Hurricane Harvey’s toxic impact deeper than public told
HOUSTON (AP) — A toxic onslaught from the nation's petrochemical hub was largely overshadowed by the record-shattering deluge of Hurricane Harvey as residents and first responders struggled to save lives and property.
More than a half-year after floodwaters swamped America's fourth-largest city, the extent of this environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered.
CROSBY, Texas (AP) — The skeleton crew at Arkema's chemical plant knew it was time to go by the morning of Aug. 29.
Flooding from Hurricane Harvey had knocked out power. Thousands of gallons of chemical-laden water had spilled into the floodwaters. Soon, the company's stores of volatile organic peroxides would overheat and produce fires noxious enough to make first responders vomit. The last workers evacuated by floating over a 6-foot chain-link fence in a small boat.
EPA orders more repairs at Texas toxic site following Harvey
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency ordered two companies on Thursday to make more extensive repairs to stabilize the area around a Superfund toxic waste site near Houston following Hurricane Harvey.
EPA said a survey of the area near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits found erosion of the river bottom up to 12 feet deep in a 20,000-square-foot area adjacent to a fabric and stone cap intended to keep highly contaminated sediments from washing away.
Residents: Tests find toxic chemicals after Texas plant fire
DALLAS (AP) — Tests detected toxic substances in soil, water and ash samples taken miles from a chemical plant that flooded during Hurricane Harvey, caught fire and partially exploded, nearly 20 Houston-area residents said Monday.
The findings were disclosed in a letter the residents' lawyers mailed to the chief executive of the plant's owner, France-based Arkema Inc., and several regulatory agencies, giving notice that they planned to sue.
Texas county sues chemical plant owner over fires, blasts
DALLAS (AP) — The county that's home to Houston has asked a state court to order safeguards and fine the owner of a chemical plant that partially exploded during Hurricane Harvey.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, the Harris County Attorney's Office says Arkema Inc.'s facility in Crosby violated Texas environmental laws by releasing toxic chemicals during flooding and fires, sickening responders and residents.
AP EXCLUSIVE: Toxic waste sites flooded in Houston area
HIGHLANDS, Texas (AP) — As Dwight Chandler sipped beer and swept out the thick muck caked inside his devastated home, he worried whether Harvey's floodwaters had also washed in pollution from the old acid pit just a couple blocks away.
AP Exclusive: Evidence of spills at toxic site during floods
PASADENA, Texas (AP) — The U.S. government received reports of three spills at one of Houston's dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites in the days after the drenching rains from Hurricane Harvey finally stopped. Aerial photos reviewed by The Associated Press show dark-colored water surrounding the site as the floods receded, flowing through Vince Bayou and into the city's ship channel.
Residents say tests find toxic chemicals after plant fire
DALLAS (AP) — Tests detected toxic substances in soil, water and ash samples taken from residents' property miles away from a Houston-area chemical plant that flooded during Hurricane Harvey, caught fire and partially exploded, according to a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday.
HOUSTON (AP) — Crews are working on 134 flood control projects as parts of a $2.5 billion bond program approved by Houston-area voters last year in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, officials...
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican lawmakers say Texas would spend nearly $2 billion on flood control and local projects under the first major legislation filed in response to Hurricane...
Texas districts’ Harvey recovery burdened by state payments
ROCKPORT, Texas (AP) — Texas' school finance system is putting additional strain on two coastal districts that lost millions of dollars after Hurricane Harvey and now owe the state millions more.
Houston: Harvey-damaged courts to get nearly $5M in repairs
HOUSTON (AP) — Nearly $5 million has been earmarked for more criminal courthouse repairs in Houston after 2017 flooding blamed on Hurricane Harvey swamped part of the building.
The Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved the funds to remodel 16 more courtrooms and repair additional elevators.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says it's a short-term solution. Authorities are considering whether to build a new criminal courthouse.
Houston leaders OK up to $400M in Harvey construction deals
HOUSTON (AP) — Thousands of Houston homeowners still struggling with repairs after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017 could benefit from up to $400 million in federal grants.
The Houston City Council on Wednesday approved contracts with as many as six construction companies for new housing and to fix single-family homes. The funds are from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Experts to study respiratory health of Harvey residents
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Medical experts are seeking people in Texas displaced by Hurricane Harvey for a study on possible respiratory problems since the 2017 storm.
The Galveston County Daily News reports the study by the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston involves indoor air quality of hurricane victims' homes.
Oil and gas flow to Texas coast spawns building, tensions
PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) — To the east, the Gulf of Mexico stretches out, blue-green and sparkling. To the west and north, flounder and trout meander in a chain of bays. People flock here to fish. Others come to this beach town near Corpus Christi to kayak, parasail or admire the hundreds of bird species on the barrier island, which is deep into rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey damaged or destroyed 85 percent of the buildings here last year.
