Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘flooding’

Climate change will not be kind to Houston

It could be even worse, if that’s any consolation, but it will be bad as things are going now. Houston’s brutally hot summers, persistent humidity, floods and hurricanes never have been much of a selling point. It’s been something to endure. In 50 years, scientists predict Houston’s climate will look a lot like what it […]

Two Ike Dike updates

Ike Dike could be hidden by dunes: The “Ike Dike” that is being proposed to protect the Galveston-Houston area from a potentially catastrophic hurricane storm surge could take the form of undulating sand dunes hiding a steel or concrete core. The proposal to craft a storm barrier that would blend in with the environment and […]

Endorsement watch: The one man term limits debate

Here’s one of the more interesting endorsements so far. Steve Radack is at once an argument for and against term limits. The Precinct 3 county commissioner and former Precinct 5 constable, who will turn 67 before Election Day, has been in his seat for 28 years and wants voters to sign him up for 32. […]

Have we reached a tipping point on flood mitigation?

That’s a question that is alluded to but not directly addressed in this story. “This is how the land is supposed to act,” said Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust. “It’s supposed to absorb water and filter out pollutants. It’s not supposed to send it roaring into […]

Who’s willing to pay for more flood mitigation?

I have three things to say about this. Harris county’s four commissioners said Wednesday they could support either a property tax increase or reallocation of funds in the county budget to better fund flood control projects after a series of storms and floods this spring destroyed property and claimed the lives of more than a […]

Did Steve Radack really say that?

Apparently so. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack recently said some people want to get flooded so they can cash in, and he’s not backing down from his comments. Radack says this was one minute of a 90-minute community meeting in Cypress last Thursday night. However, to the audience of flood victims, it didn’t go over […]

Memorial residents file lawsuit over flooding

This ought to be interesting. A group of residents sued the city of Houston and one of its local redevelopment authorities Wednesday, alleging that they approved commercial development in the Memorial City area without requiring adequate storm water mitigation, resulting in increased flooding in residential neighborhoods. Claiming federal and state constitutional violations, the west Houston […]

We’re going to get more big rain storms

Better get used to it. The weather is getting worse, says one expert. Torrential rains fall in the Houston area more often than they used to, according to an unpublished analysis from state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. Heavy precipitation of any particular magnitude are twice as likely to fall in the Bayou City today as they […]

So far, so good for Mayor Turner

That’s the general consensus of his first four-plus months in office. Faced with a $160 million budget shortfall that would leave some wringing their hands until deadline day, Mayor Sylvester Turner presented his plan a month ahead of schedule. The proposal being reviewed by City Council includes a few one-off gimmicks, by Turner’s own admission, […]

Mayor Turner delivers State of the City 2016

Here’s the press release. Flooding, pensions, City finances and public safety were front and center as Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his first State of the City before the Greater Houston Partnership. In a major move designed to produce tangible results and instill confidence among residents, the mayor announced the selection of Stephen Costello to fill […]

Cornyn files bill to speed up floodgate construction process

Credit where credit is due. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn filed legislation Wednesday that he says would expedite the long process of constructing a hurricane protection system for the Texas coast, including the particularly vulnerable Houston region. But while local officials cheered the high-profile support, it’s unclear how much the measure would actually speed anything up. […]

Don’t let the mosquitoes bite

That’s going to be a challenge. Mosquitoes don’t breed in flood waters. They drown in them, said Dr. Mustapha Debboun, director of the Mosquito Control Division at Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. But it’s after the flood waters subside that mosquito breeding becomes an issue, he said. And with the Zika virus on […]

Don’t expect any flood project funding from Congress, either

Nice thought, but ain’t gonna happen. As the flood threat across much of the Houston region lessened Friday, local leaders began shifting their focus to recovery and two Houston congressmen announced legislation to fund more than $300 million worth of regional flood control projects. U.S. Reps. Al Green and Gene Green said their bill, which […]

Disaster declaration made

From the inbox: Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office today confirmed that President Obama has approved the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Fayette, Grimes, Harris and Parker counties. The action paves the way for federal recovery assistance to begin flowing into the Houston area. “I hope this leads to help for all of […]

Don’t expect Congress to pay for a Gulf Coast floodgate system

I sure don’t. After nearly a decade of bickering and finger pointing, Texas scientists and lawmakers finally seem to agree that building some version of a “coastal spine” — a massive seawall and floodgate system — would best help protect the Houston region from a devastating hurricane. But with a price tag sure to reach […]

Storm debris collection begins in Houston neighborhoods

From the inbox: Beginning Saturday, April 23, 2016 the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and private contractors working on the City’s behalf will begin storm debris collection in the single-family neighborhoods impacted by Monday’s flooding. This includes the following areas. Acres Homes Alabonson Chateau Forest Kempwood/Bingle, Hollister Larchmont Link Meadow Linkwood Meyerland Spring […]

The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

From the inbox: After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations. “We’ve been hearing from residents who are confused about where they should donate to get assistance directly to the residents of our city who […]

