Harvey’s staggering destruction

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When we were putting a story on Saturday’s front page about Hurricane Harvey making landfall, we never would have guessed that the devastation would still be unrolling five days later.

The good folks of Houston probably didn’t think they had much to worry about. The city is 40 miles inland, and wasn’t supposed to be directly in the path of the hurricane as it came ashore.

But Harvey was different. Most hurricanes hit the shore and lose power as they move inland, but Harvey was bigger and slower than most hurricanes. It settled in for the long haul over a wide swath of south Texas, and now Louisiana, and though the winds died down rather rapidly, the rain didn’t.

As of Tuesday, a staggering and record-setting 50 inches of rain had fallen in the Houston area, and a pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams were overflowing. Texans who thought they could outlast anything Harvey could throw at them have had to admit they were wrong. Thousands are fleeing their homes and are occupying makeshift shelters. Search-and-rescue teams are using boats to visit flooded areas to look for survivors. Neighbors are pitching in to help those they know and those they don’t.

President Trump visited Texas on Tuesday, and we certainly wish him and all government officials well as they scramble to meet the immediate challenges of this unrivaled natural disaster and prepare for the lengthy recovery that must follow.

If you wish to help the rebuilding efforts, you can do so immediately by donating to the Red Cross relief campaign (see story on Page A1) or finding another reputable charity that you can trust.

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