Why in the world government weather people decided to name this week’s gigantic looming hurricane after 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is anyone’s guess.
Oh, wait. No, this one is named Harvey after the huge invisible rabbit in the 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie of the same name. It was funny at the time.
Hurricane Harvey is building up its winds rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and set to strike the Texas coast late tonight or early tomorrow.
Strange coincidence too, as this is actually the 12th anniversary of the very same week that infamous Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in Mississippi and Louisiana, especially New Orleans. And she didn’t do President George W. Bush’s executive reputation any good either.
Will President Trump respond with his own Tweetstorm? And how will FEMA react under his leadership? At least, that might get us off this Mitch McConnell business for a while.
A storm is considered “major” if it builds to Category 3 or higher, which means sustained winds of 111 to 129 miles an hour. Harvey was elevated to Category 2 Thursday afternoon.
“Life-threatening storm surge and freshwater flooding expected,” the National Hurricane Center warned. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott already declared a disaster in 30 south Texas counties to speed deployment of resources if necessary. Two cities, Port Aransas and Aransas Pass, imposed mandatory evacuations and heavy traffic lined northbound highways.
The National Hurricane Center shows the storm remaining in the Texas-Louisiana coastal area through Tuesday with its likely 115- to 125-mile-an-hour winds at landfall delivering a 12-foot storm surge and then possibly more than 30 inches of rain as it hangs out over the central Texas coast.
The last major hurricane to hit the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, 2005, almost three months after Katrina. Since then, the continental United States has enjoyed an unusual 142-month-long respite from these major natural behemoths. Previously, the longest period without a major hurricane making U.S. landfall was the 96 months between September 1860 and August 1869. You might not remember.
The National Hurricane Center says on average, 12 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes, assemble over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season. That lasts from June 1 to November 30.
By the way, in case you too have wondered about hurricane names, storms got names because they make more effective warnings as people remember them better than numbers. All storms used to carry female names until 1979 when male ones were added in the name of equality.
Tropical storms do not get names until their winds exceed 39 miles an hour. The next one this year will be Irma. There are actually a half-dozen annual alphabetical lists of hurricane names, alternating male-female, that rotate through six-year cycles. When one storm is particularly deadly such as Katrina, its name is retired and a new one inserted. Barring that happening this weekend, Harvey won’t come around again until 2023.
And here’s a little factoid you can use to impress your Twitter followers: One study found female-named hurricanes are deadlier than masculine-named ones. Imagine that.