Hurricane Harvey certainly isn't something to commemorate.
Its powerful winds — a Category 4 upon impact near Rockport, the strongest Texas hurricane in half a century — demolished beachfront communities, wrecked vacation homes and trailer parks alike, and tossed boats and cars around like confetti. And its unprecedented rainfall, a mind-boggling 51 inches, drowned Houston, an already flood-prone city of more than 2 million, as well as communities up and down Texas' Gulf Coast.
But when the publishing company Triumph Books contacted us about pulling our stories and photographs documenting the devastating storm together into a Hurricane Harvey book — and offered to donate a portion of the proceeds to relief efforts — we were quick to sign on.
The result is "Harvey: Devastation, Courage and Recovery in the Eye of the Storm," which you can preorder starting today.
The book, a compilation of stories and images from The Texas Tribune and our partners at ProPublica and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, is a chronological account of the storm, from early warnings that Houston was at serious risk to the heartbreaking aftermath.
It documents how locals, many of whom heeded officials’ calls to shelter in place, were forced to make daring escapes as the floodwaters rose or await brave first responders, many of them good Samaritans who hurtled into the storm in airboats, canoes or monster trucks.
And it raises serious questions: about warnings that went unheeded, about Houston’s lax development policies, about flooded neighborhoods that had rebuilt time and again, about the paving over of wetlands that would’ve provided more of an environmental buffer.
Hurricane Harvey amplified the strength, resilience and heart of the state’s coastal region. It showcased the unbelievable generosity of fellow Texans, who opened up their homes and wallets to countless evacuees. And it highlighted just how well the state’s leaders could work together when they put deep partisan divisions aside.
This natural disaster also underscored The Texas Tribune’s role as a trusted and reliable source of information at home and around the globe, giving our newsroom a sense of responsibility like never before.