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Posts Tagged ‘flooding’

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 […]

The mosquitopocalypse is coming

It just keeps getting better and better. Harvey’s rain may have left Houston behind, but there’s another storm headed our way. It’s a cloud of mosquitoes, which breed in standing water and soon will be hatching by the millions. “It’s going to be horrible in two or three weeks,” said Cory Barcomb, operations manager for […]

“We must find a way to co-exist with the bayou ecosystem”

Offcite points to a way forward. We must find a way to co-exist with the bayou ecosystem, not get in its way. As Albert Pope, a professor at Rice Architecture, has pointed out in a series of proposals, most of Houston’s housing stock will be rebuilt over the next fifty years. It would make the most […]

Remember the Katy Prairie

From the four things we could have done differently to maybe mitigate some of the worst effects of Harvey: Preserve and restore as much prairie land as possible Much of northwest Houston used to be covered in prairie land, where tall grasses could absorb huge amounts of floodwater. But most of it has been paved […]

Please don’t complain about the lack of an evacuation

There are good reasons why there was not an evacuation order for the greater Houston area in advance of Harvey. Ultimately, mayors and county judges are charged with making such decisions. Leaders in Houston and Harris County told residents to stay put ahead of the storm and have since defended those decisions — even as […]

HISD cancels classes for a week

Another effect of Harvey. Houston Independent School District schools and offices will be closed all week, from Monday, Aug. 28 through Friday, Sept. 1, due to widespread damage from Tropical Storm Harvey. HISD officials have been closely monitoring the forecast and have determined that the storms and heavy rains that affected parts of the city […]

ReBuild re-vote?

It could come to that, but it’s not clear to me that it has to. The funding scheme for ReBuild Houston, the city’s street and drainage repair initiative, remains in limbo after a state appeals court agreed Thursday that the 2010 charter referendum creating the program is void. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruling […]

More flood mitigation coming

This is ambitious. After local leaders stood on the banks of Brays Bayou to celebrate a creative agreement that is expected to speed up work on a long-delayed effort to lessen the risk of flooding in southwest Houston, some angry Meyerland-area flood victims peppered them with questions. The press conference was called to tout a […]

Obama signs Cornyn flood mitigation bill

The title to this post is a bit of an overbid, but this is still a good thing. President Obama on Monday signed into law a bill that could help expedite the long process of constructing a hurricane protection system for the Texas coast, including the particularly vulnerable Houston region. The “Water Infrastructure Improvements for the […]

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 […]