It’s still raining in Houston. By the time the deluge tapers off—by Wednesday morning, forecasters hope—some areas in the region will have been soaked with 50 inches of rain since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday.
The magnitude of the flooding in Texas is almost incomprehensible, even for a disaster that the National Weather Service warned was “unprecedented,” “unknown,” and “beyond anything experienced.” At least seven people have died. Texas faces a recovery that will span years.
Here’s a guide to The Atlantic’s ongoing coverage of an incomprehensible natural disaster that is still unfolding.
The Immediate Aftermath
Why Ordinary Citizens Are Acting as First Responders in Houston
It’s not necessarily a sign that government has failed. David Graham reports that in a disaster as large as Harvey, authorities turn to volunteers like the Cajun Navy by design.
How to Track the Ongoing Fallout From Harvey
Alexis Madrigal made an annotated list of trusted sources on the hurricane and its aftermath, from the nation’s best meteorologists to the agencies on the ground in Texas.
The Houston Hospital Running Out of Food
Olga Khazan interviewed Bryan McLeod, a spokesperson for Harris Health System, about how Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital is flooded, all but unreachable by ambulance, and running out of food.
A Catastrophe for Houston’s Most Vulnerable People
Within cities, poor communities of color often live in segregated neighborhoods with higher flood risks. This is especially true in Houston, Tanvi Misra reports.
Using Twitter to Save a Newborn From a Flood
The use of social media during natural disasters like Harvey has become the norm in the last decade, but with every new disaster it evolves, writes Marina Koren.
NASA’s New Space Telescope Is in Harvey’s Path
The $8.6 billion successor to Hubble is in Houston, but it’s safe from damage for now, Marina Koren reports.
Why Was Harvey So Destructive?
Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey?
Climate scientists, who specialize in thinking about the Earth system as a whole, are often reticent to link any one weather event to global climate change. But they say that aspects of the case of Hurricane Harvey—and the recent history of tropical cyclones worldwide—suggest global warming is making a bad situation worse, Robinson Meyer reports.
Houston’s Flood Is a Design Problem
It’s not because the water comes in, Ian Bogost reports, it’s because it is forced to leave again.
How Much Does Houston Spend on Flood Control?
In the coming century, the burgeoning metropolis is going to have to make huge investments to ensure its future, Alexis Madrigal reports.
Why Do Some People Decide to Ride Out Hurricanes?
Older people, people with smaller social networks, and those who are less well-off are more likely to stay put in a storm, David Graham reports.
What Makes a Storm Deadly?
Hurricane Harvey is devastating by any measure, but so far it has killed far fewer people than Hurricane Katrina. Olga Khazan interviewed John Mutter, a geophysicist at Columbia University who led an effort to count the dead in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to understand why.
Recovery and Beyond
Will Flooding in Texas Lead to More Mosquito-Borne Illness?
Julie Beck reports that long-term damage from Hurricane Harvey could create more breeding grounds for disease-transmitting insects in a region already on edge about Zika and other infectious tropical diseases.
How Hurricane Harvey Could Cause Long-Term Devastation
If Harvey wrecks the federal flood-insurance program, it may cause financial ruin for insured and uninsured homeowners alike, Vann Newkirk II reports.