense when you want to encourage a behavior despite potential adverse effects, and it may be necessary when you want to protect people from bad choices. However, in this case it also encourages people to continue to make bad choices in the future and more importantly it encourages corporations to force bad choices on them. The end user would be better off if corporations couldn't build in areas where no rational organization would insure them; lower-income renters rarely get so much choice in their options that they can pay a lot of attention to flood maps.
posted by tavella at 1:02 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


That seems to me like an argument to make NFIP a more rational organization, not to do away with it entirely. Can't they pay actuaries too?
posted by nat at 1:15 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


It is a hard question. Were I king I would decree that only existing buildings could get flood insurance through the NFIP if they are located in a 100 year flood plain and maybe not even in the 500 year zone. Any building built in a floodplain after that point would be ineligible. Let's see how much stupid building goes on when the banks and insurance companies have their own money on the line. I suspect the number would be very close to zero, aside from situations where later map revisions move the expected flood boundaries.

Firstly, the reduced building in flood prone areas would increase their storage capacity and ability to drain water into the ground. Secondly, though many structures not in the flood plains might still be flooded thanks to circumstances or bad statistics or bad surveys, much less damage would be done overall and first responders would have a much easier time handling the situation.
posted by wierdo at 1:43 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


The NFIP is explicitly designed not to be rational, however. A 'more rational' NFIP would only cover the same areas and allow the same prices as the non-backed insurance companies. I'm not going to say it's totally nuts, you can argue that the vast amount of value produced by the condo-packed barrier islands of Florida et al has its economic points and that there is justification for the government having wanted to encourage them. However, those areas are transforming from areas which face destruction periodically to ones on a path to permanent uninhabitability while passing through an era of multiple disasters, and that's unsustainable.

Also, encouraging this kind of development makes other formerly secure areas vulnerable, since those areas are predicated on a historical drainage pattern that paving lowlands wrecks.
posted by tavella at 1:45 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


I should note that cities and their residents would have a third option in this fantasy world of mine.. build flood control structures such that less otherwise developable land is in the 100 year and 500 year flood plains. Good hydrological engineering (preferably using passive structures) can redirect and control flows such that flooding rarely if ever happens in protected areas, thus removing them from the area of risk.
posted by wierdo at 1:46 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


That's basically London, weirdo. Not sustainable if the sea rises 3' but it works pretty damn well for now.
posted by fshgrl at 1:52 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


These are my impressions from following storms on wunderground for the last 15 plus years.

#1. I fully believe in man-made global warming, but I don't believe that global warming will increase Atlantic hurricanes.
#2. It seems to me that global warming is also stirring up more crosswinds that tear apart most hurricanes early on. Furthermore, the Saharan Air Layer seems to have been magnified recently. I don't believe we'll get fewer storms in total, the pressures to increase storms and to tear apart storms will balance out.
#3. However, some storms do escape these negative influences and then they run into very warm water.
#4. This results in more superstorms and more rapid intensification.
#5. A rule of thumb: if the model predicts rapid intensification, the intensification will outperform the model. If all signs are go, no wind shear, no dry air to stop the formation, the warm water will feed forward to cause a crazy intensification.
#6. The Pacific is different. No Saharan influence and a lot more space to give birth to storms, pockets free of wind shear.

This happened with Harvey. In the introduction to the post, I mentioned that it was expected to reach major hurricane status. You can get major hurricane status at 111 mph. Harvey landed with officially, 130. This will probably be upgraded to 140 in after storm analysis.

My first post mentioned the stalling and the massive amount of rain. The models predicted this, but predicting something so irrational as 50 plus inches was beyond imagination.

This is in part why we are getting once in x0000 year storms. We're getting storms for which there is little feedback to slow their growth.

I thought I'd post this here just to vent my thoughts and see if there is anyone else who might have noticed the same things. Or maybe I have confirmation bias and I am filling my theories with my own biased observations.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:56 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Were I king I would decree that only existing buildings could get flood insurance through the NFIP if they are located in a 100 year flood plain and maybe not even in the 500 year zone. Any building built in a floodplain after that point would be ineligible. Let's see how much stupid building goes on when the banks and insurance companies have their own money on the line.

Oh great King Nearsighted, this happened in my locality recently when the levees failed recertification in a built-up-and-developing section of town. My friend whose house burned down could not rebuild unless she was willing to build an incredibly tall walkup which naturally would not have been covered by her insurance as it would have driven the costs to about double. Their suburban neighbors got to enjoy the view blight for a couple of years until the levees were magically deemed safe. Further, the developments that had started were all stalled and then with the recession, further stalled so there are weird partial model-only developments still dotting the landscape just now turning around.

I'm not sure what the solution is gonna be but we're gonna need a lot of it in not too many years, looks like.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:04 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Nelson, no, at the time of my post I wasn't sure of anything, and I'm afraid I did that thing where I made an ass out of u and me. It now appears, according to report, anyway, that the nursing home was told to sit tight.

On 1A this a.m. one of the guests reported that every single nursing home that evacuated in Rita lost at least one patient. So it's not like it's an easy decision.

If that were my grandmother sitting in flood waters I'd want to see someone in jail.
Yeah, me, too, and I therefore would direct my energies and efforts at somebody jailable, as opposed to The Federal Government. I might even get satisfaction. Then the next time a hurricane swamped some sealevel area chock full of nursing homes built on bayous, I'd be gazing again at tweeted photos of suffering people. Maybe they'd be sitting in situ in their flooded nursing homes, or maybe they'd be sitting in transit in flooded vehicles.

