Harvey

Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.

From Texas Standard:

As the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey approaches, there are questions about whether the federal and state response to the storm will play a role in the midterm elections. In the first stages of recovery, state leaders and local officials in towns hit hard by the storm expressed anger over what they felt was a delayed response from federal and Texas officials. But as time goes by, and more people have gotten back to a new normal, and it may be that those sentiments are not as strong.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is seeking more money for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, and he’s asking Gov. Greg Abbott to dip into the state’s rainy day fund to pay for it. The governor says Houston has access to $50 million, of which the city has used only $5 million. And now there’s a war of words between Turner and other local officials seeking funding and Abbott.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Mayors and city councils along the Gulf Coast didn’t have a lot of time to make decisions during Hurricane Harvey. The situation on the ground changed almost constantly as wave after wave of rain doused their cities. But some of those local officials say their response was impaired by a law meant to keep their communities better-informed: the Texas Open Meetings Act. It requires a certain amount of advance public notice before a meeting – something officials say slowed their decision-making during the storm. This week they brought those claims to the Texas Legislature.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

A joint investigation by the Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle reveals something about Hurricane Harvey recovery that officials aren’t talking about – massive petrochemical contamination, a toxic impact of the storm that’s far more widespread than previously suspected.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

We’ve reached a meaningful marker since Hurricane Harvey battered many communities in Texas – it’s been six months now since the storm. The recovery effort was supposed to be a model in streamlining, but now we know it’s been kind of a tangled mess.

We’ve brought you the voices of city leaders and Texas residents who say getting back on their feet after Harvey has been very hard and the process of getting help from federal and state officials has been slow.

PROJay Phagan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

After Hurricane Harvey, many Texans realized just how wrong experts were about flood control measures in the state’s most populous city. But Houston isn’t the only Texas city at risk from bad or outdated flood plans.

An investigation by the Corpus Christi Caller Times found that the city’s flood maps are outdated – they’ve gone without revision for three decades. The maps were first drafted for a vastly different Corpus Christi.

Saiberiac/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

All eyes are on Washington as temporary spending measures and DACA hover at the top of our debates and news feeds, but one big task Congress has yet to tackle involves a long-stalled $81 billion disaster relief package that would benefit Texans rebuilding from Harvey, as well as aid victims of hurricanes Maria and Irma. Texas farmers demanding a cotton provision are one group that’s been delaying the bill.

Kevin Diaz, Washington correspondent for Hearst Papers in Texas including the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio-Express News, says the relief package has been in the works since November.

Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman/POOL

From Texas Standard.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the state of Texas has billions of dollars of uninsured property. When catastrophe strikes – like, say, a hurricane – who pays for the damage? Eric Dexheimer, an investigative reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, has been doing the numbers.

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been more urban than rural since the 1950s, and though the state’s wide open space has a lot to do with its mystique, rural Texas is often overlooked when it comes to resources.

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece for the Texas Observer, Christopher Collins writes about the seven most pressing issues facing rural Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Thousands of residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in northwest Houston are still in cleanup mode after their homes were inundated. It was only after the rain stopped falling that many of those homeowners discovered they were living in zones intended to be flooded in order to save downtown Houston from disaster.

Weren’t developers required to tell buyers this information? If officials knew these areas were flood pools, why would they permit construction on these sites in the first place?

Craig LeMoult

From Texas Standard.

Last week at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, addressed the need for more federal aid after Hurricane Harvey.

“We do not have the adequate resources, and this is going to be on the verge of a government shutdown if Texas and all the other victims of these hurricanes do not have a compromise where we can work together. I would encourage you to tell the president that it is not enough,” Jackson Lee told Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security.

Galveston Bay Dolphin Research and Conservation Program

From Texas Standard.

Much debris has been cleared out, but three months after Harvey’s landfall, the ecological damage is still being assessed. Not long after the storm clouds cleared, oyster and shrimp farmers lamented the hit to their livelihoods from extensive rains and runoff.

