Weather World

Storm Harvey: ‘We just don’t know when it’s going to end,’

The storm is so strong that it can be seen from space and so much rain has fallen, and is expected to keep falling

Tropical Storm Harvey made its second landfall just west of Cameron, LA, after tens of thousands were forced from their homes in Texas following heavy rains. One rain gauge rose above 51 inches, a record for the contiguous U.S.

Tropical Storm Harvey has set a record for rainfall in the continental US, according to the National Weather Service. The storm has poured 51.88 inches of rain into Cedar Bayou, Texas.

The previous record for rainfall in the continental US was 48 inches, also in Texas, during cyclone Amelia in 1978. However, the all-time record of 52 inches happened near Hawaii in 1950 and it’s still possible for the storm to exceed the all-time record.

The destruction to the health services is immense. More than two dozen hospitals in Houston and along the Gulf Coast have closed or evacuated some patients amid Tropical Storm Harvey’s pounding rains and flooding.

The list has swelled to 27 hospitals since Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Friday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The closures are increasing strain on the hospitals still open, which are now bracing for an expected surge in demand when roadways begin to clear.

“We know what’s coming,” said Alex Loessin, a spokeswoman for Memorial Hermann Health System, which runs hospitals and clinics in the Houston area.

On Tuesday the health system reopened two urgent-care centers in the Houston area to treat residents who have been cut off from medical care by flooding, with the hope it would alleviate an expected rush to the health system’s emergency rooms in the coming days, Ms. Loessin said. Memorial Hermann planned to open four more urgent-care centers Wednesday, she said.

Beyond the 27 hospitals that have closed or evacuated some patients, another 25 hospitals have reported storm-related problems that may leave them unable to accept new patients, said Darrell Pile, chief executive officer of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, which is coordinating disaster response across counties hit by the storm.

An estimated 1,500 patients along the Gulf Coast have been evacuated from hospitals as a result of Harvey, Mr. Pile said late Tuesday. Although, the flooding is expected to continue until at least Wednesday.

The storm is so strong that it can be seen from space and so much rain has fallen that the NWS has had to update the colour charts on its graphics to map it correctly. Meteorologists have called the storm “unprecedented,” with winds hitting 130 miles per hour as they approached the state. The flooding is still very serious, and the death toll has risen to 13 people, according to local Texas officials.

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