The cool part of inflicting punishment for a past disaster planning fail on some private sector person is that it is possible. There's a clear course of action, and a good chance of getting results. You can get somebody thrown in jail. That's the cool part. Preventing future disaster planning fails, though? Trying to keep the horror off the twitter by getting the only entity with the resources and power to set up a functional response to a known threat and to devote the resources at its beck toward protecting the vulnerable? That has so far been proven impossible. That's the uncool part.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:10 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


oooof the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby is probably going to explode.
posted by lalex at 3:25 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


From lalex's link:
At a press conference Wednesday, Rich Rowe, Arkema's CEO said that if the volatile organic peroxides stored at the plant get too warm, some sort of explosion is inevitable."There is no way to prevent an explosion or fire," Rowe said.
Late Monday night, the facility lost power from both its primary supply and its backup generators. Employees moved the highly volatile organic peroxides into back-up containers to keep them cool. If that class of chemical gets too hot, it can cause fires or explosions.
So just a just a shrug from the CEO? There's seriously no way to store this stuff so that it doesn't explode when the power goes out?

Oh and this: "Rowe refused to release the company's federally mandated risk management plan or its chemical inventory to reporters."
posted by octothorpe at 4:42 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


Rowe refused to release the company's federally mandated risk management plan or its chemical inventory to reporters.

no problem. just chain his ass to the front door.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:11 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


There's seriously no way to store this stuff so that it doesn't explode when the power goes out?

You would be surprised how many things are like this. I once watched from a distance as a fairly large tornado bore down on the Motiva oil refinery in Convent, LA. Whatever advice you have about tornadoes, you really can't follow it in a continuous process refinery. Disruptions of the process generally result in what the wonks euphemistically call an "uncontrolled energy release." You can't just shut it down. And a lot of industry is like this. Backup plans are expensive and nobody wants to foot the bill for extra expense that doesn't increase revenue. Product explodes without powered maintenance? Well it won't happen often, and evacuation with occasional rebuilding is cheaper than always-available backup cooling.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:26 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


I remember a few years back there was an area near me that was going to be redesignated as a floodplain. Developers raced to get houses started before it became official so that they could be grandfathered in.
posted by ckape at 9:30 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Ogre Lawless: "Oh great King Nearsighted, this happened in my locality recently when the levees failed recertification in a built-up-and-developing section of town. My friend whose house burned down could not rebuild unless she was willing to build an incredibly tall walkup which naturally would not have been covered by her insurance as it would have driven the costs to about double. Their suburban neighbors got to enjoy the view blight for a couple of years until the levees were magically deemed safe. Further, the developments that had started were all stalled and then with the recession, further stalled so there are weird partial model-only developments still dotting the landscape just now turning around.
"

Yep, there is going to be pain. The decision is between low level on going pain where areas prone to repeated flooding are deresidented vs. really spiky pain where people are out of their homes for months at a time incurring massive costs with each rebuilding over decades eventually abandoning the area en-mass when they can't get society to cover the cost of rebuilding.

Or maybe you mitigate it with flood control measures, stilts, amphibious homes or other measures.

My city has places where the plateau land is eventually going to slide down into the river valley and the zoning only allows for portable homes to be placed in those areas in the theory when the edge get to your property you wheels down and move the home. Good luck implementing something like that someplace with famously no zoning controls.

octothorpe: "So just a just a shrug from the CEO? There's seriously no way to store this stuff so that it doesn't explode when the power goes out? "

Lots of processes like this, many that take days to shutdown and sometimes weeks to restart.
posted by Mitheral at 10:27 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Although the Houston Chron seems to state that averting the explosion would require the seemingly simple-sounding addition of another chemical to balance out the explosive ones.
posted by stillmoving at 11:49 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Eric Berger/Ars Technica (also Space City Weather): This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same

This is one of several articles about this storm I've seen that have ended with a kind of journalistic primal scream about global warming being real.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:08 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


re: chemical plant...just because something is complex, expensive, or time-intensive doesn't remove responsibility. and shouldn't nullify civil or criminal liability. imho. like, if that thing kills a bunch of folks, there better be a risk management plan review. obviously, from recent years, flooding is a known risk. if redundant power isn't sufficient, then maybe you should have build a third system that's watertight, or create other mitigations.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:15 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


If this plant goes up, and an evacuation is impossible because all the infrastructure is wrecked the toll will be incredible.

Bhopal, India comes to mind.
posted by mikelieman at 2:20 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Update: Arkema is exploding.
posted by ckape at 2:37 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


The injured deputy had respiratory problems after driving through a plume of smoke. However, the sheriff's office tweeted that Arkema said the smoke the deputies inhaled was "a non-toxic irritant."

They could not possibly know this.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:13 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


A Storm Forces Houston, the Limitless City, to Consider Its Limits

“If you put the kind of super-strict planning shackles on Houston, that would be the way to kill it,” he said. “Why would you live in a hot, humid, flat space if it was expensive?”
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:09 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


The City of Beaumont has lost water supply
Due to rising waters of the Neches River caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, the City of Beaumont has lost service from the main pump station.

The pump station is located along the Neches River and draws water from the river as the main source of water for the City’s water system. The City has also lost the secondary water source at the Loeb wells in Hardin County. At this time there is no water supply for the City water system.

We will have to wait until the water levels from this historical flood recede before we can determine the extent of damage and make any needed repairs. There is no way to determine how long this will take at this time.
About 120,000 people live in Beaumont.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:52 AM on August 31 [13 favorites]


Support your public library, especially in difficult times:
The City of Rockport moved their city service officials to the Community Library of Bastrop because it was simply unsafe, they said, to remain in the Rockport city limits.

