With up to 42 Inches of Rain Already Dumped on Texas, Harvey’s Track Over Gulf Means 10-21 More to Come

By mid-afternoon Monday, a still very wet Harvey had back-tracked over the Gulf of Mexico. The storm has now dumped unprecedented, record-setting rains totaling more than 30 inches over a Houston that is being forced to release dam water into already flooded regions in order to prevent over-topping or worse. Meanwhile, nearby Dayton, as of this morning, had received nearly 40 inches since the storm began on Friday. And as of noon, Baytown, TX has seen 41.77 inches over the sixty hour storm period.

Harvey’s circulation is now located along the coast south and west of Galveston and it is edging slowly back over the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is still drawing copious volumes of moisture up from the Gulf. This moisture flood is still fueling a massive shield of rain and thunderstorms stretching over much of Eastern Texas, a good portion of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. And with its center now moving back over water, this moisture flow and its related thunderstorms are again starting to intensify.


(Harvey’s rains shield reinvigorates as the storm once again crosses into the Gulf. Image source: The National Weather Service.)

Presently, the most intense rains from the system are clustered over Houston (still), adjacent portions of the Texas Coast, and Eastern Louisiana.

As of 4 PM CDT, Harvey had re-intensified somewhat to 997 mb with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour. Over the next 24 hours, Harvey is expected to back slowly southward over the Gulf of Mexico, then turn back northward. By late Tuesday, the tropical storm is again expected to be closing in on the Texas Coast for a likely second landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Present satellite imagery shows Harvey reintensifying somewhat in the infrared — with stronger storms firing near Harvey’s Center and just to the north in the Houston region. A dry slot of air in the storm, however, is likely to limit re-strengthening as the storm passes over water during the next 12-24 hours.

(Harvey appears to restrengthen somewhat in the infrared satellite as it taps Gulf heat and moisture. Image source: The National Hurricane Center.)

As such, Harvey at present is still a rather dangerous rain event. An event that is now re-gathering some of its strength and intensity as it digs more deeply into Gulf moisture.

Earlier today, meteorologists noted an optimistic wedge of dry air moving into the system from Central Texas. Such a wedge would tend to tamp down rainfall rates over Houston and East Texas. And the region did get a bit of a respite from heavy rains earlier in the day. However, with the moisture tap to that abnormally warm Gulf now re-established, heavier rains are again filling in near the storm center and just to the north.

(NOAA is still showing a potential for in excess of 20 inches of rain in the Houston region even following the massive, historic deluge that has already been unleashed by a hurricane fueled by a record warm world. Image source: NOAA.)

As a result, Houston is likely to get socked with a third bout of very heavy rain tonight through tomorrow with a fourth bout likely on tap for late Tuesday night. And, presently, NOAA now predicts that up to another 21 inches of rain is on the way for the Houston region on top of the already historic totals of 20-40 inches that have inundated the city.


UPDATE (8): The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center notes that:

Harvey is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 10 to 20 inches through Thursday over parts of the upper Texas coast into southwestern Louisiana. Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches over the upper Texas coast, including the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area. These rains are currently producing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding over large portions of southeastern Texas. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL IN THE AFFECTED AREA IF YOU ARE IN A SAFE PLACE. DO NOT DRIVE INTO FLOODED ROADWAYS. Please see warnings and products issued by your local National Weather Service office for additional information on this life-threatening situation.

This storm isn’t over folks. Not by a long shot.



The National Weather Service

The National Hurricane Center


Harvey Moves Back Over Water. Historic Rainfall Will Continue.

Hat tip to wili

Hat tip to eleggua

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  1. wili

     /  August 28, 2017

    Thanks for keeping on top of this.

    Jeff Masters just posted maps and an excellent review of Addicks and Barker reservoir options and operations that complements news about the shaky earthen dams in a local newspaper:


  2. wili

     /  August 28, 2017

    “The Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs were both authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1938 and completed in the 1940s…”


    Very old dams. On the radio, they said that they are among the country’s least stable. Still looking for an independent source on that.

    (WaPo and WSJ seem to be allowing unlimited access to their Harvey coverage.)

  3. Updated 430 PM. Corrections added. Dayton is a separate city a bit east of Houston. Had originally thought it was a Houston suburb.

    Updated 505 PM EST. National Hurricane Center notes that restrengthening will likely be inhibited by the dry slot cycling in from the SW. Rainfall in the center of the storm is not expected to be inhibited at this time.

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Houston before:

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017


      • Looks like easily 30 feet of water rise here. Some places have been reporting 59 feet.

        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          Michael E. Mann
          Yesterday at 1:05pm ·

          What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane #Harvey?

          There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.

          Sea level rise attributable to climate change (some is due to coastal subsidence due to human disturbance e.g. oil drilling) is more than half a foot over the past few decades (see http://www.insurancejournal.com/…/sou…/2017/05/31/452704.htm for a decent discussion).

          That means that the storm surge was a half foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.

          In addition to that, sea surface temperatures in the region have risen about 0.5C (close to 1F) over the past few decades, from roughly 30C (86F) to 30.5C (87F), which contributed to the very warm sea surface temperatures (30.5-31 C or 87-88F). There is a simple thermodynamic relationship known as the “Clausius-Clapeyron equation (see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relat…) that tells us there is a roughly 3% increase in average atmospheric moisture content for each 0.5C (~1F) of warming. Sea surface temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than the ‘average’ temperatures a few decades ago. That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.

          That large amount of moisture meant the potential for much greater rainfalls and greater flooding.

