BOSTON – Record-breaking Hurricane Harvey became the second-costliest storm to hit the U.S. and dropped more rain than any other system ever.
Harvey, the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. since 2005, killed at least 103 people and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage, making it the second only to Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, the National Hurricane Center said in a report Thursday.
Drilling down into the casualty figures shows at least 68 people died as a direct result of Harvey’s winds or flooding, the most since Sandy in 2012 and the worst in Texas since 1919, the report said.
It was flooding rains that did the most damage and became the signature for Harvey, paralyzing Houston, the fourth-largest American city, and crippling the Western Hemisphere’s oil, refining and chemical hub. About 40,000 people were evacuated or had to flee to shelters across Texas and Louisiana. In addition, 30,000 water rescues occurred during the storm.
A record 60.6 inches (153.9 cm) fell near Nederland, Texas, about 90 miles east of Houston.
Analysis showed a large portion of southeastern Texas got more than 3 feet of rain and experienced a once-in-1,000-years flood. “While established records of this nature are not kept, given the exceptional exceedance probabilities, it is unlikely the United States has ever seen such a sizable area of excessive tropical cyclone rainfall totals as it did from Harvey.”