Hurricane Harvey reserved its full ferocity for small towns along the Texas coast north of Corpus Christi, including Rockport, Texas, where storm chasers captured the scene.
Josh Morgerman, who chases tropical cyclones like Harvey around the world, described the storm as “One of the worst hurricanes I’ve ever been in.” The hotel he was staying in for shelter was nearly blown apart by the storm’s 130-mile-per-hour sustained winds, along with higher gusts.
On Saturday morning, Morgerman posted that Rockport has been “smashed, stripped, and scrubbed” by the winds and storm surge from Harvey. Hurricane Harvey was the most intense storm to strike the U.S. since 2005 — before Twitter existed.
During the storm, chaser Jeff Piotrowski livestreamed the strongest part of the storm as the eyewall came ashore in Rockport. The video was viewed 1.2 million times as of Saturday morning, and caused many people to fear for his life as the building he was taking shelter under gave way to the wind Friday night.
According to reports on Twitter early Saturday, he and his chase partners survived the ordeal.
Reed Timmer, a storm chaser for AccuWeather, recorded this video of the eye wall — which contains the storm’s strongest winds — moving onshore in Rockport.
On Friday night, the big story was Hurricane Harvey’s Category 4 intensity winds and storm surge flood. But as of Saturday morning, forecasters have shifted their attention to tracking the storm’s potentially epic deluge.
Up to 40 inches of rain could fall on Southeast Texas by the time the storm winds down next week, which would cause a flood disaster of historic proportions. Perhaps these storm chasers are going to be sticking around to film the rains and slower-moving floods, which are likely to be more destructive and life-threatening than what they experienced on Friday night into early Saturday morning.