HURRICANE HARVEY SLAMS INTO TEXAS
Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, on Friday night. Harvey was the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Carla arrived near Port O’Connor on Sept. 11, 1961. Wilma, in October 2005, was the last major hurricane to make landfall in the United States. Charley, in August of 2004 was the last Category 4 hurricane to hit the U.S. Both Wilma and Charley made landfall in Florida.
Only about 15 miles west of Port Aransas, the city of Corpus Christi got blasted with high winds late Friday night, and more than 40,000 power outages were reported across the surrounding county. Meanwhile, in the other direction from Harvey’s core, a cluster of intense thunderstorms battered western parts of the Houston area, with at least one tornadic circulation evident on radar late Friday night.
Since it made landfall, Harvey’s winds have decreased from 130 mph to 80 mph, bumping its status down from a Category 4 storm to a Category 1. But one of the greatest, most life-threatening risks comes from the storm surge. These are the extra-high tides from the storm that flood coastal areas.
The latest 5-day precipitation outlook from the NOAA/NWS Weather Prediction Center projects that an area larger than the state of Massachusetts, including Houston and Galveston, can expect more than 20 inches of rain between now and Wednesday. There is virtually no precedent for such a slow-moving system maintaining at least tropical storm strength along the Texas coast for five days.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), about 22 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production is offline due to the hurricane. That equates to roughly 377,117 barrels of oil per day, out of the roughly 1.75 million barrels pumped daily from the Gulf. About 23.2 percent of Gulf natural gas production is offline due to Harvey (Source: NOAA, AccuWeather, Weather Underground – Image NOAA)