Harvey-damaged canal cruisers near Houston bound for Florida
THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) — Six tourist boats in a Houston-area community are getting a new home after being damaged during Hurricane Harvey.
The Houston Chronicle reports the 35-foot Waterway Cruisers from The Woodlands are expected to be repaired and used in Pompano Beach, Florida. A crane this week hauled the boats from the water for transport.
Some South Texas canals being cleared of Harvey debris
ROCKPORT, Texas (AP) — Some remote canals in South Texas still clogged with Hurricane Harvey debris more than a year after the storm are being cleared amid public safety concerns.
- The Beaumont EnterpriseSenate bills are finally meeting Harvey needsMarch 23, 2019
- Houston ChronicleCounty considers buyouts, road repairs with nearly $12M in federal fundsMarch 21, 2019
- Houston ChronicleBills to better prepare for the next Hurricane Harvey coast through SenateMarch 20, 2019
- Houston ChronicleAuthor in The Woodlands aims to spread hope with new children’s bookMarch 19, 2019
- Houston ChronicleKaty man takes action after firsthand experience with Harvey floodingFebruary 25, 2019
Survey on Harvey’s health impacts nearing deadline
HOUSTON (AP) — Officials say a December deadline is nearing for Houston-area residents to take a survey about any health or environmental problems they've dealt with since Hurricane Harvey struck last year.
The survey is part of the Hurricane Harvey Registry, a venture from Rice University, the Environmental Defense Fund and health departments in Houston and in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.
Houston seeks $2B more for Hurricane Harvey housing recovery
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials are preparing to request an additional $2 billion from Congress to provide more assistance to residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Officials finish clearing Houston waterways after Harvey
HOUSTON (AP) — More than a year after Hurricane Harvey's destructive flooding, officials say they've finished removing downed trees and other storm debris that had blocked the Houston-area's 22 watersheds.
Man accused of posing as Dallas teen student indicted
DALLAS (AP) — A 25-year-old man accused of posing as a 17-year-old student and Hurricane Harvey evacuee so he could play basketball at a Dallas high school has been indicted.
Sidney Gilstrap-Portley was indicted last week in Dallas County on three counts of tampering with a government record.
Despite hurricane, at-risk Houston students made gains
HOUSTON (AP) — In the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Principal Jonathan Trinh feared the worst for his Houston high school.
He took in a hundred new pupils displaced by the storm, his students' overwhelmingly low-income families were struggling with lost jobs and other distractions, and Trinh worried this would be the year that test scores sank enough to make his Wisdom High School a target for state intervention.
Students succeed despite Hurricane Harvey
Placido Domingo reopens Houston venue after Harvey flooding
HOUSTON (AP) — Opera star Plácido Domingo took the stage for the gala reopening of a Houston venue that suffered about $100 million in Hurricane Harvey flood damage last year.
The Wortham Theater Center reopened Wednesday night with a sold-out crowd of about 2,300 at the Houston Grand Opera. Domingo also performed 30 years ago at the center's original opening.
Harris County to spend more than $14M on flood plain maps
HOUSTON (AP) — Harris County has earmarked $14.5 million for updated flood plain maps more than a year after deluges from Hurricane Harvey swamped parts of Houston.
A year later, Texas regulators move against Harvey polluters
HOUSTON (AP) — More than a year after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, state environmental authorities have only just begun enforcement actions against a handful of companies deemed responsible for some of the most massive air and water pollution incidents reported during and immediately after the storm.
- Globe NewswireOcwen To Help North Carolina and Texas Homeowners Still in Need of Assistance in the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence and Hurricane HarveyNovember 14, 2018
- BusinessWire$16K PGP Grant Awarded to Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson CountyOctober 1, 2018
- BusinessWireIBHS: The Untold Story of Hurricane HarveyAugust 8, 2018
Houston METRO halts Harvey ads that feature wrong hurricane
HOUSTON (AP) — Transit officials in Houston have halted a TV commercial praising the agency's response to last year's Harvey flooding because the spot wrongly showed 2005 video from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The Houston Chronicle reports Metropolitan Transit Authority officials Thursday pulled the commercial made by South Coast Film and Video.
Houston gets $1.8M to become more resilient post-Harvey
HOUSTON (AP) — Amid its ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston announced Wednesday it's been accepted to become a member of a global initiative designed to help cities become more resilient to events like natural disasters, as well as to socio-economic challenges faced by urban areas.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston has been accepted into the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program.
Texas county judge blasts Bush for lack of Harvey relief
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A county judge on Texas' Gulf Coast has written to fellow Republican and state Land Commissioner George P. Bush, decrying that there's "no adequate relief in sight" a year after Hurricane Harvey's devastation.
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry's letter Tuesday asks Bush, son of ex-2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, to "personally look into this and assist our community." Bush's office is overseeing state rebuilding efforts post-Harvey.