          The combination of coastal flooding and heavy rainfall is responsible for the devastating flooding that Houston is experiencing.

          Not only are the surface waters of the Gulf unusually warm right now, but there is a deep layer of warm water that Harvey was able to feed upon when it intensified at near record pace as it neared the coast. Human-caused warming is penetrating down into the ocean warming not just the surface but creating deeper layers of warm water in the Gulf and elsewhere.

          So Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human- caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge (as an example of how this works, we have shown that climate change has led to a dramatic increase in storm surge risk in New York City, making devastating events like Superstorm #Sandy more likely (http://www.pnas.org/content/112/41/12610.full).

          Finally, the more tenuous but potentially relevant climate factors: part of what has made Harvey such a devastating storm is the way it has stalled right near the coast, continuing to pummel Houston and surrounding regions with a seemingly endless deluge which will likely top out at nearly 4 feet of rainfall over a several days-long period before it is done.

          The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth like a top with no direction. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the U.S. right now, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change.

          More tenuous, but possibly relevant still, is the fact that very persistent, nearly ‘stationary’ summer weather patterns of this sort, where weather anomalies (both high pressure dry hot regions and low-pressure stormy/rainy regions) stay locked in place for many days at a time, appears to be favored by human-caused climate change. We recently published on this phenomenon: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep45242

          In conclusion, while we cannot say climate change “caused” hurricane Harvey (that is an ill-posed question), we can say that it exacerbate several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.

          Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

        • Leland Palmer

           /  August 29, 2017

          So, Michael Mann is saying that climate change likely had both a quantitative effect on heat and moisture and a qualitative impact on the path of Harvey.

          Kevin Trenberth is saying similar things, in The Atlantic magazine:


          “Harvey benefited from unusually toasty waters in the Gulf of Mexico. As the storm roared toward Houston last week, sea-surface waters near Texas rose to between 2.7 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average. These waters were some of the hottest spots of ocean surface in the world. The tropical storm, feeding off this unusual warmth, was able to progress from a tropical depression to a category-four hurricane in roughly 48 hours.

          “This is the main fuel for the storm,” says Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Although these storms occur naturally, the storm is apt to be more intense, maybe a bit bigger, longer-lasting, and with much heavier rainfalls [because of that ocean heat].”

          This also suggests an explanation for one of Harvey’s strangest and scariest behaviors. The storm intensified up until the moment of landfall, achieving category-four strength hours before it slammed into the Texas coast. This is not only rare for tropical cyclones in the western Gulf of Mexico: It may be unique. In the past 30 years of records, no storms west of Florida have intensified in the last 12 hours before landfall.”

  4. wili

     /  August 28, 2017

    So what do people think about whether more people should have been evacuated ahead of this thing?

    • Evacuating Houston would have been impossible. I saw what happened when half a million Coloradans flooded back into Colorado from Wyoming/Nebraska after viewing the eclipse: total gridlock (which we managed to avoid via a combination of good planning and good luck).

      Now multiply that half a million by 8 or 9 to scale up to a Houston evacuation. It would have been a complete fustercluck.

      • They could have evacuated the low-lying areas in phases. Not really going to recriminate, though. It’s a tough choice whether or not to shelter in place. But if one of those dams go, they’re going to wish they evacuated.

        • wili

           /  August 29, 2017

          rs, that’s my thinking too. Any evacuated vulnerable people would be that much fewer that rescuers would have to deal with now. Water under the bridge now, so to speak. But it does seem like there should be some such pre-triage protocols set up in these areas, especially if we are going to continue to allow so many to settle in such flat, low-lying, hurricane-prone areas.

        • That’s what I would have advised had I been sitting on the emergency management board. If one of those dams does go, though, people are going to be very upset that some kind of evacuation wasn’t called. It’s a flaw that we tend to prepare for the last event, not the present one. The current decision was based on the mess that happened during the Rita evacuation. It was probably a bit of an over-compensation.

        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          From 350 dot org:


          Hurricane Harvey is an unnatural disaster. The situation unfolding on Texas’ Gulf Coast is unlike anything else in history, and it is the product of both a hotter planet and this Administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness.

          Over 6 million people are being affected by this storm. This is a crucial moment to support the people impacted — here are two places you can donate:

          To donate to an alliance of progressive organizations that will be advocating directly for people impacted hardest by the storm, click here.

          To donate to TEJAS, a Houston area environmental justice organization that will be supporting recovery efforts in neighborhoods around Houston’s oil industry, click here.

          …Climate change is real. The people hit the hardest are often poor, people of color, or otherwise vulnerable communities. Climate change is also a choice, one that the fossil fuel industry makes over and over again, despite the consequences for people all over the world. The suffering caused by Harvey is enormous, and the time for action is now.


          Jenny Marienau

        • Thanks so much for this statement, Jenny. Good thoughts.

        • Eric Thurston

           /  August 29, 2017

          And there was the hurricane last year, can’t remember its name, that almost hit Florida but ended up skating northward just off the coast. There were lots of people who listened to the governor who advised evacuation and then were pissed off because the dire scenario didn’t happen. Seems that you are going to be damned if you do and damned if you don’t in many cases.

          Unfortunately, we may be likely to encounter this situation more frequently as time and climate change march on.

        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          “Seems that you are going to be damned if you do and damned if you don’t in many cases.”

          Either way, flood or not, you survive if you evacuate. Evacuate and live: simple.