“There are gas leaks everywhere”, Kevin King said of the information he received in conversations with city officials. “The city hall in Rockport was wiped out so Bastrop adopted them in make-shift offices in the community library.”
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:13 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Arkema has not been characterizing the combustions as explosions, calling it "an overpressurization that was followed by a fire," [Arekma Spokesman Jeff] Carr said.

because now is the time for dissembling speech

ob/Metafilter:an overpressurization that was followed by a fire
posted by kokaku at 6:30 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


Although the Houston Chron seems to state that averting the explosion would require the seemingly simple-sounding addition of another chemical to balance out the explosive ones

Requires someone to go near the thing-that-may-explode.
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


WaPo article says "a county official said there weren’t “massive explosions,” and instead referred to the reactions as “pops” followed by fire." Sounds more like pipes or tanks bursting. Peroxides on the blue.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:41 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


"Explosion"; it's one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to think of it as an unrequested heat surplus.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:42 AM on August 31 [23 favorites]


Some dude giving part of the briefing right now, I'm not sure who he was, just said to a journalist "You can call it an explosion if you want, I'm going to keep calling it a container breach".
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:53 AM on August 31


The explosions are I think cardboard containers of the chemicals that are in vans. I thought I read elsewhere that they moved the stuff there after the power went out, but I can't find that now. Either way it sounds like this may be a series of small explosions with limited long-term effects, rather than giant tanks of chemicals going up. Still not great but ...
posted by freecellwizard at 7:06 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Requires someone to go near the thing-that-may-explode.

we can send an unmanned craft to mars but we can't get a load of chemical a into a vat of chemical b?
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:17 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Worth keeping a weather eye out for, and preparing to prepare (backups in baggies, stocking up the booze cabinet, etc.)..

95L out by Cabo Verde became Irma yesterday; whilst it's still 12 days or so before any potential landfall in the Americas, and it's fairly up in the air where and how strong it will be, a lot of current models* do have it making landfall on the U.S. E|S coast, potentially as a cat 4+.

Jeff Masters' Irma post on Wunderground

* Ryan Maue has more info in other tweets than the one linked.
posted by Buntix at 7:31 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, Irma is expected to be a major hurricane when it approaches the Lesser Antilles. Too far to say what will ultimately happen. The main track centers around Puerto Rico (where I live), but that's a week out and the forecasts tend to be extremely inaccurate at that time.

It is also "predicted" to approach the East Coast but that is an even longer time out. (Those models have it turning at the last minute, but again, too far off to say.)

What is likely is that it will be a major hurricane in the Atlantic that is going to worry a lot of folks.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:32 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


an overpressurization that was followed by a fire is not an explosion. I don't know what occured but the spokesperson shouldn't be using the first to describe the second and it's possible they really did have an overpressurization that was followed by a fire.
posted by Mitheral at 7:39 AM on August 31


Houston, like a lot of coastal cities, is going to need to do some significant re-zoning and planning for a future with higher sea levels, more frequent and more severe flooding.

In practical terms that means basically turning huge chunks of currently inhabited parts of the city into large parks and wild spaces. Houston has a few such areas, it's going to need many more which condemning many other places, tearing down the buildings, and turning them into parks too.

It'll be expensive, the property owners will scream bloody murder, and the city's highway network will need to be rerouted to avoid flood zones which is also going to be expensive and involve pissing off a lot of property owners.

But if they get started on it now then by the time the climate has well and truly started pumping out "100 year floods" every decade or so, they'll be prepared.
posted by sotonohito at 7:52 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


And places like Miami are just going to turn into ghost towns. There's no salvation for Miami, the rock it's built on is porous, even Dutch style dykes won't keep out the rising oceans, the water will seep up from underground. Before that though the rising sea levels will infiltrate the fresh water aquifer that keeps Miami in drinking water and turn it to brine.

The TL;DR is: if you own property in Miami sell it now while there are still suckers willing to buy it, because in a few more decades it'll be worth somewhere between nothing and zilch.
posted by sotonohito at 7:58 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]




Artw:Requires someone to go near the thing-that-may-explode.

Except they could do it when they lost power, before they became dangerous. But that would require them to keep supplies of the relevant counteragent on hand, and it would ruin the feedstock. So they decided it was cheaper for them to not use safety measures, and it's not like Texas (or the current federal government) would hold them to account.
posted by tavella at 8:21 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


Joseph Fanelli/HoustonPress.com : HISD Students Will Receive Free Meals All Year
As Houston shifts from rescue to relief efforts after devastating flooding throughout the city, the Houston Independent School District has announced that all HISD students will receive free meals for the 2017-2018 school year.
Awesome. It piggybacks on existing initiatives for free meals in schools. Parents & guardians still have to fill out an application form, but I don't think that should be a big deal.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:37 AM on August 31 [18 favorites]


Re chemical plants in texas, it is important to note here, AFTER the fire in West, tx, Abbott put in place regulations that said large chemical companies no longer have to report, or make public what chemicals are being stored near communities, what the danger is, or what mitigation plans are in place.

This is the same Abbott who got millions of dollars after a tree fell on him, but put in place regulations that cap damages for everyone else at $250k. Republicans hate people. They love companies and profits uber alles. But people, especially those nasty poors, and most of those brown ones, those don't register as people to the republican mind set. Those are easily replaceable assets, interchangeable and irrelevant.

They don't care if they blow up towns, level nursing homes and schools, kill scores of people, unless it impacts the bottom line, and in Texas, it'll cost you less to pay a death payout than it would to have a mitigation plan.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:52 AM on August 31 [32 favorites]


Irma jumped from tropical storm to Category 2 in the last six hours.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:07 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Prediction: Category 4 by tomorrow.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:15 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Oh good, there's also a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that could develop into a storm next week and impact Texas/Louisiana
An area of low pressure could form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. Development, if any, of this system is expected to be slow to occur as the low moves slowly northward. If this system does develop, it could bring additional rainfall to portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts. However, any rainfall forecast is uncertain at this time range, and it is too soon to determine any specific impacts. Interests in these areas should monitor the progress of this potential system for the next few days.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:29 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Re chemical plants in texas, it is important to note here, AFTER the fire in West, tx, Abbott put in place regulations that said large chemical companies no longer have to report, or make public what chemicals are being stored near communities, what the danger is, or what mitigation plans are in place.

Brief aside to say that I just looked this incident up and, wow, I just...that's fucking outrageous!
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 9:34 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Brief aside to say that I just looked this incident up and, wow, I just...that's fucking outrageous!