On drainage and flooding

Two items of interest from Gray Matters, both on the subject of the week. First, from Cynthia Hand Neely and Ed Browne of Residents Against Flooding: Man-made, preventable flooding has surged dirty, sewage-ridden water through Houston living rooms three times now in seven years, yet city government fails to prevent these recurring emergencies. Really? If […]

How you can help or get help in Houston

Via email from State Rep. Gene Wu: I hope this email finds you safe after yesterday’s flooding. While we are seeing most of the high water receding from our neighborhoods, there is still a good deal of cleanup work to do today. Please stay safe as we anticipate even more rain throughout the day. For […]

Ghosts of Allison

I sure hope everyone made it through yesterday’s ferocious rain all right. The storm that flooded the greater Houston area on Monday – drenching the region with the most rain since Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than 24 inches in June 2001 – packed a mighty punch in mere hours. Some areas saw as much […]

Not everyone likes the latest hurricane surge protection plan

Yet another obstacle. A new proposal to protect the Houston area from hurricanes is reigniting controversy, and potentially diminishing the odds that a consensus will emerge anytime soon on the best plan to safeguard the nation’s fifth-largest metropolitan area. Since Hurricane Ike in 2008, Texas scientists have pushed several different plans to shield the region, […]

Those damn dams

In case you didn’t have enough to worry about. Here’s the deal with what could be a terrible threat to Houston: most of the time, it isn’t. In fact, it’s a 26,000 acre recreational greenspace on Houston’s west side. It lies on both sides of the Katy Freeway at Highway 6. On one side is […]

Storm protection is expensive

But then so would be getting hit by a truly bad storm. Building a storm surge protection system along the Texas Gulf Coast could cost between $7.9 billion and $11 billion, and likely would not be completed for about two decades, according to a new study. The report by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and […]

Back to square one for ReBuild Houston

Here we go again. A state district judge on Thursday voided the 2010 charter referendum that enabled the city to create the ReBuild Houston program, muddying the fate of the multi-billion-dollar funding scheme to dramatically improve Houston’s streets and drainage. Visiting Judge Buddie Hahn ordered the city to hold a new election on the drainage […]

Endorsement watch: Bonds, five bonds

There are four Harris County bond issues on the ballot this fall. The Chron supports them all, with some reservations. I’m just going to focus on the first one, since it’s by far the biggest and the one for which there is the strongest argument against it. Proposition 1 – For More than 75 percent […]

Who needs wetlands?

Development is all that matters, right? More than 38,000 acres of wetlands vanished in greater Houston over the past two decades despite a federal policy that “no net loss” can be caused by encroaching development. That’s an area about the size of The Woodlands and Sugar Land combined turned into neighborhoods, office buildings, strip malls, […]

What now for road projects?

What do we do with road projects that were going to use ReBuild Houston funds now that the Supreme Court has ruled the 2010 referendum to have been illegal? A necklace of neighborhood streets encircling Hudnell’s home is among the ReBuild projects, deemed beyond “economical repair” and originally scheduled for work late next fiscal year, […]

Bell wants Meyerland flooding investigated

It’s a story about flooding and the Mayor’s race, but not the story about flooding and the Mayor’s race you might have been expecting. Mayoral candidate Chris Bell on Sunday called for an independent investigation into why so many Meyerland homes flooded during the heavy Memorial Day weekend rains. Surrounded by about two dozen residents […]

ReBuild Houston and the Mayor’s race

It’s all about the conservative voters, because no one cares what anyone else thinks. When the most conservative candidate in the Houston mayor’s race dropped out two months ago, the battle to win over right-leaning voters became a two-man show: former Kemah Mayor Bill King versus City Councilman Stephen Costello. Both candidates bill themselves as […]

ReVote Houston?

Mayoral candidate Bill King calls for a do-over on Renew/ReBuild Houston. Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetand drainage program, back up for a vote. […] King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild. “I only see one […]

New litigation against ReBuild Houston

To be expected at this point. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the city, seeking to reimburse residents who pay the drainage fee that helps fund ReBuild Houston, the multibillion-dollar streets and drainage improvement program that voters narrowly approved in 2010. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Texas Supreme Court ruling […]

Supreme Court deals a blow to ReBuild Houston

Ugh. Houston’s divisive, multibillion-dollar effort to fund two decades of street and drainage improvements faces an uncertain future after the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the ballot measure voters narrowly approved in 2010 obscured the nature and cost of the drainage fee at the heart of the ReBuild Houston program. The case now returns […]

Flooding as election issue

I suppose this was inevitable. As thousands of Houstonians recover from the recent storms, the flooding is emerging as a political issue. Mayoral candidates are criticizing the city’s drainage infrastructure, attacking an unfinished project along Brays Bayou – around which much of the flooding occurred – as well as ReBuild Houston, the controversial street and […]

On the environmental challenges to the Houston region

I turn the mic over to Jim Blackburn, in a reprint of an article he wrote for Offcite in 2014. The future of the City of Houston might be more affected by extreme weather events than by any other factor. The impacts of these extremes are well known but not well addressed. Our ability to […]