Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast of Texas around Houston last weekend, dumping near-record amounts of rain for a United States storm.
Damage estimates are running as high as $190 billion, according to the weather forecasting company AccuWeather, and it’s early in the assessment game. If that number holds true, then it would be almost four times the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in and around New Orleans in 2005, which is the previous record.
At least 38 deaths have been attributed to the storm, and that number will no doubt go higher.
In between the storm’s first and second landfalls, people in Harford County were mobilizing to aid the thousands of the people in Texas who have lost their homes or have seen them damaged so badly that they might never be able to return to them.
The efforts of members of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company and other organizations and churches, not to mention those of hundreds, if not thousands, of individual residents, is something we have come to expect from the people of Harford County. Whenever there is an emergency, no matter how big or small, people in our county and our neighboring counties — Cecil, Baltimore and York — can be counted upon to provide a helping hand and to donate both needed items and cash to help those who need it.
We saw this outpouring of support back in 2012 following Hurricane Sandy, which was projected to hit this area hard but missed and instead inflicted most of its destruction on northern New Jersey. It didn’t take long for people in Harford County to begin collecting relief items, from clothing to bottled water, and sending them north.
Just two weeks ago, we also saw emergency dispatch personnel from around our region step up and offer to help out following that bizarre lightning strike on the building that houses the Harford 911 Center. The dispatch crew on duty was sent to the hospital for observation, but not before the regular overnight crew members came in early to relieve them. Had that not been possible, however, Harford emergency services officials say they knew they could count on getting relief dispatchers from other counties.
Harford County is a very giving place on many levels, and none so great as when a major emergency strikes and people need help, no matter where. The local response in the aftermath of storm Harvey is just another affirmation of our spirit of giving.