Hurricane Harvey's rainfall was so heavy it caused Houston to physically sink

The city should bounce back once floodwaters recede 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Thursday 07 September 2017 21:49
The downtown Houston skyline and flooded highway 288 are seen 27 August 2017
The downtown Houston skyline and flooded highway 288 are seen 27 August 2017

A California geophysicist has said that the weight of the relentless rains during Hurricane Harvey has caused Houston to sink by two centimetres.

Chris Milliner, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, told the Houston Chronicle he used the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory and various other statistics to measure the drop.

It is a minimal change from the city's normal altitude of 80 in (203.2 cm) above sea level, but shows the extent of the rainfall as it "flexed the Earth's crust".

Mr Milliner said water weighs approximately one tonne per cubic metre.

If the water sank the city as a whole, the devastation on buildings, homes, and dams around the city is no surprise.

The dip will be temporary according to Mr Milliner.

He said that once all the flood water recedes, there will an "opposite elastic response of the crust" and it will bounce back.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Texas National Guard, and a host of charities are working on relief efforts right now as people make it back to their flooded homes, offices, and schools.

The Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner has said his city is "open for business" just a few weeks after the historic storm.

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