Hurricane Harvey is a huge, life-threatening storm. It struck the Central Texas coast Friday night and brought with it 130 mph winds and several feet of storm surge. But perhaps more concerning is the rain still to come.
“Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is expected across the middle and upper Texas coast from heavy rainfall of 15 to 30 inches, with isolated amounts as high as 40 inches, through Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center reports in its forecast. That’s almost an entire year’s worth of rain over the course of a few days.
|Hat Tweet for above graphic: Jeffrey Ray @cbs11jeffrey|
And, it’s kind of mind-boggling. So I called up Hal Needham to help put in in perspective. Needham is a scientist (a geographer by training) and consultant who studies storm surge risk. He’s based in Galveston, Texas, and writes about storm surge science on his blog. He says when a storm like Harvey comes along, we tend to think too simply about storm risk: We fixate on wind speed, or storm surge height, or rain. But what makes this particular storm risky (and complex) is how all those elements mix together. Read more