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Posts under ‘Hurricane Katrina’

More Harveys

Thanks, climate change. The extreme rains that inundated the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey were made more likely by climate change, a new study suggests, adding that such extreme flooding events will only become more frequent as the globe continues to warm. “I guess what I was hoping to achieve was a little bit of […]

Harvey-related good news and bad news

Good news. An additional $90 million was approved Thursday to help expedite debris removal from Hurricane Harvey along Texas’ devastated Gulf Coast regions, including Houston. Gov. Greg Abbott and House and Senate leaders announced that the additional “emergency funding” from the state’s General Revenue Account would go to counties to help pay for the removal […]

School districts affected by Harvey ask for a break on testing

One way or another we’re going to have to reckon with this. Leaders of school districts heavily affected by Hurricane Harvey told a legislative panel on Monday that they would like to see Texas’ accountability and testing requirements relaxed in the wake of the disaster. They also said the storms have dealt a financial blow […]

Improving how animals are rescued

One of the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina was the need to rescue pets along with their owners, and to do everything possible to keep them together afterwards. This Texas Monthly story describes how that went with Harvey. There are a few best practices that became understood in the wake of Katrina: holding animals in […]

Is this development really necessary?

Boy, the optics of this sure are lousy. The Houston City Council has indefinitely postponed a proposal to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston floodplain amid questions about whether city leaders’ actions would match their rhetoric about mitigating the risk of flooding after Hurricane Harvey. Mayor Sylvester Turner supported the move to refer […]

A big ask for hurricane recovery

Good luck with that. I mean that mostly sincerely. Texas needs an additional $61 billion in federal disaster recovery money for infrastructure alone after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, according to a report from the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas that was delivered to members of Congress Tuesday. Compiled at Gov. Greg Abbott’s request, the report was […]

School districts don’t need gift registries

They need to have their needs met by the state. Texas school districts ravaged by Hurricane Harvey still need thousands of textbooks, dictionaries and other instructional resources, so the state’s education agency is borrowing a page from the wedding industry to help cover the costs. The Texas Education Agency has modified its textbook ordering system […]

JJ Watt announces his plan for Harvey relief funds

This had been much anticipated. Hurricane Harvey victims, nonprofits and Texans fans alike have been on the edge of their seats to hear what J.J. Watt planned to do with the $37 million he raised for storm relief. As of Thursday, he has a plan. In a Twitter video posted Thursday afternoon, Watt explained that […]

City buys out some flooded homes

Expect to see more of this. Houston City Council on Wednesday approved funding nearly 60 home buyouts across three flood-prone neighborhoods, the first such step from City Hall in recent memory. The city typically leaves buyouts to the Harris County Flood Control District and, in fact, the measure approved by the council would send $10.7 […]

Curbside recycling will resume November 13

Hooray! Houstonians stockpiling cardboard and aluminum cans, rejoice: the city will resume curbside recycling service next month. Recycling service has been suspended since Aug. 30, when city waste crews dropped all efforts other than weekly trash pickup to focus on removing the thousands of piles of debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Residents wondering whether their […]

How about those price gouging complaints?

You can’t rush these things. Within weeks of Hurricane Harvey making landfall, Texans lodged more than 3,000 complaints against hundreds of gas stations, hotels and grocery stores, accusing them of selling such essentials as gasoline or water at exorbitant prices. Despite promises from Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott to hold price gougers […]

No big drop in enrollment in area school districts

Mostly good news. During the height of Hurricane Harvey, school district officials worried enrollments would plummet as thousands of families fled Houston for Dallas, Austin and other drier regions. While many families lost their homes, it seems most relocated within the region and often within the boundaries of their existing school district. Houston ISD, the […]

Curbside recycling is coming back

Because most of the Harvey debris has been picked up. Win all around. Houstonians who have been dragging their overflowing recycling bins to the curb every other week only to roll them back again untouched finally should have their cartons and cans hauled off early next month, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday. City crews and […]

The lost Harvey tax break

I have mixed feelings about this. Owners of nearly 300,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas won’t see any break in their property taxes because of political wrangling this year in the state Legislature over completely unrelated issues – including, one Houston Republican says, the bathroom bill. A property tax reform bill that would […]

More on the courthouse shuffle

The Trib takes a look at how things are going at the flooded-out Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Since Harvey hit Harris County in late August, one of the busiest criminal court systems in the country has suspended all jury trials. It’s just one of a slate of challenges facing the county’s justice system in […]

