Skip to content

Texas Spared Worst of Blackouts As Harvey Brings Rain, Not Wind


Hurricane Harvey’s power damages are the lowest of recent storm blackouts

The widespread devastation Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on Houston and across Texas won’t include historic power failures.

While the storm’s damages are still mounting, Texas utility regulators have estimated power losses at about 345,000 customers, well below blackouts from previous major storms including Ike, which hit Houston and Galveston in 2008. They’ve also fallen short of a forecast of 420,000 customers by university researchers from Texas, Michigan and Ohio.

Harvey’s biggest threat to Houston turned out to be rainfall, not winds. Though flooding from the storm has devastated the city, displacing residents and causing billions of dollars in damage, Harvey had weakened considerably from its earlier Category 4 status by the time it reached Houston after making landfall in a less populated area.

“Initially, it was forecast to be much stronger wind-wise when it hit Houston, ” Seth Guikema, an associate professor at the University of Michigan who is part of the research group, said by phone Tuesday. “It meandered more and got much weaker before it hit Houston.”

The team lowered its forecast to 350,000 customers blacked out on Saturday after Harvey made landfall between Corpus Christi and Houston. Ike, in contrast, made a more direct hit on Houston and Galveston, ultimately leaving 3.9 million U.S. customers without power.

Full story