Port in a Storm – StormReady Partnership Makes All the Difference During Harvey (63)

Thomas Johnstone, National Weather Service, Corpus Christi, TX

Greg Heavener, National Weather Service

John Metz, National Weather Service




Just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey struck the coast of Texas, the National Weather Service formally recognized the Port of Corpus Christi as StormReady. The Port is the 4th busiest in the nation by tonnage and is the economic heart of south Texas -- 80,000 direct jobs and $350 million in daily economic activity are driven by the port.

Emergency managers at the port tracked Harvey more than a week before landfall using multiple weather sources including NWS email briefings and the National Hurricane Center website. On Monday, August 21st, while Harvey was little more than a cluster of storms over the Yucatan, the port's emergency manager activated the EOC and launched the StormReady-approved emergency plan. As Harvey strengthened through the week, and the threat to the port grew, port authorities safely shut down every port-based facility and safely evacuated all non-essential personnel and most vessels. Because of their preparedness efforts, the port users and the Port Authority were ready for ships almost immediately after Harvey passed, and the port opened as soon as federal channel assessments were complete. The result: hundreds of millions dollars worth of positive economic impact.

This presentation will focus on how StormReady and a strong partnership helped the Port of Corpus Christi minimize the effects of Hurricane Harvey and return to operations in record time. Additionally we'll discuss how innovative Impact-based Decision Support Services (IDSS) from the local NWS office in Corpus Christi helped emergency managers make life-saving decisions as Harvey ravaged the coast. Finally, we'll look to the future and discuss how other cities, businesses and facilities can better prepare for high-impact weather events.