Here’s Why Hurricane Harvey Is So Scary and Unprecedented

 Friday, August 25, 2017

There’s a good reason why Mashable’s Andrew Freedman dubbed Hurricane Harvey—now barreling toward Texas and Louisiana—“the meteorological equivalent of a White Walker from Game of Thrones.” The storm was alive, but then appeared to die as it hovered over the Yucatan Peninsula earlier this week. Over the past two days, however, it has spawned from the dead, emerging even more powerful than it was before. Hurricane Harvey is coming, and those in its path have had little time to prepare.

There are also good reasons why everyone is talking about this storm (except, of course, President Trump, who until Thursday afternoon was busy tweeting memes). The first is obvious: Harvey is likely to be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. But the second is more complicated. According to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, hurricanes usually come with only one of two awful characteristics—either heavy, persistent rainfall or strong, violent winds and storm surge. It looks like Hurricane Harvey could have both, because unique wind patterns may prevent the storm from moving quickly out of the region.