HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "It takes a long, long time to recover from these storms."
Five years after Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Gulf Coast is still dealing with the Category 4 storm that made landfall on this day, August 25, 2017.
Thursday, ABC13 chief meteorologist Travis Herzog and reporter Nick Natario sat down with Jeff Lindner of the Harris County Flood Control District for an Action 13 town hall, looking back at the disaster and the effects it had on our area.
Some impacts that remain today are invisible, influencing our emotions, mental health and sense of security every time severe weather rolls into town.
"A lot of people aren't going to go back to the way it was," Lindner said. "It's going to be this new state of normal they go into after the storm."
As the flood control district's chief meteorologist during Harvey, Lindner recalled how the hurricane complicated efforts to rescue storm victims.
"It's very hard to comprehend that just rainfall alone can get that deep," he said. "For the first time ever, we have 22-ish major freeways in this county, and all 22 had some degree of closure with water over them, so traveling on surface streets was very, very difficult. It was really boat, high water vehicle or air, and we were asking for as much air support as we could get from New Orleans, Shreveport, and Dallas."
Throughout the town hall, Herzog and Natario also shared their own personal stories from covering the disaster on Eyewitness News.
Hurricane Harvey marked Natario's first week at ABC13.
"I couldn't get home, I was sleeping in the break room on the floor, I couldn't reach my family," Natario said. "It was truly a really hard few days, and a few hard weeks afterward, and still, to this day."
Even with 230 flood mitigation projects underway across Harris County, Lindner said emergency preparedness remains your best line of defense to keep you and your loved ones safe.
"We're never going to eliminate flooding and there can always be that storm that can exceed the design of those projects, just like what we saw happen with the reservoirs in western Harris County, just like what we saw with Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area," Lindner said.
During the hour, our town hall panel also spoke with NAMI Greater Houston board member Dr. Glenda Dumas on the availability of resources and information for storm victims still dealing with trauma from Harvey. You can see a list of these resources here:
- NAMI Greater Houston Warm Line: (713) 970-4483
- The Harris Center Crisis Line: (713) 970-7000, press #1
- Psychology Today: Referrals and Information
Hurricane Harvey killed 68 people and dumped more than 60 inches of rain in some areas across SE Texas, flooding 154,170 homes and 600,000 vehicles in Harris County alone.
Harvey ranks as the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, causing an estimated $148.8 billion in damage, according to NOAA.