        • cushngtree

           /  August 29, 2017

          Thinking about the economics of it, as opposed to the logistics. Say you were that retirement home in Rita or whatever…who pays to move these people pre-event? Where are they going to end up? You have to contact each DPOA (designated power of attorney) to get permission to move pre-event, and leave half the staff with the patients who stay (b/c no one could reach their DPOA), and some staff to go with the patients, and yeah, it’s a logistical as well as financial nightmare.

        • Leland Palmer

           /  August 29, 2017

          Good point, staged evacuations of areas likely to flood. This would be relatively easy to do, with modern software, GPS, and maybe social networking. Tie it all in to the weather models, the way you did on this blog a week or so ago. It could have been done, and should be done next time, I think.

          This stalling behavior of hurricanes may be one of the emergent properties of our destabilizing climate system. Likely it is, according to Michael Mann. We should get ready for it, even before a second example of it comes along, I think.

      • cushngtree

         /  August 29, 2017

        And if you guessed wrong and there was no problem? You’ve just sent your business into the toilet, and face potential lawsuits for moving someone’s family member “w/o sufficient cause”. No wonder people wait until the wolf is at the door.

        • Leland Palmer

           /  August 29, 2017

          Well, if you move the easy cases first, this would allow easier evacuation of the hard cases like the old folks home when it becomes absolutely necessary, maybe.

          Maybe we should have laws limiting civil liability for evacuations, holding public officials to some easy to meet standard like “reasonable technical effort”.

  5. Robert McLachlan

     /  August 28, 2017

    Brock Long today: “You could not draw this forecast up. You could not dream this forecast up.” Oh really?

  6. Florence

     /  August 28, 2017

    I’m in Fort Bend County and we have received 29 inches of rain and it is still raining. The Brazos River is supposed to crest at 59 feet tomorrow. Unfortunately, the housing subdivisions along the Brazos are protected by levees that were not designed for 59 feet. Evacuation from all these subdivisions is hampered by so many roads being closed due to high water. It’s a mess.

    • Prayers and thoughts are with you, Florence. Hope you and yours get out safe. Thanks for sending along your thoughts and experiences. Sounds pretty scary.

  7. Dave McGinnis

     /  August 28, 2017

    Especially in a place that floods allatime. But I’ve been on both sides of that equation. In 2005 we forecast 5 feet of salt water over my island Key West from Wilma. It happened. But what we didn’t say was that it would ruin thousands of vehicles, contaminate hundreds of homes and take five years to recover from. Wasn’t our job. Was it?

  8. It looks like the eye is out over the Gulf again. Could this thing intensify from here or what conditions would be needed to see it regain hurricane status?

    • It’s currently being inhibited by a dry air slot invading from the southwest. This should prevent or tamp down any potential strengthening. It’s unlikely to reach hurricane strength again.

  9. Syd Bridges

     /  August 28, 2017

    Just when will the unfortunate people of Houston get a break from all of this rain? How many years will it take to recover from this disaster? I wonder whether Houston will ever have as high a population as it has now, since it won’t be long before another such storm or rising sea levels begin to destroy the region’s habitability.

    Although the disaster that befell New Orleans should have kick-started the national conversation on what to do for the future, it didn’t: partly through racist indifference-it mainly affected black and poor people-; partly because people said it was a result of corruption-“what do you expect in Louisiana?”-; and partly because it just didn’t affect most people.With a wealthy city and the fourth largest in the nation devastated, how much longer can people pretend nothing is wrong? How many coastal cities from Texas to Maine could not be devastated by such an event as Harvey, when the 1000 year flood suddenly becomes the 20 year flood?

    Unfortunately, I am not holding my breath….

    Well, perhaps fortunately, as I hope to live a little longer.

  10. GFS is still showing some pretty amazing rainfall hotspots.

  11. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Hurricane Harvey Will Cost Tens of Billions of Dollars’
    Aug. 28, 2017 6:00 p.m. ET


    “Even after the immediate threat from Hurricane Harvey has passed and the floodwaters receded, the Texas Gulf Coast faces tens of billions of dollars in property damage, bottlenecks at some of the nation’s largest oil refineries, and work disruptions possibly for millions of workers.

    “The damage will likely be much higher than most recent hurricanes have been,” said Adam Kamins, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. There are “very high levels of housing density where some of the most severe flooding is taking place. Because of that you have very high expected property and vehicle damage.”

    Moreover, the storm could impact the economy nationwide due to the large oil refining presence in the Gulf Coast. Refiners in Corpus Christi, Lake Charles and Houston have about 30% of the nation’s oil refining capacity.

    About 2 million barrels a day of refining capacity—about 10% of the nation’s overall refining capacity—is now offline, according to Moody’s. How soon refiners reopen will depend on whether the plants and the ports sustain major damage from the flood. But refiners outside the region may be able to step up production to offset some of the effects.”

  12. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Coast Guard rescues 15 people aboard vessels in distress’
    Posted: Aug 26, 2017


    “Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi received notifications of people in distress aboard the vessels Sabine Pass, Sandy Point, and Signet Enterprise.

    Watchstanders directed a launch of two Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews.

    Coast Guard aircrews are conducting several search and rescue cases to include:

    – Seven people were rescued aboard the tugboat Sabine and airlifted to a rig near Aransas Pass.

    – Four people were rescued aboard the vessel Signet Enterprise that was taking on water and airlifted to safety.

    – Four people rescued aboard vessel Sandy Point.

    “This case included 2 Coast Guard MH-65 helicopters collaborating in a great effort to save multiple lives. To complete the evolution quickly and take these mariners out of harms way, the aircrews delivered the survivors to a drop off point and the Signet Constellation transported the survivors to a safer location,” according to Capt. Tony Hahn, commander, Sector Corpus Christi.

