Federal report shows punch of last year’s Hurricane Harvey

WASHINGTON — The official numbers for last year’s Hurricane Harvey are in, and they go beyond the 68 dead and $125 billion in damage.

Two locations in southeast Texas got more than 5 feet of rain and 18 different parts of Texas logged more than 4 feet of rain.

Harvey also spawned 57 tornadoes.

That’s from a report released Thursday by the National Hurricane Center.

“It’s a once in a lifetime event for so many people,” said centre hurricane specialist Eric Blake, lead author of the report. “I think the flooding in the Houston metropolitan area is really unparalleled.”

The entire metro Houston area averaged between three and four feet of rain.

Harvey was the first of three monster storms to hit the United States in 2017. Tallies on Irma and Maria are still being compiled.

Harvey was Texas’ deadliest hurricane in 98 years. All 68 of the deaths were in Texas; 36 in Houston’s Harris County. None was from storm surge — sudden coastal inundation from the sea — which is usually the deadliest part of a hurricane, Blake said. All but three of the deaths were from freshwater flooding.

The hurricane centre estimates Harvey’s damage at between $90 billion and $160 billion with a midpoint of $125 billion, placing it second in U.S. history behind Katrina’s inflation-adjusted $161 billion. The maximum winds on landfall were 133 miles per hour (213 kilometres per hour) making it a Category 5 storm.

But the really big numbers in the report have to do with rain. The Houston metro area experienced a flood that is a greater than once-in-1,000 year event.

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