The Latest: Tropical Storm Lane 2nd wettest since 1950
HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Lane's impact on Hawaii (all times local):
Tropical Storm Lane ranks as the No. 2 rainmaker from a tropical cyclone in the United States since 1950.
The National Weather Service said Monday that Lane dumped 52.02 inches (132 centimeters) of rain on Mountain View, Hawaii, from Wednesday through Sunday. The highest total is 60.58 inches (154 centimeters), measured in Nederland, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Texas governor says Harvey didn’t wreck city’s spirit
ROCKPORT, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says Hurricane Harvey did not destroy the spirit of the residents living in the Gulf Coast city where the storm made landfall last year.
Abbott spoke Sunday during a church service in Rockport that marked the anniversary.
Harvey's 130 mph (210 kph) winds destroyed 30 percent of the buildings in coastal Rockport when it made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm on Aug. 25, 2017.
Houston-area voters overwhelmingly back flood-control bond
HOUSTON (AP) — Voters in Houston and its surrounding county marked the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey coming ashore by approving the issuance of $2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood-control projects that might mitigate the damage caused by future storms.
The Latest: Houston area backs $2.5B flood-control bond
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Houston area election for issuance of flood-control bonds (all times local):
Houston-area voters have marked the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey coming ashore by approving the issuance of $2.5 billion in bonds that will fund critical flood-control projects.
Charities helped with fixing homes, other needs after Harvey
HOUSTON (AP) — In the year since Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding and damage along the Texas Gulf Coast and in and around Houston, nonprofits and charities have been busy filling the gaps in aid that government agencies may not have covered.
Cities hit by Harvey still struggling but finding normalcy
HOUSTON (AP) — Although many Texas families are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey a year after it caused widespread damage and flooding along the Gulf Coast and in and around Houston, daily life has mostly returned to normal in many of the hardest-hit communities.
Poor Face Toughest Recovery 1 Year After Harvey
Harvey’s deluge killed dozens and caused billions in damage
HOUSTON (AP) — Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas last August as a powerful Category 4 storm, killing dozens of people and causing billions of dollars in damage. Though its fiercest winds quickly dissipated, the storm hovered for days as it trudged inland, dumping several feet of rain on many Gulf Coast communities and the Houston area.
Year after Harvey, poor having toughest time recovering
HOUSTON (AP) — Shirley Paley's life before Hurricane Harvey was already a struggle: The 61-year-old former postal worker was raising her 17-year-old autistic grandson while dealing with a workplace injury that left her legally blind, on disability and in need of three cornea transplants.
Harvey help: $174M available for hundreds of Texas districts
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — More than 300 Texas school districts that helped educate Hurricane Harvey-displaced students are eligible to apply for $174 million in federal grants.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal watchdog at the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it will review whether federal and state officials kept the public appropriately informed last year about potential air quality threats after Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas.
KATY, Texas (AP) — Little more than two months before Hurricane Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast of Texas, Alberto Castañeda let his home's flood insurance lapse. He had never filed a claim on the policy in 10 years and he needed the extra cash to expand his restaurant business.
HOUSTON (AP) — Officials in the Texas county hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey said Monday that $5 billion in federal funding that's been awarded to Texas in the wake of last year's deadly storm will finally help them finish major flood control projects, some of which have been under construction for years.
Harris County, where Houston is located, is getting about $500 million to finish the widening and other modifications of four watersheds.
DALLAS (AP) — A 25-year-old man accused of posing as a 17-year-old student and Hurricane Harvey evacuee so he could play basketball at a Dallas high school is facing a new charge in his case.
Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley has been charged with indecency with a child. Authorities allege he was dating a 14-year-old girl while pretending to be a student.
Gilstrap-Portley's attorney didn't immediately return an email on Sunday seeking comment.
BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) — Leaders of areas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey are questioning how they will pay the local share of flood control projects only partly funded by the federal government.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that Texas would get nearly $5 billion for flood mitigation projects.
HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced Texas will be getting nearly $5 billion to help build critical flood mitigation projects in the state, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
The Corps also announced Thursday the federal government is awarding nearly $16 million to Texas for studies on projects that could make the state more resilient.
Gov. Greg Abbott says the funding will go a long way to "future-proofing Texas against another hurricane."
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Four dozen Texas gasoline stations accused of Hurricane Harvey-related price gouging have agreed to issue refunds to purchasers.
Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday announced the nearly $167,000 settlement in an investigation in which some stations allegedly charged as much as $8.99 per gallon.
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The last victims of Hurricane Harvey living in federally-funded hotel rooms are heading to other housing arrangements this weekend, more than 10 months after the storm first hit.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday that the final 707 displaced households will move out by Sunday. It said the "vast majority of them have a long-term housing solution" already prepared.