    “This was a great effort between our Coast Guard aircrews and Signet Constellation’s crew in very dangerous conditions.””

  13. Circulation is moving a bit out from under the convection. It does appear that the dry air slot is inhibiting the storm a bit at this time.

  14. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Harvey Live Updates: More Rain and Rescues as Storm Lashes Texas’
    AUG. 28, 2017

    • The Houston region now looks like an inland sea dotted by islands, with floodwaters inundating roads, vehicles, and even bridges and buildings. Thousands of people have been rescued from flooded homes and cars.

    • On Monday, local officials said the death toll had risen to 10 from five.

    “In Harris County, we have six deaths that are potentially flood related,” said Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which serves as both a medical examiner’s office and crime lab. Officials also reported one death each in Rockport and La Marque, and two in Montgomery County….

    • Times journalists chronicled the unfolding disaster: We’re sharing a collection of the most powerful photographs and a guide to our ongoing coverage. Alan Blinder witnessed dramatic rescues by the National Guard. He and Sheri Fink looked at hospitals inundated by patients and water. Julie Turkewitz captured the terror felt by Houston’s homeless. And Jack Healy visited a San Antonio evacuation center where people were desperate for news from home.

    Evacuees and residents face a new reality.

    Rescues of people stranded by floodwaters continued on Monday throughout southeastern Texas, and Gov. Greg Abbott said the state was sending hundreds more boats and high-clearance vehicles to the region to aid those efforts.

    Governor Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard, except those already deployed or preparing to deploy on other missions, to aid in storm rescue and recovery. He said the order will increase the number of troops involved to 12,000 from about 3,000.

    The city of Dallas is opening a “mega-shelter” to house up to 5,000 evacuees from the battered Gulf Coast, and Mayor Mike Rawlings said on Monday the North Texas city has been asked to brace for “numbers that could be up in the tens of thousands.” In Fort Worth, 30 miles west of Dallas, Mayor Betsy Price said city officials are also preparing to activate shelters once the state requests assistance.

    In San Antonio, empty warehouses were being readied as shelters for 4,100 evacuees.

    Dallas officials said the city began making arrangements to convert its convention center into a giant shelter after a request from state officials. The city is already operating shelters at three local recreation centers, and Mayor Rawlings said city officials would consider other sites in Dallas and the surrounding county.
    Waterlogged and abandoned cars are everywhere.

    The cars, it seemed, were everywhere, abandoned with few clues as to how their drivers had escaped or what became of those people afterward.

    As Harvey continued to unleash itself on Houston, abandoned vehicles became eerie symbols of the storm’s destruction.Cars sat half-smashed on the side of the road and alone in muddy fields. A red sedan was trapped in a road-turned-river in the Galleria area. A cluster of trucks and S.U.V.s were stuck in a highway-turned-lake on U.S. 59 East.

    By one highway ramp, a black vehicle sat surrounded by water, stopped like a dead whale. On an opposite ramp, a semitrailer sat contorted, its front cab facing right in a turn that never fully happened.
    A refinery shutdown raises concerns of higher gasoline prices.

    Ms. Casselano noted that oil companies had ample stocks of oil and gasoline, which should limit the chances of immediate shortages. “Throughout the country we have high levels of supplies,” she said.”

    eleggua: If ^that^ is the case, then why the concern of higher prices? Disaster profiteering.

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      ”Unprecedented’ storm causes billions in damage’
      Aug. 28, 2017


      “….US gas prices rose around 10% ahead of the storm, said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US.

      He expects prices to jump by another 20-30% over the next two weeks in the Texas region, with less significant increases elsewhere, he said.

      Food prices could also be affected, as shipments of wheat and soybeans are delayed, he added.

      Globally the impact is likely to be smaller, since the US is not a major source of energy exports and supplies remain historically high…..

      …US economic growth could slow by about a tenth of a percentage point in the quarter as a result of the storm, said Mr Brusuelas. The economy should rebound in the following six months, as spending increases on reconstruction and other efforts….

      …About 18% of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf has stopped, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

      About 11% of all US refining capacity has also shut down, with others operating at reduced rates according to the most recent update from the US Department of Energy. Goldman Sachs put the figure higher at almost 17%….”

  15. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    Reading is fundamental!

    ‘Houston area bookstore opens its doors to Texans battered by Tropical Storm Harvey’
    Aug. 28, 2017


    “Murder by the Book, a mystery bookstore in West University Place, Texas, announced it would open Monday afternoon and offer free coffee and charging stations to those in need…

    The bookstore, however, is not in bad shape. “[We have] a few damp places where water came in, but it is minimal compared to what we expected,” the store’s proprietors wrote Sunday. “All of the homes of the MBTB staff are currently dry and we all have power. We’re of course all still watching the weather, and have a few rough days ahead, but so far we feel very fortunate. Stay safe, be kind, and we hope to see you tomorrow.”

  16. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    More rain, more dead: Harvey floods keeps Houston paralyzed”
    August 28, 2017


    ” Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues.”

    …Chris Thorn was among the many volunteers still helping with the mass evacuation that began Sunday. He drove with a buddy from the Dallas area with their flat-bottom hunting boat to pull strangers out of the water.

    “I couldn’t sit at home and watch it on TV and do nothing since I have a boat and all the tools to help,” he said.

    They got to Spring, Texas, where Cypress Creek had breached Interstate 45 and went to work, helping people out of a gated community near the creek.

