The Houston airport and several others in the surrounding area have closed. | Courtesy of FAA

This weekend, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast causing widespread damage in Houston, central Texas and Louisiana. The National Weather Service said that the hurricane was causing “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.”

The effects of Hurricane Harvey are expected to reach far and wide as that area of the United States, which includes the fourth-largest city in the country and a major energy industry hub.

For many, it will be hard to gauge the full impact of Hurricane Harvey until days or weeks into the future as the storm has not just caused physical damage but also will impact, at least temporarily, the price of different goods including gasoline prices.

Insider has reached out to major locally based companies KFC, Texas Roadhouse, UPS and Yum Brands to see what effects they may be feeling from Hurricane Harvey, which has, for the most part, shut down Houston, with the exception of efforts to mitigate the devastation and rescue and rebuilding efforts. News stations and city officials are still encouraging people to remain in their homes unless evacuation it necessary as many major roadways are flooded with water.

Louisville steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse has closed 18 of its restaurant locations, including all of its Houston stores, company spokesman Travis Doster stated in an email.

“That could change later today,” however, Doster said in an email. “Those restaurants that have power have been cooking food and delivering to first responders. Only two of our locations at this point have water in them — Pasadena (Texas Roadhouse) and Pasadena Bubba’s 33. The restaurants have been staging areas for employees to charge phones, stay indoors and help cook food for first responders.”

The company also is sending water, grills and propane to affected areas.

Insider checked in with Louisville Forward and Greater Louisville Inc. to see if local businesses had reached out to either about how Hurricane Harvey is affecting them, but neither had received any calls as of Monday morning.

Insider already reported Monday that Humana’s foundation donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross to help with cleanup efforts.

The flooding and heavy rains also have forced nine airports to close, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. The George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport is not estimated to reopen until noon on Thursday, while other smaller airports are expected to reopen sometime during the next two days.

For Louisville’s UPS Worldport, that has meant delaying package deliveries. UPS has stopped temporarily delivery to 315 ZIP codes in Texas and four in Louisiana, according to its website. UPS is moving packages headed to Houston to a facility in San Antonio until deliveries resume, said Jim Mayer, public relations manager for UPS Airlines.

“We will get back to making delivery as soon as it is safe to do so,” Mayer said. “We are holding that volume, and as soon as the airports are open, and it’s safe to start making delivers again, we will get that volume out as soon as possible.”

He did not know how many packages are being held. Mayer encouraged customers to track their package to see where they are and when they might be delivered.

UPS is still assessing what damage may have been causes to company equipment and facilities located in the path of the storm.

“We’re very proactive with moving packages, and I’m sure when we saw the storm coming, we made plans to divert volume away from Houston,” Mayer said.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]