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Posts Tagged ‘flooding’

Harvey’s lingering health effects

It’s going to be a long time before we can really say we have put Hurricane Harvey behind us. Three months after Hurricane Harvey, local health officials now are beginning to see the storm after the storm. In Harris County and the other hardest-hit regions of Texas, 17 percent of those who had houses damaged […]

County approves floodplain regulation change

Five hundred is the new one hundred. The Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to make significant changes to the way the county regulates new development, including a slew of new restrictions in Hurricane Harvey’s wake that officials say are necessary to prepare the Houston area for future flooding events. The regulations will, […]

Thunderstorms are going to get worse

Just FYI. Summer thunderstorms in North America will likely be larger, wetter and more frequent in a warmer world, dumping 80 percent more rain in some areas and worsening flooding, a new study says. Future storms will also be wilder, soaking entire cities and huge portions of states, according to a federally-funded study released Monday […]

Cleaning up Buffalo Bayou

This is a big job, and it’s going to take a long time. Three months after flood torrents from Hurricane Harvey submerged Buffalo Bayou Park under almost 39 feet of water, scars left by the storm are still evident. Mounds of sand still sit waist-high in some parts of the 160-acre park, branches and stripped […]

Golf courses against flooding

The Washington Post looks at how Clear Lake made it through Harvey. Like many parts of Houston, Clear Lake City has a history of flooding. The area got an unexpected break when Hurricane Harvey dumped record rainfall, thanks to its decision years ago to sacrifice one of its golf courses to flood control. After 12 years of planning, crews […]

Organizing the guys with boats

Remember all those volunteer rescuers who got in their boats to get flood victims during Harvey? Harris County remembers, and they would like to formalize that a bit for the next time. With emergency responders across the Houston area overwhelmed by the scope of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, the 911 system overburdened and outside help stymied […]

State of the County 2017: Ed Emmett versus state leadership

That sound you heard was a fight breaking out. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday used his annual State of the County speech to blast state leaders who he said attack local governments and seek to cut needed taxes but offer no real solutions to the myriad problems Texas’ large urban counties face. Before […]

The 100-year-storm isn’t what it used to be

They’re bigger. More than three months after Hurricane Harvey battered southeast Texas with unprecedented and costly flooding, an analysis of rainfall trends across Texas suggests the standards used to develop floodplain regulations, map flood zones and design flood control projects routinely underestimate the severity of the Houston area’s downpours. That analysis by the National Oceanic […]

Harris County to consider floodplain regulations change

Seems like a good idea to me. Nearly three months after Hurricane Harvey, Harris County is proposing using 500-year floodplains instead of 100-year floodplains for new development, the first significant overhaul of county elevation requirements in nearly two decades. The regulations, which still must be approved by Commissioners Court, would force developers to build new […]

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 […]

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 […]

Should we remove the concrete from White Oak Bayou?

That’s an interesting question, one worth considering, if there’s a way to pay for it. A feasibility study conducted for the Harris County Flood Control District and released Friday offers three options to do just that. What it does not offer is a way to pay for the three alternatives, which range from $30 million […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The courthouse shuffle

Justice rearranged. Flood waters damaged several buildings in the courthouse complex , which is spread across a dozen city blocks in north downtown. The county’s shiny new underground jury assembly building flooded, but the biggest casualty was probably the destruction that has closed the 20-story criminal justice center for at least six to nine months. […]

Emmett calls for changes to county’s flood strategy

Good to see. Calling Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastation a “game-changer,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday called for a sweeping reexamination of the region’s flood control strategy, a process that could include billions of dollars to upgrade aging dams, building a new storm water reservoir and ramping up regulations to tamp down booming development […]

Your auto insurance rates are about to go up

Another gift to us from Harvey. Auto insurance companies have restricted options for Houston-area drivers looking to purchase new policies and replace cars flooded by Hurricane Harvey, and comprehensive rates are expected to rise after the loss of an estimated half-million vehicles. Some carriers have imposed temporary limits on selling insurance to customers in Harvey’s […]

That sinking feeling

We’re a little lower to the ground these days. Or maybe it’s just that the ground itself is lower. GPS data show #Harveyflood was so large it flexed Earth’s crust, pushing #Houston down by ~2 cm! #EarthScience #HurricaneHarvey #txflood pic.twitter.com/88lNScJBq9 — Chris Milliner (@Geo_GIF) September 4, 2017 Chris Milliner, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet […]

Mayor seeks one-year tax hike for Harvey cleanup

This stuff isn’t going to pay for itself, you know. Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask City Council to approve an 8.9 percent hike in the city’s tax rate this fall to help Houston recover from Tropical Storm Harvey, in what would be the first tax rate hike from City Hall in more than two decades. […]

Will we spend on some flood mitigation projects?

Maybe. We’ll see. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the construction of flood control infrastructure in the Houston area — things he said should have been built “decades and decades ago” — including a coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge. “We need more levees. […]

Harvey’s car carnage

Lot of people lost their wheels in the floods. More than a week after Harvey slammed Houston, wreckers like Bryan Harvey are still hauling cars and trucks from flooded neighborhoods to dealerships or to vast fields where insurance adjusters can assess the damage. Harvey killed at least 70 people, destroyed or damaged 200,000 homes — […]

More post-Harvey ideas

From the Chron, which likens this moment to what Galveston faced after the great hurricane of 1900: 1. Establish a regional flood control authority Floodwaters ignore city-limit signs and county-line markers. We can’t adequately address drainage issues with a mélange of municipal efforts and flood control districts split between local jurisdictions. Instead of dividing these […]

Lawsuits filed over dam releases

This ought to be interesting. A group of flooded-out Harris County homeowners and businesses sued the federal government on Tuesday, accusing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of knowingly condemning their properties by releasing water from the Barker and Addicks reservoirs after Hurricane Harvey. Bryant Banes, a civil attorney whose Heathwood home and his wife’s […]