    “It’s never flooded here,” resident Lane Cross said from the front of Thorn’s boat, holding his brown dog, Max. “I don’t even have flood insurance.”

    …In the Cypress Forest Estates neighborhood in northern Harris County, people called for help from inside homes as water from a nearby creek rose to the same level as their eaves. A steady procession of rescue boats floated into the area.

    …..Sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday, parts of the Houston region will probably break the nearly 40-year-old U.S. record for the biggest rainfall from a tropical system — 48 inches, set by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978 in Texas, meteorologists said.”

  17. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    Hundreds Of People Rescued From Flooded Streets As Hurricane Harvey Wreaks Havoc In Houston | TIME

  18. We’ve got another powerful thunderstorm forming over Galveston Bay in that area of fiery convection near the coast. If this keeps happening all night long, we will break the all-time record rainfall total for Texas by morning.

  19. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Trump reversed regulations to protect infrastructure against flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey’
    Aug. 28, 2017


    “Just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey descended upon Texas on Friday, wreaking havoc and widespread flooding, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking a set of regulations that would have made federally-funded infrastructure less vulnerable to flooding.

    in the coming days, Congress will be called upon to send billions of federal dollars to help with the state’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    But because of Trump’s rollback of Obama’s Federal Flood Risk Management Standards, experts across the political spectrum say much of the federal money sent to Texas will likely be wasted on construction that will be insufficiently protected from the next storm.

    “We will rebuild things that should not be rebuilt and … in ways that are less safe and secure than they should be,” Eli Lehrer, president of the DC free-market think tank R Street Institute, told Business Insider.

    Shana Udvardy, a climate preparedness specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said it would be a “grave mistake” to rebuild in Texas without taking into consideration the increasing occurrence and severity of major storms. She added that the federal government will lag behind some 600 towns and cities that have already implemented requirements to build between one and three feet above the 100-year flood level.

    Lehrer called Trump’s decision to revoke the standards “the biggest step backwards that has ever been taken in flood management policy” and said the move will waste untold amounts of taxpayer money, harm the environment, and cost lives.

    He and others argue that Trump’s decision was a politically motivated attempt to undo President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy.

    “If the Obama administration had simply described this as a sensible taxpayer protecting land-use measure, the regulations would still be in effect,” Lehrer said.

    And some Republican lawmakers have denounced the move.

    “This executive order is not fiscally conservative,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, said in a statement. “It’s irresponsible and it will lead to taxpayer dollars being wasted on projects that may not be built to endure the flooding we are already seeing and know is only going to get worse.”

    The Obama administration estimated that the regulations would increase building costs by 0.25% to 1.25%, but would save taxpayers significant costs in the future. Studies show that for every $1 spent on disaster mitigation, the government will save $4 on post-disaster aid.

    Joel Scata, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Business Insider that the regulations were in part spurred by the enormous costs of the disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

    “This not only would have protected people and property from future flood events, but also was really meant to reduce the amount of disaster aid we spend on recovery,” he said.

    And while Trump justified the rollback as part of an attempt to streamline and speed up construction projects, Lehrer said the regulations’ impact on the construction process would have been “subtle and inexpensive” in large part, and that an insignificant number of projects would have been abandoned due to increased costs.

    Scata also said the rollback will likely have a disproportionate impact on poor and vulnerable individuals and communities.

    For example, because the Department of Housing and Urban Development will not be obliged to build more resilient structures, those who live in public housing will suffer the consequences. On top of that, about 5%, or 11,000, of the country’s public housing buildings are located in the floodplain, according to a 2015 HUD Inspector General report. “

    • That and the timing of the Arpaio pardon basically deep-sixed the quality of his response. Turned it all political.

      • eleggua

         /  August 29, 2017

        Responsible journos will hammer on those points. Deflection can only last so long given the magnitude of that collosal f-up.

      • eleggua

         /  August 29, 2017

        Check out who asked the question. Softball setup, allowing the Orange Menace to deflect and deny the obvious.

        ‘Trump says he pardoned Joe Arpaio right as Hurricane Harvey began wreaking havoc because ‘I assumed the ratings would be far higher”


        “President Donald Trump said Monday that he announced his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio right as Hurricane Harvey was moving into southeast Texas because “I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally.”

        Standing alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at a White House press conference, Trump was asked by Fox News reporter John Roberts what he would say to those who have been critical, including Republicans, of pardoning Arpaio.

        “What do you say to your critics, some even in your own party, who say it was the wrong thing to do?” Roberts asked.

        “Well a lot of people said it was the right thing to do, John,” Trump said. “And actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally. You know, the hurricane was just starting. And I put it out that we pardoned, as we say, Sheriff Joe.”

        …Trump mentioned Marc Rich, the businessman who was convicted of tax evasion and for making oil deals with Iran during the hostage crisis. Rich was pardoned by President Bill Clinton during Clinton’s last day in office. ”

        Some irony ^^^there. Rich is now dead but his company, Glencore, were the front man in the sale of the 19.5% stake in Rosneft. Trump is likely the man behind Glencore’s curtain.
        That’s probably one of the true claims in the Christopher Steele dossier:
        Trump’s buddy, Carter Page, “got an offer from Rosneft CEO Igor Sachin to broker a sale of 19 percent of the massive oil firm”.

  20. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    In case anyone missed this comment from Scott on Robert’s piece published just prior to this one.

    Scott / August 28, 2017

    Duke Energy Cancels more nuclear reactors
    Duke Energy asked North Carolina’s Utilities Commission’s approval to cancel development of the Lee Nuclear Project.