The New Yorker had a good background piece on Abbott last month (and a national-view of Texas politics generally), which summarizes the tree incident thusly, for anyone wanting more details:
At fifty-nine, he is an energetic man; his aides were racing across the rotunda to keep up with him. Abbott was a track star in high school—he is said to have never lost a race—but in 1984 a tree fell on him while he was jogging through the wealthy enclave of River Oaks, in Houston, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He had just graduated from law school and had no health insurance. Fortunately, he won a nine-million-dollar judgment against the homeowner whose tree had fallen and the company that had inspected the tree and failed to recommend its removal. Later, Abbott, as a member of the Texas Supreme Court, and then as attorney general, supported measures that capped pain-and-suffering damages in medical-malpractice cases at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
There's also this charming aside about Abbott contemplating a political future outside the state:
Although Abbott has a lower national profile than his predecessors Rick Perry and George W. Bush, he clearly has similar ambitions. In January, when the legislative session began, he latched on to a proposal, already adopted by ten other states, to call a constitutional convention aimed at reining in the power of the federal government. Abbott rebranded it as the Texas Plan. It would require the federal government to balance its budget, as Texas does, and would prohibit federal agencies—such as the E.P.A. and the Department of Labor—from issuing regulations that override state laws. As Texas’s attorney general, from 2002 to 2015, Abbott was on the losing end of many lawsuits that he filed on behalf of the state against the U.S. government—he objected to the Affordable Care Act, and to many federal environmental controls. Under the Texas Plan, the U.S. Supreme Court would need a supermajority of seven Justices to strike down a state law. Abbott designated the Texas Plan an emergency item, and it quickly passed the legislature and was signed into law, worrying mainstream Republican lawmakers in Washington, who fear that, in the current political climate, such efforts could lead to a runaway assault on federal authority.
posted by cjelli at 9:43 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Prediction: Category 4 by tomorrow.
Now I'm worried about Rita, part 2. People are going to freak out if it looks like Irma is heading their way.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:01 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


International Business Times: Texas Republicans Helped Chemical Plant That Exploded Lobby Against Safety Rules

in case anyone feels like being swallowed whole by rage
posted by lalex at 11:34 AM on August 31 [18 favorites]


Wow the IBT has really fucked up their website design.
posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on August 31


Came across some resources:

@NyleDiMarco
Are you Deaf & in a shelter in TX & need an interpreter? contact the Harvey Interpreter Hotline tel:281-845-4443 (text or VRS)
[phone # is for the Greater Houston Interpreters for the Deaf]

@MHAHouston
For [mental health] services, call: Crisis Intervention Houston 832-416-1177 or Disaster Distress Hotline 1-800-985-5990. Txt 66746 to connect w/a LCSW
[their twitter feed has a ton of resources for specific populations - veterans, children, people with autism, etc. as well as a sign up sheet for volunteer mental health professionals]

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order [pdf] allowing out-of-state attorneys to provide legal services through certain nonprofit orgs for the next 6 months.

The Texas Medical Board is issuing expedited temporary permits for out-of-state physicians - good for 30 days, no charge. In addition, the Gov. is temporarily allowing health care providers employed by a hospital and licensed and in good standing in another state to practice in Texas by emailing certain identifying information rather than applying for a license.

Thread about donating to Texas abortion funds (e.g., Lilith Fund).
posted by melissasaurus at 12:26 PM on August 31 [11 favorites]


And now there appears to be a gas shortage in Texas. People in Dallas are reporting 30+ minute lines and price gouging, while many stations are out of gas.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:35 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


In rage-resolving news, these bakers trapped in their Mexican bakery for two days used 4400 pounds of flour to bake pan dulce to be distributed for hungry people after the storm. This is what makes America great.
posted by stillmoving at 12:46 PM on August 31 [36 favorites]


Let me speak to the Dallas thing really quickly....

according to professionals, this is not a shortage

I am appalled at the behavior of people in the DFW region right now. I drive a Prius and filled up last night of of necessity, but rumors going around have caused mass hysteria. My boss witnessed a fight at a gas station in the rather tame neighborhood of Richardson, TX north of Dallas. It's the whole metroplex as well. Hundreds of cars lining up for gas and gas stations literally running out.

I am supposed to take my husband down to MD Anderson in Houston for treatment early next week (if they are even open! it's on the books and we haven't been cancelled yet). We miraculously got a hotel room, figured out a driving route, and now... additional stress about a likely non-issue.

Next will be the mass hysteria about Hurricane Irma and it turning into another Rita scenario by next week.

My advice to anyone who wants to know more - stop paying attention to the mainstream media right now and ask or follow the experts on the ground. We've been keeping up with a Rice professor online about conditions in Houston - great to have a level head. It has helped us tremendously planning our trip to Houston knowing the grocery situation, road situation, safety, etc.
posted by hillabeans at 12:57 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Correction: the BBC says they used 40,000 pounds of flour. Police are distributing the free bread to shelters.
posted by stillmoving at 1:07 PM on August 31 [11 favorites]


I'm sorry they were trapped, but OTOH there are worse places than a bakery!
posted by AFABulous at 1:37 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


So, I'm not sure if it's ok to post this, but this is my pinned tweet trying to find Jill.

