The Category Four hurricane caused widespread flooding and caused $125 billion in damage making it the second costliest hurricane in the nation’s history. Across Texas and Louisiana almost 30,000 people were forced to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere and 10,000 had to be rescued. Flooding affected more than 300,000 homes. Overall the storm affected 13 million people in five states and caused at least 68 direct deaths, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A foot and a half of water covered 70 percent of the Harris County Flood Control District, which includes Houston, according to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. One trillion gallons of water fell across the county over four days with some areas affected by the hurricane recording 56 inches of rain falling over five days, according to the National Weather Service.
Hurricane Harvey was one of just three major hurricanes of 2017 with Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria also causing extensive damage in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, making the 2017 hurricane season the costliest in U.S. history.
Luckily for London his home was located in Brenham, in the hills north of Houston and outside of the flooding area. They didn’t lose power, but they were stuck in place with roads closed due to flooding concerns. But he did view the damage. A friend had to gut his in-law’s house down to the studs because everything was ruined from the flooding.
But his office wasn’t so lucky. The Pro Shop where he was working at the time was closed during the storm. The road he took to work was flooded, and he took a photo of one of its major intersections for Bowler’s Journal International.
In those places where the streets were flooded with feet of water, people could not walk in the water without protection because of the contaminants in the water.
And if they did get their waders on and walk in it, it was difficult because the water was moving. There were warnings to “stay put, turn around, don’t drown,” London said. People came together and looked out for their neighbors, checking on one another after the storm, he said.
The media provided up-to-date information on where it was safe to go, what areas to evacuate and when to stay in place.
Behind those reports were meteorologists and hydrologists making predictions about the weather and flooding assisted by volunteers and emergency workers in the field feeding them data and reports on conditions on the ground.
London now lives in Iowa, and says his first hurricane experience was enough.
“I could handle it if we lived down there again but would certainly prefer not to,” he said.