WeatherHurricane Center


#HARVEY: Dale Nelson explains how the rapid intensification caught some off-guard

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 19:24:54-04

It has been four years since the catastrophic landfall of Hurricane Harvey on San José Island.

Harvey's slow movement and rapid intensification led to devastating impacts in the Coastal Bend, but especially near the coast, where the eye wall and center of circulation produced the strongest winds.

The widespread destruction along this path from Port Aransas to Rockport inland was unforgiving, as the Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts near 150, ravaged everything along the coastline.

There was a noticeable decrease in Harvey's winds immediately west of the path of movement; the Calallen/Robstown area did not even record hurricane-force winds.

The bottom line, Corpus Christi westward was spared the worst of Harvey by far, as this area was on the weaker side of this tropical system.Harvey was unusual in several ways.

The rapid intensification caught some people by surprise.

It went from a tropical depression to a Category 4 in less than 48 hours.

The slow movement NNW at only about 4 mph, and the eventual stalling of the system in East-Central Texas led to torrential rainfall.

While officially we only had about 5 inches of rain, Nederland -- east of Houston -- had 60.58 inches, making Harvey the wettest tropical cyclone ever recorded.

When it was all over, Harvey tied Katrina as the costliest hurricane in US history at $125 billion.