Don’t hold your breath waiting for federal Harvey recovery money

Settle in for the long haul. It could be months, if not years, before southeast Texans and scores of counties and cities receive federal funds to pay for the long-term rebuilding and recovery of homes and communities battered by Hurricane Harvey’s epic rains. Federal Emergency Management Agency money for short-term relief like debris removal and […]

What the Harvey needs are from the state

It’s not just about recovery. The long term needs, including mitigation against future events like Harvey, is where the real money will need to be spent. More than one month after Harvey’s deluge hit, local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, testified at a state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee […]

Harvey and the oysters

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Oyster lovers will shell out more for the marine delicacy this fall, as freshwater runoff from Hurricane Harvey’s historic floods killed virtually all of the bivalves in the prolific seabeds of Galveston Bay. The storm was the latest setback to a multimillion-dollar commercial fishing and seafood-processing industry that […]

MUDs and Harvey

City governments have their pros and cons, and their challenges getting things done. But at least their existence means residents of said cities have places to go when they need various services. Not everyone has that, and in times of crisis like what Harvey has wrought, that’s a big deal. Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community […]

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

We’re going to need another jury building

Good luck with that. Harris County is unlikely to repair Hurricane Harvey flood damage to the six-year-old, $13 million jury Assembly Building that sits beneath a park in downtown Houston’s courthouse square near Buffalo Bayou, County Judge Ed Emmett said Tuesday. While no official action has been taken, the county will likely find a replacement […]

Houston gets state recovery funds, property tax rate hike shelved

Was that so hard? I ask you. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The exchange came as the mayor and governor held a joint City Hall […]

What should the people living near the dams have known?

More than they were told, is what they’re saying. A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims government officials knew for years that water impounded behind Addicks and Barker dams would flood thousands of suburban homes during an extreme storm – and yet did nothing to advise or compensate property owners. The […]

Harris County files lawsuit against Arkema

More trouble for that nasty and troublesome chemical plant. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized the county attorney to file a lawsuit against Arkema over its struggles to manage stores of hazardous chemicals during Hurricane Harvey. The county’s Pollution Control Services Department found serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act by Arkema, County […]

Abbott says he wants a list from Turner

A list of funding priorities, he says. Because he’s passive like that. Answering Houston’s latest complaints over funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told Mayor Sylvester Turner the state can step up with more money as soon as the city gets a list of its top needs to the state. […]

Can our dams handle the load?

Pretty important question, wouldn’t you say? The state climatologist is warning that Texas dams will become less able to withstand extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, which are expected to occur more frequently as the earth’s atmosphere and oceans warm in coming years. Dams are designed with a wide margin of safety and are meant […]

Harris County considers its budget post-Harvey

They have some choices, and some constraints. Harris County government departments could see their budgets reduced by up to 5 percent as property taxes take an expected dip due to Hurricane Harvey’s widespread destruction. The estimate is preliminary, County Budget Officer Bill Jackson said Friday. The extent of an anticipated decrease in property tax revenues […]

Abbott has no interest in helping Houston

So much for that. If the state taps into the Rainy Day Fund to help with recovery following Hurricane Harvey, it won’t be until the next legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday. Abbott’s announcement comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to the governor asking the state to use the […]

Has Harvey changed anything politically?

You’d think it would, but it remains to be seen as far as I’m concerned. A month to the day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the reality of the storm was beginning to sink in on the minds of politicians, policy makers and advocates bracing for a long recovery. In short, any political […]

Mostyn talks storm lawsuits

The Texas Tribune interviews Steve Mostyn, leading litigator in matters relating to storm damage, about what to expect after Harvey. TT: How will HB 1774 impact people after Harvey? MOSTYN: When you lower the penalties … if you lower them down to almost nothing and make it difficult for people to hire lawyers, then the […]

What will we do with the hardest hit schools?

The Houston area was inundated by floods during Harvey. As bad as that was and is, we weren’t affected by the wind. The coastal region is dealing with that, and it’s a very tough road they have ahead of them. Hundreds of students languish at home, still out of school weeks after Hurricane Harvey made […]

Let’s review those flood control regulations

Seems like a good idea, wouldn’t you say? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to review Harris County’s flood control regulations to gauge whether they sufficiently neutralize the flood risk posed by the region’s booming development, a question that has drawn increasing scrutiny after a series of storms in recent years, capped by […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]