The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU meteorology students chase the eye of Harvey; campus prepares to assist those in need

MSU meteorology students chase eye of Harvey; campus assists those in need

The Mississippi State University Maroon Volunteer Center is actively assisting the Houston metro area and much of southeast Texas after Hurricane Harvey lashed the region with three different landfalls last Friday.

The first of the landfalls took place on a barrier island chain in an area between Rockport, Texas, and Port Aransas, Texas, at 10 p.m., Friday as a category four hurricane.

When the first landfall occurred, Harvey had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, and was moving in a north-northwesterly direction at roughly three miles per hour.

As this hurricane took place, two MSU broadcast meteorology students ventured down to Corpus Christi, Texas to intercept the eye of Harvey.

One of those students was Brant Beckman, a graduate student majoring in broadcast meteorology from Chicago. Beckman said during the storm chase, their plans changed as the course of the storm changed.

“We wanted to be as safe as possible but also be close enough to actually bear witness to what Harvey was doing,” Beckman said. “It took a lot of improvising and changing location and even asking locals about what the best place would be for such a situation.”

After the second landfall took place on the southeast Texas mainland near Rockport, Texas, Harvey began to stall, due to a lack of “steering flow,” which is common among tropical systems that enter the United States via the Gulf of Mexico.

“We found a good parking garage in Corpus Christi before we realized the storm was moving north,” Beckman said. “So we had to move to Victoria, Texas, and that was a great place to watch the event.”

As the storm stalled, Houston was battered by heavy rain that persisted from the time of landfall until Tuesday.

When all was said and done in Houston, areas received over 50 inches of rain, shattering the record for a tropical cyclone in the Continental United States (see inset). As a result, record flooding was seen in Houston and the surrounding areas. The flooding forced over 8,000 water rescues in the city as well as suburbs such as Dickinson, Texas and Katy, Texas.

The flooding also caused the closure of both Houston airports, as well as the cancellation of athletic activities at the University of Houston this upcoming weekend, which affects MSU’s home soccer match against the university on Friday.

Unfortunately, as of Thursday, the storm claimed 29 lives, including a family of six who was attempting to escape the floodwaters when their van was swept away.

With the recovery that lies ahead for southeast Texas, there are a plethora of volunteers deploying to the area to assist. Among those willing to help is the MSU Maroon Volunteer Center.

Meggan Franks, the assistant director for Student Leadership & Community Engagement, said money is the biggest need in the recovery efforts as of Thursday.

For those wanting to volunteer, Franks said volunteers should not self-deploy and should sign up before showing up.

“Capacity is stretched during disasters,” Franks said. “You need to make sure that you can be utilized.”

In addition to the work being done by the Maroon Volunteer Center, MSU’s College of Forest Resources (CFR) Dean’s Student Council and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ (CALS) Agricultural and Environmental Economics Club, are starting a fundrasier for contributions to the Houston Food Bank. For every dollar donated, three meals will be provided to the food bank.

Chandler Guy, president of the CFR Dean’s Council, said he loved his fellow students were willing to give to those in need.

“Our fellow Americans are now in need,” Guy said. “I am confident that the College of Forest Resources’ student body and its partners will answer that call.”

The earliest unskilled volunteers will be recruited through disaster relief efforts is Monday, according to the Maroon Volunteer Center.

Students wishing to donate can also text HARVEY to 90999 and make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross.

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MSU meteorology students chase the eye of Harvey; campus prepares to assist those in need