Houston knew it was at risk of flooding. Why didn’t the city evacuate?

Houston knew it was at risk of flooding. Why didn’t the city evacuate?

Sunday morning, as Houston residents found themselves trapped on rooftops and wading through flooded streets with children riding on their shoulders, Mayor Sylvester Turner defended his decision not to order evacuations before the city was hit by torrential rain from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston, which is known for its susceptibility for flooding because of its flatness, was never put under an evacuation order, voluntary or mandatory, even as then-Hurricane Harvey was threatening southeast Texas.


“You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” Turner said in a press conference. “If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”

But many in Houston were already living in a nightmare. They woke up to find they were trapped inside their flooded homes and unable to receive aid from first responders…


Photos: The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

A destroyed building and vehicles at Rockport Airport after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on August 26, 2017. #

Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in more than a decade, made landfall on the Texas coast late Friday, as a Category 4 storm, destroying homes, overturning vehicles and sinking boats, severing power lines and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee. As Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, lingers over Texas, record amounts of rain are predicted, which could spawn even more destruction in the form of catastrophic flooding…

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