Silver linings to Hurricane Harvey | Don Brunell

All of the things that went wrong in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, appear to have been corrected with Houston’s recent Hurricane Harvey. Chalk it up to a series of important lessons learned.

All of the things that went wrong in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, appear to have been corrected with Houston’s recent Hurricane Harvey. Chalk it up to a series of important lessons learned.

By now everyone knows that Harvey came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico, dumped a record 51 inches of rain on 22 million people from Corpus Christi to Port Arthur, TX, and sent thousands to shelters.

The hurricane hit Houston, America’s fourth largest city and an urban area which accounts for 3 percent of our nation’s GDP. It had the makings of a mammoth disaster, but despite the enormous damage, Texas seems to be working through it. However, there is a long road ahead.

The storm dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana in six days, Ryan Maue from weather analytics company, WeatherBell, told CNN. That’s enough to fill the Houston Astrodome 85,000 times or San Francisco Bay 10.6 times at high tide.

Harvey knocked out water treatment plants, hospitals and large oil refineries particularly in the Port Arthur area.

Forbes reported that 3.04 million barrels per day of refining capacity is still down in Texas. That is equivalent to 16 percent of the country’s oil refining capacity. As a result, the price of a gallon of gas shot up an average of 10 cents overnight on September 1.

Harvey’s death toll currently stands at 52 compared to more than 1,800 people from Katrina.

So where is the silver lining?

This time our elected officials from President Trump, to governors of Texas and Louisiana and the mayors along the Gulf Coast were well-prepared and coordinated. Local, state and federal government law enforcement and emergency responders and the Coast Guard, Texas National Guard and other military units were ready.

Help came swiftly. The result is more than 72,000 people and thousands of pets have been rescued so far.

Louisiana’s Cajun Navy landed in Houston as Harvey came ashore. Its armada fishing boats and raised (big-wheel) pickups immediately started picking up victims stranded in flooded homes.

When police and fire officials needed flat bottomed boats, Bass Pro Shop sent 80 and $40,000 in provisions to match.

In addition to Houston’s churches, schools and public buildings, neighbors and friends are providing shelter. Local businessman, Jim McIngvale—better known as “Mattress Mack”— opened his Gallery Furniture stores and more than 400 people have new beds and furniture. McIngvale also helped some of the 40,000 Katrina evacuees who stayed in Houston.

Large corporations such as Walmart have pledged millions in donations. Walmart opened its stores to supply necessities. That’s in addition to the $20 million in cash.

A Chick-fil-A manager even sent a rescue boat to an elderly couple’s home to evacuate them to the restaurant after they phoned in an order for two chicken burritos.

All-Pro Texan defensive end has collected nearly $20 million including a million from TV host Ellen DeGeneres.

President Trump seeks nearly $8 billion in federal disaster relief. Hopefully, it will not be delayed or loaded with other spending demands from Congress. “Give Texas everything it needs, and do it right quick,” Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan declared last weekend.

Texas is showing it has strong American Spirit and people from across our nation are pitching in to help people in need regardless ethnic, gender or income background. Anyone who calls gets it.

It is refreshing to see people helping people and public servants and volunteers working side-by-side. No doubt there are glitches, but it is saving lives. It is the way our country should operate. The real silver lining is Hurricane Harvey is bringing Americans together.

Don Brunell, retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, is a business analyst, writer, and columnist. He lives in Vancouver and can be contacted at TheBrunells@ msn.com.

More in Business

Seattle’s misstep highlights need for new approach

Last week, Seattle’s City Council did an “about face” revoking the onerous… Continue reading

Washington’s expensive culvert court case

Too much money is spent in court where it should go to increasing the salmon population

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands

Gary Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” in early 2004 and they began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Sinise often raised the money to pay the band and fund its travel.

New Enumclaw wine bar aims for broad audience

Bordeaux Wine Bar is scheduled to be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Streamlining regulations makes more housing affordable

There were over 21,000 people homeless in Washington State last year.

New approaches needed to fight super wildfires | Don Brunell

Last year, wildfires nationwide consumed 12,550 square miles, an area larger than Maryland.

Skilled trade jobs go unfilled in our robust economy

Known as blue collar jobs, they routinely pay $45,000 to $65,000 a year or more.

Streamlining regulations helps Americans compete

The cost of regulations is a key American competitiveness issue. It is a major reason our companies re-locate to other countries and our manufacturers and farmers have difficulties competing internationally.

Water pressure mounting in West as population spikes

What is happening in California with water allocation disputes is a harbinger of what is to come in our state as well.

Railroads implementing positive track

While the investigation continues into the deadly AMTRAK derailment near Dupont, the clock continues to tick on the implementation of Positive Track Control (PTC). The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018.

Keep the holiday spirit all year long | Don Brunell

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to giving — not just giving gifts, but donating our time and money to charities, disasters and community programs.

Finding balance in occupational licensing

Recently, the Institute for Justice (Institute) determined state licensing barriers for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs not only hurts people trying to establish themselves in a profession, but annually drives consumer prices up by $203 billion.