I went silent during gamergate, so my social media presence is negligible at best. If any of y'all have people in Houston who might see this, could you pass it along please? It's been four days, and family is undeniably concerned.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:02 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


This model of Irma is terrifying. The only provenance I have for it is this reddit comment, though.
posted by Coventry at 4:37 PM on August 31


It looks like that is one of the leading models, but there's no consensus from other models.
The two leading global models have rather different outcomes through the next 10 days. The ensembles — multiple runs of the same model but with slightly different configurations to simulate realistic uncertainty — have little overlap. This gives forecasters much less confidence in long-range outlooks.
posted by Coventry at 4:46 PM on August 31


Anyone got an explanation for this?
Vertically-tilted systems are less efficient at drawing in warm and moist air from the surrounding ocean and will be less likely to develop and strengthen.
I've looked at a few explanations for wind shear and they all say something like this, but they don't explain the reason for the inefficiency. Is it because the tilted plane of rotation causes the storm to stop taking water up from the ocean, in the elevated portion of the circle of rotation?
posted by Coventry at 4:55 PM on August 31


Any glider pilot will tell you that when the winds come up, thermals (vertical movement of warm air) are disorganized and hard to work. I'm not sure this counts as an explanation but when I picture the wind, it is not uniform -- there are variations in both speed and direction. So, instead of a smoothly rising column of warm air you get a bunch of smaller bubbles. You can see it in the cumulus clouds too -- when the winds aloft are strong they are ragged and spotty, and you rarely get thunderstorms.
posted by phliar at 5:25 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Thanks, philar, but I think there must be a more precise explanation for why the tilting slows hurricane heat/moisture absorption.
posted by Coventry at 6:54 PM on August 31


noaa irma forecast discussion. sciencey.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:20 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


NOAA forecast discussion is my favorite use of tax dollars.
posted by mikelieman at 8:19 PM on August 31 [11 favorites]


Well, it's no USGS volcano monitoring, but I agree it's pretty cool, yeah.
posted by darkstar at 10:19 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


I live in Albany, NY and have family in southeast Florida. I drive I95 a lot. I rely on the NOAA forecast discussion for planning. If they say it's going to be crappy, I take an extra vacation day and spend another day with my family, then roll...

Back in the days when I traveled a lot for shows, I'd have killed for a smartphone. There was this trip to Hamilton in 92 where it started snowing round Buffalo ( big surprise ) but the rental we were in had broken wipers.
posted by mikelieman at 11:23 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the NOAA forecasts are surely a lot more useful day-to-day.

(I was mainly poking fun at Bobby Jindal's cringe-inducing 2009 SOTU response in which he dismissed as government waste "something called volcano monitoring".)
posted by darkstar at 12:09 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


The thing is, USGS volcano monitoring doesn't instruct, it only provides status. If you read NOAA forecast discussion over time, you learn an awful lot about how the weather works, because they try to explain why they're forecasting what they're forecasting. So, your tax dollars are also giving you an education, if you want it.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:32 AM on September 1 [4 favorites]


Hm. Again, I'm full of it. the USGS products *do* have some discussion in them. I guess the same holds here too. Neat!
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:36 AM on September 1


It looks like that is one of the leading models, but there's no consensus from other models.

The ECMWF is The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts [https://www.ecmwf.int/]*.

There's a really nice breakdown analysis here of the accuracy of two major model based forecasts (including ECMWF) for Harvey.

Kinda wishing my OU astrozoology** module would hurry up and arrive so I can learn how to read atmospheric data properly.

Wondering how accurate a meta-analysis based on the sentiment of tweets from the most credible climatologists/meteorologists/storm chasers would be. Seeing quite a few like

@EricHolthaus: "Some models show #Irma growing nearly as strong as any Atlantic hurricane ever has, on record. Potential tracks are ominous. Bad feeling."

* something about .float being more appropriate for an org that uses buoys to measure SSTs.

** Technically planetary science, but astrozoology is what's going on the CV.
posted by Buntix at 6:20 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


In the past few years I moved from one NOAA forecast office (Los Angeles/Oxnard) to a second (San Francisco/Monterey) and now a third (San Diego). Each discussion has its own character--there are some real poets in the LA Office--and each has been an education in local weather phenomena (the Bay Area has a Santa Ana type wind called the Diablo, but it's relatively infrequent; the San Diego office deals with a lot of t-storm activity as a result of the SW monsoon). First thing I read everyday and often the last.
posted by notyou at 6:30 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


caveat-ed: It looks like the author of the forecast analysis is a fairly prominent climate change denier/FUDer.
posted by Buntix at 6:37 AM on September 1


Have they, like, heard of Mt St Helens?
posted by Artw at 8:41 AM on September 1




Some map visualizations of the damage.

Water extent after Hurricane Harvey. If you dig in the UI you can toggle the blue flood and yellow hazard layers on and off. Also comes with this report.

Maps of economic vulnerability in Houston overlaid with where the 911 calls for help came from. The #1 pattern visible is how the west part of central Houston is wealthier and whiter than the rest of the city.
posted by Nelson at 12:41 PM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Alan Taylor/TheAtlantic: Latest Photos of Harvey's Disastrous Flooding (8/31/2017)
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:23 PM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Reservoir dam status: Addicks and Barker.

I have a friend just downstream from the Barker Reservoir, in the flood plain. Two nights ago with the rain over he watched the flood waters rising towards his house as water was released from the dam. No idea how far up it would come so he livestreamed video. It came to within a foot of his door and then happily stopped, then drained away. He says his neighbors set up a checkpoint on the newly-dry road to keep an eye on who was driving in, I found that simultaneously terrifying and reassuring.
posted by Nelson at 7:28 AM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Nelson, even worse is some shitbag pseudo rich people in the Madeira Vista gated subdivision near Barker Dam set up a giant pump to drain their entrance into an adjoining neighborhood and armed homeowners are guarding it. One asshole flashed his gun to a lady who just expressed her opinion. This is a hot topic on Nextdoor.com, of course. Toxic people.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on September 2 [8 favorites]


(Screencap of Nextdoor post. My 'hood is the closest to the dam but we're fine. I've spent tons of time in the reservoir when it's dry.)
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


It's looking like Irma, if anything, would make landfall on the East Coast. Still not clear if it will be nothing or... something, but it sure doesn't seem to be eyeing Texas, anyway.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:02 AM on September 2 [3 favorites]




..but it sure doesn't seem to be eyeing Texas, anyway.

