CBS Blames Climate Change and Houston for Harvey Devastation

With flood waters barely beginning to recede, the CBS Evening News ran a segment on Wednesday blaming climate change and the construction of Houston for the high level of destruction from Hurricane Harvey. “So why was Harvey so devastating to Houston? Some experts tell us the Gulf of Mexico is as much as seven degrees warmer than average,” announced Co-Anchor Demarco Morgan from Houston.

Morgan handed the story off to correspondent Manuel Bojorquez who had conducted an interview with Rice University Professor Jim Blackburn. “Was this just a natural disaster,” Bojorquez asked. “No. No, this was a climate influenced storm, there's no question,” Blackburn replied.

It’s worth reporting that Blackburn was a noted climate change alarmist and apparently Bojorquez’s only source of information for his report. “Blackburn has authored numerous legal papers and has received several local, state and national awards for environmental advocacy,” according to his Rice University biography.

He says when Harvey came ashore, the storm laid bare another problem decades in the making: The massive paving over of the area’s natural wetlands and prairies,” Bojorquez said, teeing up Blackburn to blame Houston’s construction for the damage.

Blackburn suggested decades of expansion and development for Houston’s current problems. “But in order to develop it, you had to drain it. You had to get rid of the water. As we’ve developed out we’ve dumped water back on ourselves,” he complained.

To add insult to injury, Blackburn dubiously claimed that Harvey was “the new norm” and if Houston wanted to deal with it they had to give up parts of the city:

BLACKBURN: And part of it is either getting an adequate amount of room for that water to come through the city, which means buyouts, evacuation, and sort of green space and—

BOJORQUEZ: So not rebuilding in some areas?

BLACKBURN: Not rebuilding in some areas.

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This is what the climate scientists have been telling us would happen,” Blackburn bemoaned. But for a report that was supposed to be about climate science, there was a complete absence of a scientific explanation for exactly why so much rain was dropped in the region.

The simple explanation was that the storm stalled over the Texas coast allowing the storm to continue to pull moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, then immediately drop it on the land. According to The Weather Channel: “Harvey's long-awaited stall is due to weak steering currents in the upper atmosphere.”

“For the next several days, Harvey will be caught in between a large area of high pressure in the western states and another area of high pressure extending from the western Atlantic into the Gulf of Mexico,” they added. So, since Harvey wasn’t able to move, the rain that would’ve been dropped over a larger area was heavily concentrated on Texas and caused the flooding.

And for all their assertions of Harvey being “a game changer” and a sign of stronger storms to come, NOAA’s own data proves otherwise. According to their data, Harvey appeared to have been an outlier since the last category four storm to hit the U.S. was in 2004, and before that was a category five in 1992.

CBS's climate change alarmism was sponsored by Restasis, One-A-Day 50+ vitamins, Fidelity, Trivago, and Aleve PM.

Transcript below:

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CBS Evening News
August 30, 2017
6:39:00 PM Eastern

DEMARCO MORGAN: So why was Harvey so devastating to Houston? Some experts tell us the Gulf of Mexico is as much as seven degrees warmer than average. Warm water fuels hurricanes, but that’s not the only factor. Here's Manuel Bojorquez.

MANUEL BOJORQUEZ: Harvey dumped a year's-worth of rain onto Houston in a matter of days, shattering year's above normal rainfall, and bringing this year's total to an unprecedented 73 inch. Was this just a natural disaster?

JIM BLACKBURN: No. No, this was a climate influenced storm, there's no question.

BOJORQUEZ: Jim Blackburn of Rice University has studied the effects of storms on cities for nearly 40 years. He says when Harvey came ashore, the storm laid bare another problem decades in the making: The massive paving over of the area’s natural wetlands and prairies.

BLACKBURN: We’ve covered our sponge up. The sponge that we had here was wonderful. It would hold water. But in order to develop it, you had to drain it. You had to get rid of the water. As we’ve developed out we’ve dumped water back on ourselves.

BOJORQUEZ: Since the 1950s, nearly 88 square miles of wet lands have disappeared in the Houston area due to development. And the region's system of canals and bayous are overwhelmed by increasingly heavy storms.

BLACKBURN: Basically, Harvey is the new norm.

BOJORQUEZ: Blackburn says a photo of nursing home residents in waist-deep floodwater illustrates the problem. They were rescued but it was built directly across from a flood plain boundary.

BLACKBURN: And part of it is either getting an adequate amount of room for that water to come through the city, which means buyouts, evacuation, and sort of green space and—

BOJORQUEZ: So not rebuilding in some areas?

BLACKBURN: Not rebuilding in some areas.

BOJORQUEZ: And, he says moving past a politically charged debate in a way many can understand. It's not just about the environment. It's about money.

BLACKBURN: Houston’s economy has been disrupted. We're going to have a hard time recovering, and we're going to wear the brand of having this on us. This is what the climate scientists have been telling us would happen.

BOJORQUEZ: It's a game changer.

BLACKBURN: Absolutely it's a game changer.

[Cuts back to live]

BOJORQUEZ: This road leads to a neighborhood where hundreds of homes are still flooded. It's one Blackburn would argue against rebuilding because it’s near a reservoir where water had to be released to prevent the dam from failing. Demarco.


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