While Hurricane Irma finally weakens into a band of nasty thunderstorms, those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas are still picking up the pieces.
The dual storms wreaked havoc across much of the southern and southeastern United States over the course of the last few weeks, with dozens of Americans dead, millions without power, and thousands of homes destroyed.
Harvey’s destruction was particularly frustrating for residents of Houston, Texas, one of the largest cities in the nation, as the storm stalled over the inland city for several days, causing massive floods for a locale that simply wasn’t expecting to be hardest hit by a hurricane that slammed into the coast just days prior.
Now, a new concern has emerged in Harvey’s wake, thanks to the soggy and soaked soil prevalent throughout much of the storm’s path.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported they sprayed mosquitoes in more than 1.4 million acres ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Officials plan to thwart the winged insects from breeding across multiple waterlogged counties, preventing a surge in their population and the diseases they carry, notably West Nile and Zika viruses.
“DSHS officials indicated they began these mosquito control efforts throughout the flooded regions along the upper Texas coast and Coastal Bend areas, in a press release issued Monday. Sunday night the State treated Jefferson, Orange, and Chambers counties where they planned to spray again Monday evening. They also covered Jackson and DeWitt counties. DSHS said flights over Brazoria County could begin as early as Tuesday.
“Health officials said they coordinated aerial spraying efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). U.S. Air Force Reserve’s C-130H cargo aircraft equipped with nozzles that create ‘ultra low volume droplets’ disperse small amounts of insecticides, one to two teaspoons per acre, to kill mosquitoes on contact.”
While the dangers of a hurricane are often well understood by the population who are doomed to experience them, the lasting effects are seldom considered at the onset of evacuation.
Americans are well aware of the effects of toxic floodwaters and raging currents, but the long-lasting hazardous effects of post-storm life are far too often overlooked, especially as it pertains to areas in which heat and humidity return immediately following the departure of the inclement weather.