    • Saw this. Nuclear is getting very expensive compared to all other sources. Some countries will still build it out (China). But the projects take a very long time to complete. The modularity of renewables (and now their low cost) makes them very easy to deploy. Once we get a good share of batteries in the mix, it’ll be even more appealing.

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “This week Duke Energy Corp. asked regulators in two states to cancel its planned nuclear plant in South Carolina. It cited as the reason the bankruptcy of reactor manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Co., low natural gas prices, and the lack of regulatory support from the federal government limiting CO2 emissions.

      The publicly traded utility is cancelling the planned construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors citing that firm’s as yet unresolved bankruptcy proceedings.
      The decision follows a similar move to cancel the twin AP1000s planned for the Levy County site in Florida.
      Four years ago Duke suspending licensing work on the 2nd & 3rd units at the Harris Nuclear reactor citing economic uncertainties. These units were also to have been Westinghouse AP1000s.
      Overall, it appears it is the end of the line for any new reactor construction by the giant utility.

      …Westinghouse has since said as part of its bankruptcy proceedings that it will get out of the business of being an EPC and just serve as a components vendor for the future projects, assuming there are any in the U.S.

      What remains unanswered is why a company with decades of nuclear related project management experience under its belt would abandon that body of knowledge on a “bet the company” project. It also raises the question of why Westinghouse signed a fixed price contract to built two first of a kind reactors at the V C Summer site. In terms of 20/20 hindsight some observers have asked why Scana and Santee Cooper didn’t wait to break ground until after Westinghouse had completed the four reactors under construction in China and had absorbed the lessons learned from those experiences to apply to the projects in the U.S. Both utilities could have build natural gas projects in the interim which they will surely do now to close the 2200 MW gap in generation capacity which will be left by the incomplete reactors.

      …Duke faces an uphill battle to convince North Carolina regulators to approve payment to the firm of $353 million it spent on pre-construction costs and licensing for Lee. Almost all expenditures so far have been for site design and environmental reviews and licensing costs. The Lee project received an NRC combined construction and operating license from the NRC in December 2016.

      If approved by the regulators, the costs would show up in utility bills over the next 12 years or at a rate of about $30 million/year. Duke wants to allocate an additional $173M in costs to South Carolina rate payers. So far the PUC there has not responded to that request. Coming on top of the expected costs that will hit ratepayers in South Carolina for the cancelled V C Sumner project, Duke’s rate case is likely to get a lot of attention.

      …Status of Duke’s Nuclear Fleet
      Duke has six nuclear plants that it operates in its multi-state service area. All were built in the 1970s and ‘80s. They represent about 40% of the electricity the utility provides to its customers. Duke acquired several nuclear reactors as part of the its merger with Progress Energy in 2012. Once of them is the crippled and now permanently closed Crystal River reactor which sustained damage to its containment structure during the replacement of a steam generator. Progress was later ordered by the Florida PUC to refund $288 million to its customers for the cost of replacement power.

      Status of Other Planned New Reactors
      The cancellation of Scana’s nuclear reactor project in South Carolina has scared the socks off other nuclear utilities in the U.S. Unlike the Vogtle project, Scana did not apply for nor obtain loan guarantees. Ratepayer in South Carolina are going to be socked with the costs associated with the abandoned effort. The political costs for state legislators and the public utility commission in that state are incalculable but may be tallied up at the ballot box in the next election.

      Florida – NextEra Energy Inc. has said it’s decided to “pause” an expansion of its Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida, but the company is still seeking approval to obtain and then maintain a federal license for two reactors there. The project plans to build two Westinghouse AP1000s. (2,300 MW)

      Michigan – DTE received a license to build Fermi III, but has not announced plans to break ground. With flat demand for electricity, and record low prices for natural gas, the planning horizon for the reactor could exceed the shelf life of the NRC license which is 20 years. (1,500 MW)

      Virginia – Plans for a third reactor at North Anna remain on hold while Dominion, which closed a perfectly good reactor in Wisconsin due to low natural gas costs, tries to figure out whether moving forward is a prudent action. Like DTE Dominion has an NRC license for the new reactor but no plans to break ground. (1,500 MW)

      Ohio – The Associated Press reports that Ohio governor John Kasich is not backing bailout for state’s nuclear plants. Kasich said this week that he ins not supporting a proposed financial rescue that FirstEnergy Corp. maintains is needed to keep alive the state’s two nuclear plants.

      He said it’s up to the utility to figure out how to keep its nuclear plants operating without a state-approved bailout. First Energy owns and operates the Davis-Besse plant located near Toledo and the Perry Plant located northeast of Cleveland. FirstEnergy wants Ohio lawmakers to sign off on an electricity rate increase for its customers to save which produce 14 percent of the state’s electricity.

      This week Kasich toured a new $800 million natural gas plant near Toledo that can produce enough electricity for 700,000 homes which is roughly equal to a new nuclear reactor.

      “It’s bringing investment, competition and, most important, lower prices for consumers,” Kasich said at the plant’s opening.

      Peter Rigney, who oversaw construction of the natural gas plant in suburban Toledo, told the AP that there are more gas plants like it on the drawing board in Ohio, if the state legislature does not approve financial help for FirstEnergy.

      Ohio is a major supplier of natural gas to the nation as a result of the use of fracking technology to reach reserves that could not be tapped with conventional drilling.”

