Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm since dumping two feet of rain or more on parts of Houston, but the catastrophic levels of rainfall will continue throughout the week. Like most businesses in the area, glass companies are taking a hit.
According to The Weather Channel, Harvey will move off the coast to the Gulf of Mexico, before returning to Southeast Texas on Wednesday. Experts estimate that isolated rainfall totals could reach 50 inches.
Many glass companies in the region are closed until further notice. Houston-based Lone Star Glass Co. wrote on its Facebook page that its priority is the safety of its employees and their families. The company listed a number to call in emergencies so that customers can be included at the top of their standby list.
“The situation all across Houston is very bad. Streets and freeways are flooded. The water is receding but we are still getting rain. They are calling for evacuations in a number of neighborhoods but they can’t get out without a boat,” says Alicia Dedman, general manager of Detering Company in Houston. “We are not open today – it’s not safe to travel. We do not know yet when we will reopen.”
Jennifer Fontana, executive director of the Texas Glass Association, spoke with USGNN.com™ about the situation.
“Members in the area are unable to communicate. It’s catastrophic down there right now,” says Fontana. “The low-lying areas and the bayou are flooded. It’s too early to assess the damage right now. We won’t know who the storm has impacted or how until the rain lets up and flooding recedes. We’ll have to wait a couple more days until it’s over.”
Dee Lindley, owner of Northwest Glass & Mirror in Houston tells USGNN.com™ that the company is still closed.
“We’re under a mandatory evacuation in our area,” she says. “We’re not sure what to expect as of right now. We’ll have to get back to you once this is all said and done and we can figure out what damage has been done.”
“The phones are ringing, that’s all I can say. I’m sure we’ll be busy,” adds Manuel Chavarria, president of Alpha & Omega Siding & Windows in Corpus Christi, Texas.
According to an early estimate cited by Bloomberg, damages from Harvey may cost as much as $30 billion.
Hurricane and wind engineering expert Dr. Joseph Minor, who is now retired but worked with the glass industry for many years, lives in the area. He says the windows in his home were able to withstand the storm.
“My house was built in 2003 and has vinyl windows, fully tempered insulating glass,” he says. “No breakage or leakage (and no shutters) even though it was in the eye of the hurricane.”
USGNN.com™ will continue following this story throughout the week.