And looking less likely to hit the Bahamas/Dominican Republic/Cuba islands which is a very good thing in terms of potential losses mostly just being in $.



Latest from tropical weather treasure Wunderground Jeff
posted by Buntix at 11:30 AM on September 2 [4 favorites]




It's looking like Irma, if anything, would make landfall on the East Coast. Still not clear if it will be nothing or... something, but it sure doesn't seem to be eyeing Texas, anyway.

Today's updates to the models appear to show it continuing to track south which means there is a chance it could pass either just below or across the southern tip of Florida and end up in the Gulf.

That would be really bad.

The alternative appears to be that it smacks directly into Miami or points north. Also bad.

In conclusion, start drinking.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Levi Cowan @TropicalTidbits has been posting [~22:00 UTC] some charts from the first NOAA recon flight over Irma. Dropsonde is reading 961 mb with estimated surface winds of 113mph in the NE eyewall.

There seem to predictions of ~80% chance of landfall over the Bahamas, and 75% for mainland U.S. (via Adrian Linares @Adriansweather in Miami).

The other aspect of it tracking South is that presumably that means it's going over more warmer water.
posted by Buntix at 3:34 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


This self-rescuing cat is my spirit animal.
posted by carmicha at 4:08 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Oh man, hadn't even thought about this: WaPo: Storm flooding destroyed hundreds of thousands of cars in a city that relies heavily on them
Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation.

The loss is having an immediate impact, preventing many people from being able to return to work, sending craftsmen scrambling for new vehicles as they hope to rebuild the region, and leaving auto dealers who face millions of dollars in losses racing to restock amid unprecedented demand. [...]

Houston is a metropolis crisscrossed by some of the nation’s widest freeways, plagued by some of the nation’s longest commutes and home to a culture that treats driving like a constitutional right. Driving here is not just a choice but a way of life. Not being able to drive is an extremely disruptive aspect of the widespread flooding here, keeping families at home, workers from their jobs, and much of the city’s recovery in limbo.
posted by lalex at 5:32 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


The need to replace so many vehicles at the same time is a gigantic impact on the economy. One dealer noted that no one wanted a car; everyone wanted a Jeep or truck. Plus all the damaged cars need to be tracked and blocked from entering the used market.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:25 PM on September 3


[...] tracked and blocked from entering the used market.

They all come to places like Nebraska and Iowa, where they have the concept of a "Salvage" title.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:28 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Yeah. If you’re shopping for a used car any time in the next couple of years, be extra sure to run a check on the VIN before you buy.
posted by nicepersonality at 8:00 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Some of the computer modeling tracks for Irma are going crazy. 882 mb at Key West. A week away and the computers are lousy over that long a period, but still.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:40 PM on September 3


Buffalo Bayou Timelapse During Harvey. Starts slow, then very swift, then slow.
posted by Nelson at 7:13 AM on September 4 [10 favorites]


The car situation is an interesting angle. I'm assuming there will be extensive road damage. Is it too much to hope for an investment in public transport? I know, who am I kidding, it's Texas after all not some commie state like Oregon.

I find myself looking around my house and wondering which of our possessions would survive after being underwater for a week or two. All the electronics, books, soft furnishings, and artwork would be trash. But what about appliances? Could my washing machine be salvaged or is it hopeless. Everything has computer chips in them now so I guess not.

Then I get fixated on the amount of trash this will generate.Think about all the homes and all the businesses filled with stuff that is now trash. Where will it all go?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:50 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


My latest fixation: I assumed that linens, bedding, and wardrobe would be rescuable but if you get back into your house after the waters recede you probably won't have a working washing machine. So hand wash? Dry outside? It just seems like too much effort for little reward.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:01 AM on September 4




It doesn't seem clear yet if area landfills and recycling centers will be able to handle the volume. Garbage trucks from as far as San Antonio are making daily pickups but more is piling up. Source.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


landlords demand rent

So send them back a letter demanding the property be restored immediately to a livable condition and remediated for mold/water damage, etc. at the landlord's expense.
posted by ctmf at 10:29 AM on September 4 [12 favorites]


I'd bet that the lease is very carefully worded in the landlord's favor and there's nothing in it specifying that the home has to be livable.
posted by octothorpe at 10:49 AM on September 4


I don't think the lease agreement can waive the implied warranty of habitability. (But I'm not a lawyer; I'm not in Texas)
posted by ctmf at 10:54 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


My latest fixation: I assumed that linens, bedding, and wardrobe would be rescuable

If your bedding was entirely synthetic it might not rot sitting submerged in water or sitting out wet for several days/weeks (this is a place that routinely has humidity over 50%, a wet sheet laying on wet carpet or a wet mattress or in a wet linen cabinet full of wet linen is going to stay wet for a long time), but I doubt you'd ever get the sewage stench out. I think sleeping in sewage sheets and wearing sewage clothes is too much to ask.

And it's not just sewage, it's dissolved drywall, the dirt from your carpet and inside your walls and the contents of your HVAC vents and every household chemical and battery and corroded electronics solder that's leaked into your floodwater, the dissolved contents of your pantry plus your fridge and freezer if the doors popped open. Realistically, you shouldn't even re-wear the clothes you evacuated in, though a lot of people wouldn't have had much choice at first.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:03 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


From the article, although this is fairly vague: "And under Texas law, rent must still be paid on damaged dwellings, unless they are deemed completely uninhabitable."
posted by lalex at 11:04 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


And it's not just sewage, it's dissolved drywall, the dirt from your carpet and inside your walls and the contents of your HVAC vents and every household chemical and battery and corroded electronics solder that's leaked into your floodwater, the dissolved contents of your pantry plus your fridge and freezer if the doors popped open.

Don't forget the contents of all those EPA Superfund toxic waste sites...
posted by mikelieman at 11:10 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Which the zombie EPA is one inch from denying the existence of.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Power being cut to homes under mandatory evacuation
Power is being cut off to approximately 300 inundated homes in West Houston that were flooded by the release of water from the Addicks and Barker-Cypress reservoirs. ...
Water releases from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may result in standing water in homes for two weeks.
Note the article is from yesterday, Sun Sep 3.
posted by Nelson at 1:31 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the only "good" thing about that power cut was they were able to individually target which homes/places got cut instead of whole streets/grids since everyone has smart meters here.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:09 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Irma upgraded to Cat 4.

Projections suggest it will hit Florida. Florida declares state of emergency in advance. Lesser Antilles are going to be pounded.
posted by darkstar at 3:17 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Wonderful..Rick Scott has just panicked the entire goddamned state of Florida. Had he waited another day, maybe it wouldn't be the whole state at risk.
posted by wierdo at 5:18 PM on September 4


Lesser Antilles are going to be pounded.

The islands are potentially looking at a major hit, and they are certainly aware that the Trump administration is likely to be far less generous with post-hurricane aid than past administrations. I hope they are spared.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:14 PM on September 4


Current GFS model has Irma nailing the entire Florida peninsula a bit over five days from now. There seems to be a consensus, though, that five days is about the limit for accurate prediction, so it's still quite likely that that won't happen.

I thought this gave a very good overview of the plausible scenarios at this point, or at least given what was known earlier today.
posted by Coventry at 9:23 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


In fact, GFS has its remnants passing over Ohio early next week, still at extremely high intensity! I don't believe it.
posted by Coventry at 9:34 PM on September 4


I don't know how to read it from his diagram but this meteorologist states that Irma just achieved category 5.
posted by Coventry at 10:09 PM on September 4


Ah, "T 7" implies category 5. The T 7 reading comes from here.
posted by Coventry at 10:13 PM on September 4


Lesser Antilles are going to be pounded.

trump: well, if they had made better decisions and tried harder they would be the Greater Antilles now wouldn't they? [fake]
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:32 PM on September 4


Euro model also has it going up the Florida peninsula, but then dissipating in Georgia.
posted by Coventry at 11:56 PM on September 4


It's looking more and more like Irma is going to get a bit farther west and either make landfall somewhere out in the swamp west of Key Largo or skirt along the western coast making landfall somewhere along there or possibly up in the panhandle if it really pulls a Matthew.

The problem is that this is one of the scenarios that model tracks are least useful for. They are very likely correct in forecasting a sharp northward turn at some point after reaching Cuba, but models are not great at pinning down the exact timing of turns like that. Add to that the very high probability that the storm will be nearly paralleling the coast for a day or two and you can see how the precise timing of the northward turn drastically changes the landfall location. It's looking more and more like the Keys will have to be evacuated regardless, since all the scenarios excluding the early turn put them in a terrible spot. (Unfortunate that the early turn could very well put evacuees right in the path of the storm, just on the peninsula instead)

There is one bright spot in all this, though. Despite it looking like there's a good chance of the storm passing directly over Lake Okeechobee at some point, it should be moving quickly enough to avoid the lake levels rising fast enough to cause the dike to fail, which could easily kill thousands of people who live near the lake. (There isn't even an emergency spillway, so they rely on drawing down the lake levels well in advance to keep the lake level below the 18 foot or so danger zone)

The bright spot for me is that I live pretty close to the coast here in Miami, but just far enough inland and elevated enough to be completely out of the storm surge risk area for even a category 5 storm. So as far as I'm concerned, Irma tracking north through the Everglades is a pretty decent scenario. Not so great for the masses of people who live out west on the edge of the Everglades if it goes up the middle of the peninsula, though.

All that said, if someone on the east coast of Florida has to take a direct hit, better that it be between downtown Miami and Palm Beach or so than anywhere else. The storm surge risk along the southeast coast of Florida is lower than most coastal areas due to the shape of the sea floor and the way the terrain is.

I can say one thing for sure..if I didn't have pets that can't be taken with us, I'd be burning some frequent flier miles and bundling Georgia and myself onto a plane bound for the middle of the country on Thursday if there wasn't a significant change in forecast. Neither of us are cut out for a week or two without power in the middle of summer. I do have half a mind to rent a car for a week there are any still available come Thursday. Even if the damage is relatively minor Lyft may not be an option for a few days and the damn trains will definitely be out for a while if the winds get up to hurricane strength at all. There are several parking garages in the area I could store it safely during the storm..

Tornadoes are so much easier to deal with mentally. They just happen and then you deal with the consequences. None of this sitting around trying to figure out where a storm will be in a week. If it weren't for my irrational fear of solid ground suddenly not being solid, I'd definitely prefer earthquake risk to hurricane risk. I deal well with immediate crisis, but not so much when there is a long lead time.
posted by wierdo at 1:01 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


For other folks that might be in Irma's path, Florida International University has a handy storm surge calculator. It's automatically set to Miami-Dade County, but I've used it to calculate for other places in Florida.

I found this last year around Matthew, which is how I found out that even though I live decently inland in South Miami, I'm still pretty much losing everything if we get a direct hit from a Cat 4 or 5 storm. (Teach me to rent a first floor apartment.) The good news is that I found out last year and bought flood insurance. The other good news is that I have family that isn't in a storm surge spot that my cat and I can evacuate to.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 4:50 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Category 5. 175 mph (which puts it on the high end of 5, although 6 doesn't exist). If this were a direct hit to Puerto Rico it would catastrophic. I'm on the south side of the island about 100 miles below the predicted path of the eye. Currently the model gives my city 13% chance of hurricane winds. Even then, nerve-wracking.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:21 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


American Association for State and Local History response on Harvey, including the opportunity to donate to the cultural relief fund. 100% of the funds collected will be distributed to cultural institutions affected by the storm.
posted by gudrun at 6:53 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


From @NHC_Atlantic, Irma now has sustained winds of 180 mph, gusting to ~220 mph and is the strongest recorded hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico.