  21. Starting to look like a very bad night.

  22. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Could Hurricane Harvey Deal a Fatal Blow to Climate Change Skepticism?’
    A growing body of research suggests that perceptions of climate change are influenced by experience with climate-related natural disasters.
    Jared Keller 13 hours ago 8.28.2017


    …depending on the total damage it causes, Hurricane Harvey might actually end up hurting the very climate skepticism that helped catapult Trump to the presidency in the first place.

    But while the full-on embrace of climate skepticism may make political sense for the White House—only 25 percent of Trump voters think climate change is caused by humans—it likely won’t resonate with the Texans who must now live through Harvey and its long-term effects.

    A growing body of research suggests that perceptions of climate change are influenced by experience with climate-related natural disasters. A 2016 analysis in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Science found that, between Hurricane Katrina and the pre-election Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the public discourse surrounding extreme weather shifted dramatically from a purely economic and energy discussion to one focused on climate. And a 2013 study by the Association for Psychological Science found that direct experiences with intense events like Sandy and Hurricane Irene were more likely to re-orient survivors toward “green” and climate-positive political stances. Naturally, the correlation is a bit more nuanced, but the fact remains that climate change concerns are at a three-decade high, and something like Harvey may only weaken confidence in Trump’s climate skepticism…”

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      ‘Texas Becoming A Magnet For Conservatives Fleeing Liberal States Like California’
      August 27, 2017


      “…Stokes was born in Nevada, he has spent all but the first six months of his life in California. For most of that time, any move away from his hometown and family would have been unthinkable for him. But in the past six years, Stokes, who is a Republican, said the political climate and the seemingly unstoppable swing further to the left in California have become unbearable.

      “It’s the simple fact that I’m trying to raise a family,” he said, before adding that he’s tired of feeling like an outsider in his hometown.

      He is a regular voter and in recent years has voted against a long list of proposals. He opposed a hike in gas taxes, the legalization of marijuana and Proposition 57, which allows the early release of some nonviolent offenders from prison in order to alleviate overcrowding. They all passed.

      It is these types of unrelenting political blows, he said, that have left him feeling thwarted and outnumbered. And it is the reason behind the family’s imminent move to Texas, a state where he believes he will finally be surrounded by people who share his conservative values.

      That would make the family of five (almost six) part of a massive wave of Californians migrating to Texas. In fact, by some estimates there will be another 20 million people moving there by 2050.

      Stokes said he’ll be making the move across with the help of a company called Conservative Move whose tag line is “Helping families move Right.”

      Founder Paul Chabot, 42, started the company in May after making the move from San Bernadino, Calif., to McKinney, Texas, with his own family. Chabot, a Republican, had recently endured a second failed run for Congress.

      Following the defeat, he and his wife concluded that their home state is controlled by what he referred to as an ultra-far-left ideology. “And that left ideology in California are largely wealthy liberal coastal elites that I believe controlled most of California through politics and fundraising and policies, hands down,” he said. But, he added, “when you get to the inland part of these states — the Inland Empire, the Central Valley — these are areas where you have working poor people that are living largely impoverished and forgotten.”

      The company was launched in May and already, he claimed, 2,000 families have asked for his help. It’s been an easy sell, he said laughing, because Republicans like Stokes — who are trapped in liberal states — are desperate to leave.

      “It’s because of liberal laws that have basically destroyed the infrastructure or the region,” he said.

      It is also helpful that the local economies and job markets in Texas, especially northern Texas, are booming. And, when compared to home prices in big, blue urban areas, the housing is remarkably affordable.

      When asked to describe what the company does exactly, Chabot said, “Our primary job is to help families living in more blue states relocate to red states.” In practice, he collects a commission from the buying and selling of homes….

      …When pushed to consider if there are any downsides to what he’s doing — encouraging people to stick with their own kind, discouraging them from having neighbors with different points of view — Chabot claimed what he is after is just “a strong sense of community where you feel really good about the people that are around you because they somehow — you just mentally connect with what it is that they want.”

      George Fuller couldn’t disagree more.

      Fuller is a real estate developer and the mayor of McKinney, Texas, which is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — where Chabot lives, has based his company and is luring people to move.

      While Chabot is trying to create communities around a certain set of conservative values, George Fuller is actually creating bricks and mortar communities. He is about to open a 46-acre multi-purpose project.

      Although Fuller is also a conservative Republican, he said, at its core, the desire to self-segregate can be dangerous.

      With the violence of Charlottesville, Va., weighing heavily on his mind, the newly elected mayor acknowledged that Americans have been choosing to “live in bubbles” for decades but he insisted it can leave people out of practice when confronting a person with a different point of view.

      His suggestion: “I think instead of just trying to kind of put together pockets of like-minded, I would think energy is better spent trying to figure out how to live and exist together and find productive solutions going forward versus insulating yourself from different thoughts and ideologies.”

      And, he argues, Chabot’s dream is probably short-lived given the influx of newcomers to Texas. Yes, many may be conservatives seeking refuge in a conservative state, but it’s just as likely many are liberals moving for reasons unrelated to politics. Yet, once they arrive in the red-voting state, their progressive views will have some influence on politics and legislation.

      As evidence, he points to the results of the 2016 presidential election in the state. Forty-three percent of Texans voted for Hillary Clinton.

      So, Fuller cautions all conservative movers to temper their expectations: The Lone Star State might get more blue.”

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like
      It’s time to open our eyes and prepare for the world that’s coming.
      August 28, 2017


      “In all of U.S. history, there’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey. That fact is increasingly clear, even though the rains are still falling and the water levels in Houston are still rising.

      But there’s an uncomfortable point that, so far, everyone is skating around: 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….

