by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:
Superstorm Harvey continues to wreak epic damage to Texas, particularly Houston.
But it’s not the wind, it’s the rain. Epic, record-breaking, unbelievable amounts of rain.
It’s entirely possible that the entire region will not get back ‘to normal’ for months, if not years.
Vice President Mike Pence noted that given the “magnitude of the flooding” that “it will be years coming back.” (Source)
Tens of thousands of homes are flood damaged, many of them total losses. Only one-in-six Houston residences is thought to have flood insurance.
FEMA Director Brock Long said 30,000 are in temporary shelters with 450,000 expected to seek assistance. That may well grow if Harvey cycles back for another hit, which is quite likely at this time (see below).
The entire city of Houston is deserted except for rescue vehicles. So a major American city is not at work today. Or tomorrow. Or....???
A significant portion of the nation’s energy infrastructure is directly impacted by Harvey’s biblical rains and current total shutdown. Crude oil will accumulate there as refineries are unable to process it into fuel products. The prices for those same fuel products has been rising and will continue to spike higher. If this goes on for long enough, actual shortages will result.
The only mitigating factors working against the accumulation of crude at storage farms is the shutdown of wells in the Gulf as well as possibly a few wells in Texas' Eagle Ford region, for which no back-up power exists at the well sites. I don’t have any information on how extensive that might be yet. I'm just guessing at this point.
Rivers in Houston are not expected to crest until Tuesday, at some 11 feet (!!) higher than their current “major flood” stage (forecast as of 2:15 a.m. August 28th, 2017).
There’s no historical parallel for this level of flooding, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.
The good news is that the past 24 hours have seen relatively little rainfall (just under an inch).
The really bad news is that the latest models show Harvey heading back into the Gulf, picking up more moisture and power, possibly becoming a hurricane again, and then coming back ashore aimed straight for a second savaging of Houston:
That would be thoroughly cruel to those who's lives have already been upended by this storm. But nature can be rather remorseless that way.
As the WSJ put it this morning:
HOUSTON—Tropical Storm Harvey was poised to re-enter the Gulf of Mexico Monday and make another landfall closer to Houston roughly two days later, prolonging the slow-motion flooding disaster that already has crippled one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
The storm, still over coastal Texas, is not expected to regain hurricane strength as its eye moves back over water, according to the National Hurricane Center. But its plodding, easterly track means as much as 20 more inches of rain could fall on the Houston area. The region has seen as much as 30 inches in recent days, turning roads into rivers, inundating homes and requiring rescues for thousands of stranded people.
The historic rains, already more than half of what Houston gets in a typical year, were forcing officials to make painful decisions to evacuate flooded areas—and to release water from reservoirs under strain, knowing that it would flow into nearby neighborhoods
20 more inches might fall. This is really without any precedent. It’s a very serious situation and people are mostly shocked and unable to process the enormity of this at the moment.
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