Hurricane Harvey is breaking records for rainfall and displacing thousands of Texas residents. Ocean observations from GCOOS contributors are helping us understand how the storm grew so intense so quickly; other GCOOS members and partners are responding by aiding displaced researchers and taking action to better understand the storm’s devastating effects.

Harvey is the wettest storm to hit the contiguous United States, with the resulting floods inundating hundreds of thousands of homes, displacing more than 30,000 people and prompting more than 13,000 rescues by first responders and volunteers.

On Aug. 23, Harvey moved over waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression with a maximum sustained wind speed of 30 knots at 10 p.m. CDT (03 Zulu). Just 24 hours later, Harvey’s winds were 75 knots — a Category 1 hurricane. Another 24 hours later — just before it hit the south Texas coast — Harvey’s maximum wind speed reached Category 4 status with 115 knot winds.

GCOOS Members Nan Walker and Alaric Haag (LSU Earth Scan Laboratory (, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment) and Bob Leben (Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado Boulder) are using satellite data to help understand how the storm grew so intense so quickly — key information that will lead to better predictions and forecasts for the intensity of future storms.

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In the aftermath of the storm, GCOOS partner Texas Sea Grant has collected links to resources that are designed to assist in recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The resources — websites, publications, mobile apps and videos — have been developed by other Sea Grant programs as wells as federal, state and regional agencies and nonprofit organizations. SeaGrant will add additional resources as they become available.

GCOOS has also added links to post-storm information — particularly information on flooding and highway conditions — to its hurricane web pages, which pulls together information on storm tracks maps, forecasts and live webcams in the Gulf, along with a Twitter feed with the latest hurricane/tropical weather news from sources like the NHC, National Weather Service (NWS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Weather Channel and others and links to emergency management centers, evacuation and shelter information.

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) came through Harvey just fine, but their neighbors at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) did not fare as well — they suffered catastrophic damage to their main facilities in Port Aransas. Now HRI and TAMUCC are partnering to make space, equipment, boats and vehicles available to UTMSI staff.

HRI is also making plans to pivot its focus to amassing a research response to Hurricane Harvey.