Hurricane Harvey has tormented southeast Texas for the last three days, but its path of destruction doesn't show any signs of stopping. Harvey could actually make landfall again if the storm follows predictions overnight on Monday — according to USA TODAY, Harvey will move back into the Gulf of Mexico before turning toward Louisiana.
Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm since it first made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday night. However, the storm system has serious staying power, in part thanks to its location close to the Gulf of Mexico. Water vapor from high surface temperatures in the Gulf keeps fueling the storm, and since it's near such a large source of its food, Harvey hasn't wanted to leave.
But new forecasts indicate that Harvey may finally be getting out of town, though it will take a couple of days. The epicenter of the storm is supposed to move back into the Gulf in the early hours of Tuesday morning before it heads toward Louisiana. But that doesn't necessarily mean relief for the beleaguered Houston area. The storm is so big that parts of it are already in Louisiana — it doesn't look like Harvey's going to leave until it's dumped up to 20 more inches of rain on top of the 30 inches that Houston has already received.
Early estimates indicate that the total cost to rebuild the areas affected by Harvey could reach nearly $40 billion. FEMA and other relief efforts may be ongoing for years as cities and towns try to replace lost homes, schools, and roads. Shelters across Houston are reaching capacity as some 30,000 evacuees have left their homes.
"I live in a lake where there was once dry land," 9-year-old evacuee William Cain told the Associated Press while sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. In addition to the thousands of lives shattered and homes destroyed, at least eight people have been confirmed dead and more fatalities can be expected, according to state authorities.
The second landfall isn't supposed to change rainfall predictions, but it's a terrifying concept for the millions of people who have been deluged for the past three days. The rain has been nearly non-stop, and every additional inch is threatening to claim more lives and property. This is truly an historic storm, one that the entire nation will have to respond to and learn from to prevent further tragedies like it.