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At least 30 dead as Hurricane Harvey flooding intensifies

Texas+National+Guard+soldiers+arrive+in+Houston%2C+Texas+to+aid+citizens+in+heavily+flooded+areas+from+the+storms+of+Hurricane+Harvey.+%7C+%22IMG_4754%22+by+Texas+Military+Department+and+Zachary+West+is+licensed+under+CC+BY-ND+2.0
Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston, Texas to aid citizens in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey. |

Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston, Texas to aid citizens in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey. | "IMG_4754" by Texas Military Department and Zachary West is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston, Texas to aid citizens in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey. | "IMG_4754" by Texas Military Department and Zachary West is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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Hurricane Harvey has been reeking havoc upon the U.S. Gulf. It has taken the lives of at least 30 people and is estimated to cost $160 billion according to weather forecasting service AccuWeather.

The effects of Hurricane Harvey intensified after a lethal combination of events: warm water in the Gulf of Mexico that intensified the rainfall, and a lack of winds in the upper atmosphere that could have steered Harvey away from land.

“A two or three-foot storm surge alone would not have been catastrophic,” said storm surge expert Mr. Needham. “It was all these ingredients coming together.”

Hurricane Harvey strengthened to a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico last week and reached land near Corpus Christi, Tex., around 9:45 p.m. on Friday. The hurricane ended up being Category 4, which means that “catastrophic damage will occur,” with winds of 130 miles per hour. It then moved offshore before making landfall again on the shore of Copano Bay, now as a Category 3 hurricane, which means that “devastating damage will occur.”

Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, has been overwhelmed with floods. Unlike many other cities in the hurricane’s path, Houston did not order evacuations before the storm, and countless residents were trapped in flooding homes.

The storm made its second landfall just west of Cameron, LA, the National Hurricane Center said at 4 a.m. Wednesday. Harvey was expected to move northeast, gradually weakening and becoming a tropical depression by Wednesday night.

Areas in Houston have been flooded by more than 50 inches, and totals could exceed 20 inches in southern Louisiana, the National Weather Service reported. Over the past four days, more than a trillion gallons of rain have fallen in Harris County alone — enough to run Niagara Falls for 15 days or fill the Houston Astrodome 3,200 times.

Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $160 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from AccuWeather. This is equal to the combined cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 0.8% economic hit to the gross national product

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