New Harvey Report

Hurricane Harvey was the second costliest storm in U.S. history, the National Hurricane Center said in a new report released Thursday.

Hurricane Harvey was the second costliest storm in U.S. history, the National Hurricane Center said in a new report released Thursday.

The center’s Tropical Storm Report was released five months after Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast.

The late August storm cost an estimated $125 billion in damage, the administration said. That puts it after only Hurricane Katrina, which caused an estimated $161 billion in damage, according to the report.

The report is one of the most comprehensive pictures yet of the extent of Harvey’s damage. More than 300,000 structures in southeastern Texas were flooded, as were up to 500,000 cars, according to the report.

The storm is blamed for 68 direct deaths, including three in Galveston County. The report counts a direct death as those caused by drowning, or killed by lightning or a wind-related structural collapse.

Other deaths, such as ones caused by heart attacks or house fires, were counted as indirect deaths.

Galveston County officials attributed eight county residents’ deaths to Harvey in the weeks after the storm.

The 36 direct deaths attributed to Harvey make it the deadliest U.S. Storm since Sandy in 2012, and the deadliest hurricane to hit Texas since 1919.

Rain from the storm made Harvey “the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event” in the United States since reliable records began in the 1880s, the report says. The highest single amount of rainfall was recorded by a gauge in Nederland, a small city just north of Port Arthur. That gauge recorded more than 60 inches of rain.

The highest recorded total in Galveston County was in Friendswood, which recorded 56 inches of rain between Aug. 25 and Aug. 31.

Those totals were far more than the National Weather Service predicted in the days and hours before the storm. The service initially predicted a total of 20 inches of rain in some areas as Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Just hours before the storm made landfall, forecasters increased their prediction to up to 40 inches of rainfall, a figure that still proved to be under the ultimate total of the deluge.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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