      …If we don’t talk about the climate context of Harvey, we won’t be able to prevent future disasters and get to work on that better future. Those of us who know this need to say it loudly. As long as our leaders, in words, and the rest of us, in actions, are OK with incremental solutions to a civilization-defining, global-scale problem, we will continue to stumble toward future catastrophes. Climate change requires us to rethink old systems that we’ve assumed will last forever. Putting off radical change—what futurist Alex Steffen calls “predatory delay”—just adds inevitable risk to the system. It’s up to the rest of us to identify this behavior and make it morally repugnant. …

      …The symbolism of the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history hitting the sprawled-out capital city of America’s oil industry is likely not lost on many. Institutionalized climate denial in our political system and climate denial by inaction by the rest of us have real consequences. They look like Houston.

      Once Harvey’s floodwaters recede, the process will begin to imagine a New Houston, and that city will inevitably endure future mega-rainstorms as the world warms. The rebuilding process provides an opportunity to chart a new path. The choice isn’t between left and right, or denier and believer. The choice is between success and failure.”

        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          Yep. There’s actually a decent amount of pieces from around the US – red and blue areas both – that are connecting those same dots. Anticipating more over the next few daze.

  23. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    I thought this was an interesting article in Scientific American regarding this storm. One of the statements that really caught my eye is “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.”.

    Hurricane Harvey: Why Is It So Extreme?

    How did the storm rapidly blow up from Category 1 to 4, why is it so stuck over Houston, how can it possibly produce so much rain?


    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “Could Harvey exist as a self-perpetuating rain machine over land?

      Masters says meteorologists cannot answer this question yet. “If it were to stay perfectly still, could it maintain itself for a long period of time?” he asks. “That’s an interesting theoretical question. We just don’t know.””

  24. wili

     /  August 29, 2017

    Some at Cat6 are saying that officials have reported that there is uncontrolled flow over (and/or around?) the Barker dam.

  25. Barbara Burnett

     /  August 29, 2017


    (commenter on Cat6 wunderground thinks that mandatory evac will be called once it’s at 106’…which is seems like it is now.)

    Addicks Reservoir water level
    Reading Date
    2109 8/28/2017 9:11 PM 106.02′
    2109 8/28/2017 8:55 PM 105.98′
    2109 8/28/2017 8:45 PM 105.00′
    2109 8/28/2017 8:39 PM 105.90′
    2109 8/28/2017 8:31 PM 105.89′
    2109 8/28/2017 8:23 PM 105.82′

  26. Barbara Burnett

     /  August 29, 2017


    HOUSTON – Barker and Addicks reservoirs continue to rise and are impacting residents in neighboring areas after a controlled water release.

    In a Monday evening press conference, officials said that the pool elevation at Addicks had risen nearly two feet in three hours, up to 105 feet as of 5 p.m. A similar increase was reported at Barker which is currently at 99.9 feet, up from 97.9 feet at 2 p.m.

    Officials had started to release water from both reservoirs early Monday in an effort to prevent uncontrolled releases at the spillways. However, officials warned that there was potential for uncontrolled releases at the Addicks spillway once the pool level reaches 108 feet. That level is 104 feet for Barker.

    Residents along Addicks and Barker reservoirs are being asked to leave their homes.

    • wili

       /  August 29, 2017

      ” uncontrolled releases at the spillways” I think this is already happening.

      “once the pool level reaches 108 feet” The last number I saw was over 107 feet.

      • wili

         /  August 29, 2017

        Mandatory evacuation orders for neighborhoods downstream from it suggest that uncontrolled release is also happening or about to happen from Woodlawn Lake.

        • wili

           /  August 29, 2017

          And Jeff Linder just twittered pictures that suggest Inverness Levee is within a couple inches of overtopping.

        • wili

           /  August 29, 2017


          “A mandatory evacuation has been issued for residents near the Inverness Forest Levee. Water is near the top of the levee.” That was 6:20 pm

        • wili

           /  August 29, 2017

          “A mandatory evacuation has been issued for residents in the Northwood Pines subdivision in Spring due to possible levee failure. Evacuees should go to the shelter at Spring High School. Officials warned if residents do not evacuate before 11 p.m., they may not be able to get out.” Same source, 8:30…these are the neighborhoods downstream from Woodlands Lake (not Woodlawn…sorry about the typo above).

        • Andy_in_SD

           /  August 29, 2017

          From same link you have there wili.

          UPDATE 8:30 PM MONDAY – A mandatory evacuation has been issued for residents in the Northwood Pines subdivision in Spring due to possible levee failure. Evacuees should go to the shelter at Spring High School. Officials warned if residents do not evacuate before 11 p.m., they may not be able to get out.

        • wili

           /  August 29, 2017

          40 minutes ago, Charles Wachal posted this on Cat6 blog. Don’t have independent confirmation yet:

          “I just saw on the news that they have a report that the levee in Inverness Forest has started to be overtopped. Homes are reporting water in it already”

          This is on the Cypress Creek, north of the Cypress Creek Pkwy, between Hardy Toll Road and Interstate 45.

  27. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    A pic of where someone had an axe in their attic fortunately and was able to chop a hole to get out.

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Thank goodness.

      Andy, do you have a link to the story, tweet, whatever the source?

      • Leland Palmer

         /  August 29, 2017

        Maybe we need to map out thousand year flood plains…that we can routinely expect to flood within our lifetimes…

    • Leland Palmer

       /  August 29, 2017

      Add an axe permanently positioned in the attic to disaster preparedness, I think.


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