Thirty-five billion dollars? Fifty billion? One source suggests $75 billion.
Estimates for the total damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas are being thrown around while the water has yet to drain from the streets. There's no doubt it will be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
"On Tuesday, I drove into Port Aransas, where Harvey made landfall. It's just a little fishing community of 5,000 people or so," Texan Jeff Dolan told GrindTV. “Every home and business got hit.”
Dolan is a surf and fashion photographer from Corpus Christie, just 18 miles away. His town saw minimal damage, but the whole region is still in the throes of disaster.
Harvey will go down as one of the most important meteorological events of our time for two reasons, the first being the rapid intensification from a tropical storm to a raging Category 4 hurricane. The second is the utter devastation it caused by dumping days and days of rain on Houston.
The damage inflicted by Harvey where it made landfall has been somewhat eclipsed by the flooding in Houston. Since Harvey made a quick trip inland, it wasn’t as prolonged of a storm event on the coast. Plus, Houston is the fourth most populated city in the country, so the storm is affecting far more people. Harvey’s wake along the coast has been less documented by news crews, partially because they can’t get there and the news in Houston is so dire.
“There’s still no power in the town. The power lines are all leaning or knocked over. There’s only two ways on the island: a bridge from the neighboring barrier island and a ferry. Right now the ferry is only taking emergency vehicles. Windows are shattered and roofs are gone. The mobile homes and RV parks got it really bad,” said Dolan.
The glass frontage of Bay Quest Surf Shop was complexly blown out, and an oil derrick had washed into the port’s shipping channel.
Dolan also noted that while police and border patrol are out on every highway in the region, the National Guard is not in Port Aransas. Even though areas on the coast have been shaken to the core, more attention is needed for the situation in Houston.
“But everything is fairly secure. There weren’t any fatalities. There’s no looting. People in the community are taking care of each other," Dolan reported to GrindTV.
Like many powerful weather events, there was some relief for some Texans. After Harvey had made landfall, the Gulf still had a wave to ride. It wasn’t the dramatic storm surf of the approaching hurricane, but on certain sides of the storm, the wind did go offshore for some clean little waves – a little break from the pounding this storm gave the Lone Star State.
Also, most of the board of directors for the locally run Texas Gulf Surfing Association were directly affected by the storm. Their junior contest for the weekend is cancelled.
“We’re going to be good eventually, but right now we just have to get everyone’s lives back together,” said the association’s treasurer, John Blaha. “It kills us to have to cancel a contest, and we’re going to have to delay the season, but we’ve been around for 30 years. We’ll be back.”
While the rest of the nation is watching the lives of those in Houston literally floating down streets, help is popping up everywhere. Some of the most needed items right now are hygiene effects for displaced families and cleaning/demolition supplies for those starting to gut homes.
While the major aid groups are all collecting money for the relief effort, some prefer to donate through more-familiar channels. Southside Skatepark, in Houston, has created a clothing drive called “I Cleaned Out My Closet for Houston,” where you can send any new (or new-ish) clothes to the park to be distributed. Surf-based relief group Waves for Water has a Hurricane Harvey Relief Initiative fundraiser as well.
More Hurricane Harvey stories from GrindTV