Tropical Storm Harvey has dragged itself off the Yucatan Peninsula and is now in the western Gulf of Mexico with very favorable conditions for rapid intensification, according to the National Weather Service. In a special advisory at 1 p.m. CDT NWS upgraded the storm to hurricane status, raised the sustained winds prediction to 125 mph from 115 mph, and the storm surge potential height prediction to 6 ft to 12 ft, from this morning's 6 ft to 10 ft. It did not change its prediction that the storm will continue to grow broader as it heads for the central Texas coast for predicted arrival Friday and Saturday, and then sit there for a two or three day stall.

This forecast sets Texas up for the need for rapid coastal evacuation, and significant rain and stormwater flooding, as well as a potential storm surge. This storm may cause big problems for a lot of the state.  

“Life-threatening flooding is expected across much of the Texas coast from heavy rainfall of 12 to 20 inches, with isolated amounts as high as 30 inches, from Friday through early next week,” says a discussion statement from the NWS hurricane center.

ENR is mobilizing a team of editors to reach out to officials and construction industry interests in the area to track the performance of engineered flood and storm mitigation measures put in place since the last major hurricane landfall tested the state.

ENR published in the Aug. 14 edition an update on protective measures in the Houston/Gaveston area as part of a package of stories on measures being taken around the nation to protect coastal areas from flooding associated with sea level rise, subsidence and storms.

The Texas part of the report begins: Texas’ most vulnerable stretch of coastline is along the Houston-Galveston area, which hosts a slew of refineries, oil tanks and other critical infrastructure. But nine years after Hurricane Ike, which left $29.5 billion of damages in its wake, no projects are in the ground. Time and effort has been focused on research to address the combined effects of sea-level rise, subsidence and storm surge.