Fear and loathing in Big D: long lines, short tempers

When Category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf coast of Texas on Aug. 25 few in Dallas were concerned about a spike in gas prices, much less a gas a shortage.

On Aug. 31, photos emerged on social media and on broadcast news of mile-long lines of cars at gas stations. Some speculated as to whether the long lines at the pumps made the situation worse, if there is actually is a gas storage or just a panic due to the two largest oil refineries in Houston being inaccessible from Harvey’s flooding.

Price gouging is another problem resulting from Hurricane Harvey. The Texas attorney general’s office has received more than 900 complaints about price gougingat presstime. Texas state laws prevents businesses from charging exorbitant prices during disaster periods such as hurricanes.

 Customers line up along a busy thoroughfare to get gas at a QT filling station and convenience store, Aug. 31, in Dallas.

Customers line up along a busy thoroughfare to get gas at a QT filling station and convenience store, Aug. 31, in Dallas.

“It was the hurricane that turned into one of the most immense floods ever suffered by the United States,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a briefing with President Donald Trump on Aug 29. Harvey is being called one of the most devastating storms in state history.

Officials say at least 30 people are dead as a result of the storm’s destructive floods.

The National Weather Service reported 51.88 inches of rain fell in Cedar Bayou near Houston during the hurricane, the second greatest accumulation of rain ever recorded in the U.S. from a single tropical storm.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 12.52.25 PM.png

As floodwaters recede, the number of deaths is expected to rise. At an estimated $190 billion in damages, AccuWeather predicts Harvey will be one of the country’s most costly natural disasters.

The Texas National Guard activated all 12,000 of its troops. Another 10,000 National Guard troops from other states joined in recovery from Harvey. It is estimated that 13,000 people have been rescued from rising floodwaters with more than 300,000 seeking aid.

Trump acknowledged the rescue efforts on his trip to Texas and praised the many people who turned out to help. “They represent truly the very best of America. In difficult times such as these, we see the true character of the American people, their strength, their love and their resolve.”

In the wake of Harvey’s destruction, some 230 shelters are operating in Texas, including the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas. On Aug. 28, volunteers set up 5,000 cots inside the first floor parking garage of the convention center and dubbed it a mega shelter.

 A truck tries to make it through the flooding in Houston.

A truck tries to make it through the flooding in Houston.

Other shelters in Dallas include the Walnut Hill Recreation Center, the Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center and the Samuell Grand Recreation Center.

Corporations and celebrities are donating to help the victims of the storm. According to CNN, companies have pledged $113 million to relief efforts and those numbers will change as more contributions follow.

The Dallas Cowboys also hosted a telethon at AT&T Stadium where players raised money on behalf of the Salvation Army for the victims of Harvey. Team owner Jerry Jones called and told wide receiver Dez Bryant he was donating $1 million dollars.

President Trump pledged $1 million himself in personal funds to Harvey relief. For those who wish to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief, donations can be made to the American Red at: redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey.