The small town of Rockport Texas has no police cars left in operable condition with most having had their windows blown out by the force of the wind and others flooded. The mayor calls the town “devastated.” Communications with even large towns are difficult at this time and assessment of rural communities will probably take several days. Even helicopter surveys are difficult or impossible due to continuing high winds and heavy rains.

Harvey neither gone nor soon forgotten

The bayous in the Houston area are already swelling with the Heavy Rain but Harvey isn’t even downgraded to a tropical storm yet, it remains a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph the eye of the storm is passing over Victoria Texas.

The storm is crawling north at a glacial 2 mph. A wind speed in excess of 74 mph is necessary to classify a storm as a hurricane.

Meanwhile, President Trump has declared Texas a disaster area, allowing federal resources to pour into the area. FEMA has prepositioned supplies at a safe distance and really couldn’t have moved into the area before now.

With downed trees and power lines, it is unlikely that FEMA will be able to reach the more damaged areas for up to a day, certainly not the area around and north of Victoria since Hurricane Harvey is still sitting over that area.

Services

The state Emergency Management agency reports that so far nearly 300,000 residents are without power. One former emergency management official said that it is important that power and gas be purposefully cut off to threatened and already damaged areas because of the fear of fires caused by broken gas mains and downed electrical wires.

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It is also important to shut off such services because leaving them on will cause much greater damage to the infrastructure, making it much harder to restore services.

Water and power

With all the rain it may be that people won't face the immediate problem of finding potable water for drinking but even rain water should be filtered and boiled as should any water not previously stored in advance of the storm.

In conditions such as this where water is being blown off the ocean and off of damaged ground rain will be mixed with some salt water and possibly contaminated.

Warnings to store water before such a storm is often ignored or impossible because people haven't saved any empty containers or relied on being able to purchase bottled water from stores.

The need to boil water is much harder than people who haven't been through this sort of event because they don't remember that there is almost no possible way to start a fire.

Clorox or other bleach (without soap) can be used to sterilize water and it is much easier to store one gallon of bleach than hundreds of gallons of water. Two drops will sterilize a quart of filtered water and 8 drops will sterilize a gallon of all but the most polluted water. It is important to remember that Clorox won't remove chemical poisons, it only kills bacteria and virus.