But researchers at the University of Houston at Clear Lake have been looking at the storm’s effect on other marine life, too – and they’ve discovered that bottlenose dolphins, have developed some puzzling ailments after the storm. Kristi Fazioli, a research associate with the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston Clear Lake, helps study this population.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

As we celebrate this holiday of being thankful, we would be remiss not to also think about those who are struggling. This week, we’ve featured stories of the hard time many of our fellow Texans are having rebuilding their homes and their lives after Hurricane Harvey.

So how much damage did Harvey do to Texas homes?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Two months after the storm, there may be cause to rethink what many of us thought we knew about Harvey. Most folks assume that during times of disaster you do see major spikes in crime, but that’s actually not what happened in Houston.

Robert Downen, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, has found some surprising numbers that counter a common narrative.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

It’s mid-October and kids in Port Aransas are finally going back to school in their own community. Classrooms have been closed in the Gulf Coast town since Harvey made landfall. Though Port Aransas Independent School District finally opened its doors, not all of the classrooms are quite where they need to be.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Austin’s centralized shelter for Hurricane Harvey evacuees at the Met Center could close by the end of the week. About 170 people remain at the South Austin shelter. It held as many as 400 evacuees after the storm, which brought record flooding in Houston and devastated parts of the Gulf Coast and Southeast Texas.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Up to 500,000 cars took on water during Hurricane Harvey. Not having a vehicle in car-dependent Texas could be a significant hardship. And those looking for a used car to replace a flooded one should be wary of buying storm-damaged rides.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A Harvey evacuee at the Delco Center was getting treated for a wound on her head last week when workers discovered she was diabetic.

“The people of CVS immediately ordered the insulin," says Adryana Aldeen, who was volunteering with the Red Cross that day. "She was out of insulin.”

Austin Price for KUT

Texas will be cleaning up and rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey for a long time, and Hurricane Irma is getting ready to hit Florida hard. When a natural disaster strikes, many people have an immediate urge to help. But as the waters – and news coverage – subside, so can attention. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Like thousands of Hurricane Harvey victims, Patricia Belcher spent her time last week in limbo. She and her family were stuck in a shelter in Austin after the managers of her Victoria apartment complex called with bad news.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Wendy Rivera sat on a metal folding chair outside the shelter for Harvey evacuees in Southeast Austin. She shared a 44-ounce convenience store soda with her husband, Ramiro, a soft-spoken and tattooed man, who used his body and a white towel to shade the two from the sun.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Standing on the bank of Onion Creek at McKinney Falls State Park, De Ding watches his wife and two kids splash in the water.

“I’ve seen enough water,” he chuckles. But, it's better than the water he was dealing with Houston, he says.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Update – Sept. 7: Mayor Adler is now asking for volunteers to sort toy donations at the Blue Santa warehouse on Industrial Drive. Shifts are today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on volunteer shifts call (512) 974-4719.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

Officials are still trying to confirm whether Texas floodwaters have spread contamination from decades-old toxic waste sites, as water recedes and residents return to homes that, in some cases, were flooded with water that passed over known contaminated areas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

An 8-foot-tall shelf. That’s what it would have taken to keep Dolores Martinez's belongings dry in La Grange.

Martinez, 53, and her family had nearly 8 feet of water in their home when the nearby Colorado River crested at nearly 30 feet above its banks Monday. Then-Tropical Storm Harvey brought a level of flooding some who have lived their whole lives here say they’ve never seen before.

Volunteer Chiquita Harris sorts items to be placed in welcome baskets for evacuees at Operation Warm Welcome over the weekend.
Austin Price for KUT

When Mayor Steve Adler recently did an instructional video on how to make welcome kits for incoming evacuees from Hurricane Harvey, everyday items like pillows, soap and a comb were included, but there were some items that weren’t considered.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

After Hurricane Harvey, some state officials are insisting there is no shortage of gasoline in Texas. 

The record rains and flooding limited the state's oil refining capacity, which has led to long lines at gas stations across Texas. But while drivers worry of a possible gas shortage in the near future, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said the problem is really just a matter of logistics and demand.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From Texas Standard:

Thousands of people are finding their way to dry blankets and warm socks in shelters all across Texas. Dallas expects to host as many as 10,000 people fleeing Harvey; in Austin, as many as 7,000. Donations keep trickling in.

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