Hurricane Harvey Wreaks Flooding Havoc

Rising floodwaters continue to threaten Southeast Texas and Louisiana.

Aug 28, 2017 | ARTICLE
Texas National Guard soldiers assist residents affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm with winds over 130 mph, made landfall Friday night near Rockport, Texas, north of Corpus Christi. Houston, San Antonio, and many other cities are now dealing with unprecedented rainfall and widespread flooding. As predicted, the hurricane has remained stalled over South Texas and as much as 50 inches of rain is forecast in some areas. Hurricane Harvey may force 30,000 individuals out of their homes and into shelters, according to The Washington Post

ICMA members and staff express concern and support for the Southeast Texas flood victims as well as those in Louisiana who have just begun to deal with the storm. Our thoughts go out to our local government colleagues who are working tirelessly to help rescue those in harm’s way, as well as to the thousands of individuals and their families who have been displaced, injured, or tragically killed.

Texas City Management Association President and Balcones Heights, Texas, City Administrator David Harris reports that “So many roads are closed that it is hard to get resources into the flooded area.”  TCMA is surveying managers in the state to gather information on who needs help and who has help to offer. The association is asking communities to identify the specific help that they need, e.g., boats for immediate rescue operations, as well as for longer term recovery. 

Texas local governments have robust mutual aid agreements throughout the state. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with local and state agencies to help with the recovery effort. In addition, should resources from other states be needed, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) can be tapped to provide mutual aid across state lines. Operating in all 50 states, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam, EMAC does not replace federal assistance, but complements it. Learn more about EMAC deployments here.

The American Red Cross has set up a donation page for those who wish to offer financial support for those affected. The Texas Municipal League posted this on its Twitter feed for disaster relief. To update your disaster plan, check out this resource, Hurricane Preparation from FEMA, as well as dozens of others in our Emergencies and Disasters topic area. ICMA has also updated its Flood Mitigation and Management Resources with fresh information for communities that are dealing with natural disasters. And don't miss the stories NACo has compiled about how counties are helping one another cope with the disaster. 

Additional Resources
  • The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.
  • The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Diasaster (NVOAD), an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.