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The Backstory: Four years ago this week, Hurricane Harvey's 'Rain of Terror'

Up to 5 feet of rain fell in the span of a few days as Harvey flooded a broad section of southeast Texas in 2017.

HOUSTON — Four years ago this week, Hurricane Harvey's "rain of terror" began across Texas after first coming ashore near Rockport on Aug. 25, 2017. The Category 3 storm set off historic floods that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses from the Louisiana border to Central Texas.

Most of Harvey's story wasn’t as much about winds and tides as about rain, although popular Gulf destinations Port Aransas and Rockport sustained heavy wind damage. 

Unlike most hurricanes that continue moving forward on a path until they fall apart over dry land, Harvey was different.

It struck the Texas coast three times – at Rockport, near Houston, then at Port Arthur – after slowly meandering through the Gulf of Mexico. Harvey simply refused to move, dumping an incredible amount of rain that literally fell for days, non-stop.

The Weather Service reported an entire year’s worth of rain fell in one week over southeast Texas. More than 60 inches of rain accumulated at Nederland, south of Beaumont. 

The flood waters were so heavy in Houston that scientists say that city sank almost an inch under the weight.

Harvey flooded hundreds of miles of Texas, from Port Arthur, near the Louisiana border, to La Grange, over 100 miles inland. Even Austin experienced some minor street flooding from the storm.

It was the second worst hurricane since 1900, and the amount of property damage was $125 billion.

But Harvey was also a story about everyday heroes as people pitched in and joined emergency workers to help rescue their neighbors. The images of thousands of water rescues flooded the airwaves and were seen online. 

Hurricane Harvey is four years gone, but likely still remembered by the Texans who lived through it.  


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