Tropical Storm Harvey

With Meghna Chakrabarti

One year after Hurricane Harvey killed 68 people and caused $125 billion dollars in damage, the nightmare isn’t over in Houston. We’ll touch down.

Guests

Rev. James Caldwell, founder and director of Coalition for Community Organizations. Community activist in Houston’s Fifth Ward and Kashmere Garden neighborhoods.

It has been a year since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas’ Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains and widespread flooding.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson checks in with KUT reporter Jimmy Maas (@maasdinero), who has been speaking with victims of the storm to see how they’re doing today.

Before it got cold this winter, it was warm. Very warm. In fact, new data out Monday shows 2017 was the third warmest year recorded in the lower 48 states.

And it was also a smackdown year for weather disasters: 16 weather events each broke the billion-dollar barrier.

First, the heat. Last year was 2.6 degrees F warmer than the average year during the 20th century.

If Houston's record deluge during Hurricane Harvey highlighted the dangers of unchecked, sprawling development, then Tulsa — another city built on oil — is a showcase for the opposite.

Juan Flores and his family live in Galena Park, Texas, which is bordered on three sides by pipeline terminals, oil refineries, fertilizer plants and rail yards.

Flores has lived in the town of about 11,000 people just east of downtown Houston since he was 4 years old. For a while, he even served on the City Council.

Hurricane Harvey flooded more than a dozen Superfund toxic waste sites when it devastated the Texas coast in late August. An EPA report predicted the possibility of climate-related problems at toxic waste sites like those in Texas, but the page detailing the report on the agency's website was made inactive months before the storm.

On the first sunny day in Houston after about 50 inches of rain, residents in the east Houston community of Manchester emerged from their homes and gave thanks that their neighborhood had been spared in the floods. "Mama, yeah, I just feel blessed," said 73-year-old Maria Julia Rodriguez, standing in her driveway in late August and marveling at her luck. "God was looking out for us, I guess."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Supreme Court declares lawmakers have the constitutional right to remove an exemption to sales tax on motor vehicles.

Yesterday’s 5-4 decision on a 1.25% tax increase for car sales keeps about 100 million dollars in the budget.

KOSU's Michael Cross sat down with the Governor at the State Capitol to get her reaction to the ruling, the possibility of a special session and thoughts on Oklahoma's aid to Tropical Storm Harvey victims.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is now a tropical depression. As of 8 p.m. ET, the storm was located southwest of Alexandria, La., with sustained winds of 35 mph.

As Tropical Storm Harvey, it had made landfall in Louisiana, at 4 a.m. Central time, just west of Cameron, according to the Center.

The confirmed death toll from Harvey is at least 25, across five Texas counties — although that figure is likely to rise and does not include people who are missing or believed dead.

Pages