The wind speeds round the eyewall would be strong EF4 (or EF5 in gusts) in tornado terms. But with a 30 mile diameter.
posted by Buntix at 8:17 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Here's the record list for Atlantic hurricanes. Irma is currently tied for 5th in most rapid winds.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:37 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Irma is currently tied for 5th in most rapid winds.

Wow...and it's only 10 mph away from tying for 1st.
posted by darkstar at 8:43 AM on September 5


> If it weren't for my irrational fear of solid ground suddenly not being solid, I'd definitely prefer earthquake risk to hurricane risk.

That's not exactly an irrational fear. . . .
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:26 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Wow...and it's only 10 mph away from tying for 1st.

That may increase, it has apparently maxxed out the current potential for wind speed/min pressure based on the sea surface temp where it is (29.5C), but is now moving into a 30C+ SST (sea surface temp) area.

There are maps of maximum potentials here.

LEvi Cowan @TropicalTidbits: "An SFMR estimated surface wind measurement of 184 mph was just taken in #Irma's NE eyewall. FL maxed lower, though, so unsure how accurate."

@NHC_Surge predicting 7 to 11 feet surge for Leeward Islands.

Irma overlay on map of Ohio to show comparative size. (slightly outdated) Currently Irma is ~460 miles diameter with hurricane wind strength diameter 120 miles (hurricane strength gusts out to 180 miles).


There is also now Tropical Storm Jose following Irma; expected to become a hurricane in 36 to 48 hours
posted by Buntix at 9:58 AM on September 5


Florida Keys issues visitor evacuation order in advance of Hurricane Irma (mandatory from sunrise Wednesday). [Fox local]

How to prepare for Hurricane Irma [WaPo]

6 Pet Friendly Hotel Chains Where Pets Stay Free


It'd be nice to think you could get a discount on RV Rental (some here, no idea how good the site is but includes rental by owner) on the condition you were taking it safely far away from the coast, but guessing not.

There has apparently been a reading of 185mph now from the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters @53rdWRS (some good pics of them at work on the feed), which has Irma tied for second most powerful Atlantic wind speeds.
posted by Buntix at 10:30 AM on September 5


185 mph. Tied for 2nd place.

Category 4 is 130+ to 155
Category 5 is 155+

So if there were a Category 6, it could be argued to start at 180.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:01 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Forecast from Crown Weather, Anguilla 0800 Wednesday Wind 172 mph gusting 201 mph.
The eye is due to cross the north of French St. Martin and just south of Anguilla.
posted by adamvasco at 11:21 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


If anyone knows if the Texas Supreme Court's wavier of licensure reaches landlord-tenant stuff, and if any orgs might need remote help with it, kindly drop me a me-mail.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:25 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I think the waiver should apply to that (at least if done through an approved org). Try contacting Lone Star Legal Aid* - they need volunteer lawyers (in state or out of state license), but I'm not sure about remote. I guess there's also a process so that you can answer questions from Texans on the ABA's Free Legal Answers platform (details in this tweet and screenshot).

You can also sign up as a volunteer on the Texas Bar's website, and you should be matched with volunteer opportunities.

*It seems that Lone Star's phones/internet/etc may be down due to Harvey damage, so if you don't reach anyone try Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:04 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


So apparently the Florida AG has a price-gouging statute. I'm kind of impressed. I would have thought that as a Republican state they would be ideologically bound to let Mr Market's invisible hand roam where it pleases.
posted by Coventry at 1:07 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Footage from Barbados.
posted by Coventry at 1:14 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Jeez, those last few seconds of the Barbados video...
posted by darkstar at 1:15 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Euro is giving maybe a 60% ensemble probability of a Florida landfall.
posted by Coventry at 1:18 PM on September 5


Not to diminish the seriousness of the situation, but that video looks to be actually from a tornado in Colombia in 2016.
posted by un petit cadeau at 1:19 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the correction.
posted by Coventry at 1:21 PM on September 5


The weight of the water that fell on Houston was enough to flex the Earth's crust downward 2cm: tweet and article.
posted by peeedro at 1:52 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


More pet info and resources from Santa Rosa county govt.

Latest NOAA advisory. Includes discussion and threats to land including projected rainfall and storm surges.
posted by Buntix at 2:22 PM on September 5






Hurricane Irma thread.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:17 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Hurricane Harvey hourly rainfall, a nice visualization from Reddit.
posted by Nelson at 10:14 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I submit this link in the hopes that someone would be comforted by a moment of "what the FUCK?" comedy in the midst of this, as well as to tell all of you that I promise you do not need gasoline this badly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 PM on September 6


...Does that include delivery?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 PM on September 6


Does it come in the can? sorry
posted by ctmf at 9:04 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Just to follow up with my posts about Jill. She was found today. She died sometime during the storm. The family is grateful for everyone who helped, and sent out into, and otherwise kept the search for her going.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:34 PM on September 7


SecretAgentSockpuppet, I'm so sorry to hear it. Peace to all those who knew her.
posted by anastasiav at 3:44 PM on September 7 [10 favorites]


Oh damn.
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on September 7


I'm so very sorry.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:34 PM on September 7


Oh, no. I'm so sorry.
posted by Sublimity at 6:43 PM on September 7




Oh, no. I'm so sorry, SecretAgentSockpuppet. You have my condolences.
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on September 8


My condolences, SecretAgentSockpuppet.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:54 PM on September 8


I'm so very sorry, SecretAgentSockpuppet. Condolences to you and her other loved ones.
posted by Superplin at 8:04 PM on September 8


.
posted by mikelieman at 10:45 PM on September 8


This NYTimes article talks about Jill Renick and 22 other people who remain missing: After Harvey, a Grim Hunt in Texas for Those Still Missing
posted by homunculus at 8:01 PM on September 9










« Older Demanding Kinder Classrooms Doesn't Make You a...   |   In every heroin victim I still see my brother Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments