President Donald Trump announced Monday that Congress would soon issue a multibillion-dollar federal relief package for Tropical Storm Harvey.
The package could cost as much as those for Hurricane Katrina, at about $110 billion and Hurricane Sandy, at almost $51 billion. That's good news because it looks like Harvey is going to be very expensive.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund has already shrunk to about $3.3 billion from the $7 billion Congress gave it this year and isn't expected to cover the long-term recovery.
That's because Harvey is causing extreme amounts of damage in southeast Texas, largely due to unprecedented flooding. And it's too early to tell just how bad that damage is going to be because flood waters are still rising.
With rainfall nearing 50 inches, Harvey has set a record for total rainfall from a single tropical cyclone in the continental U.S.
A reservoir overflowed near downtown Houston and a levee broke about 40 miles from there Tuesday.
The additional flooding will certainly add to the devastation. But since Houston isn't below sea level, the broken levee won't necessarily have the same catastrophic effect that New Orleans suffered when its levees broke during Katrina.
A Moody's analyst said damage from Harvey will "likely be much higher than most recent hurricanes." That's because the area impacted is densely populated.
A similar situation happened with Hurricane Sandy. Although other hurricanes have been more deadly, New York's densely packed population meant the storm did major property damage.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said as of now, city efforts are being placed on rescue rather than damage assessment.