According to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, hurricanes usually come with only one of two awful characteristics—either heavy, persistent rainfall or strong, violent winds and storm surge. It looks like Hurricane Harvey could have both, because unique wind patterns may prevent the storm from moving quickly out of the region.
“[Harvey] has the dual threat of both being very intense at landfall and producing widespread flooding at the same time,” Nielsen-Gammon told me. “It’s a lot easier to deal with one type of natural disaster than it is to deal with two different kinds of natural disasters at once.”
Climate change is definitely impacting the maximum intensity of rainfall,” Nielsen-Gammon told me, explaining how the warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture and therefore release more rainfall during storms.