Experts warned of a monster hurricane like Harvey coming for Houston more than a year ago — but the city’s mayor scoffed at the time, “Only a small portion of the city of Houston is at risk for major storm surge,” according to a newly unearthed report.
In a prescient 2016 story, scientists warned the website Pro Publica, “It is not if, but when Houston’s perfect storm will hit” — adding city, state and federal officials have failed to flood-proof America’s fourth-largest city after it narrowly escaped widespread devastation from Hurricane Ike in 2008.
“We’re sitting ducks. We’ve done nothing.” said Phil Bedient, co-director of the Storm Surge Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters Center, to the outlet at the time. “We’ve done nothing to shore up the coastline, to add resiliency … to do anything.”
When asked for a response, Mayor Sylvester Turner released a one-line statement.
“Only a small portion of the city of Houston is at risk for major storm surge,” he said.
His office followed up by saying it was up to the federal government to do something.
A huge storm won’t just smash up the city, experts predicted, it will also shutter one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and cut of access to the nation’s largest oil refinery — spiking gas prices.
“It’s going to kill America’s economy,” said Republican US Rep. Pete Olson of Texas.