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Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Harvey’

HISD faces major changes

This is a very big story, but a key component to it is not discussed here. Houston ISD officials said Saturday the district will need to cut about $200 million from its 2018-19 budget to bring spending in line with an increasingly gloomy financial outlook. In an equally momentous move, Houston ISD officials also proposed […]

Extra school days may be coming

Darn that crazy weather. School districts across greater Houston are working to determine if they need to add extra days to their academic calendars or extra minutes to their school days to make up two days missed this week due to icy weather. Area students have already missed two weeks or more of classes during […]

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Harvey aid

Your Republican Congress, ladies and gentlemen. Republican lawmakers were hammering out a stop-gap deal Wednesday to avert a weekend government shutdown of the federal government this weekend, setting aside a long-sought disaster aid package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters. Frustrations are rising among officials in Houston and Austin over the […]

County will try to repair criminal court building

Good luck with that. After twice closing the 20-story downtown criminal courthouse due to flood damage since it was completed in 2000, Harris County leaders are planning to repair the shuttered building so the next time it floods it can be reopened within days – not months – of the water receding. The retrofitting is […]

The elections we may get in 2018

We know there are going to be a lot of contested elections up and down the ballot in 2018, both primaries and the November general, for state, county, and federal office. There are also at least four possible elections I can think of that we may get in addition to these. Let’s review. 1. Firefighters’ […]

The Harvey effect on marine research

It’s tough being on the coast sometimes. Jagged splinters of wood stick out of the shoreline – all that’s left of a pier that once stretched 100 yards into the Gulf of Mexico. White plastic tarps flap in the whipping December wind atop dozens of roofs that failed to withstand the brutal force of a […]

The Harvey effect on the Waugh Street Bridge bat colony

It was bad, but we hope they will recover. Tens of thousands of bats perished or were displaced from their home at the Waugh Bat Colony when Hurricane Harvey swept through the city this summer, according to bat experts. “Pre-Harvey, we had at least 300,000 bats in the bridge,” said Diana Foss, a wildlife biologist […]

The climate change effect on storms like Harvey

More likely and more extreme is the tl;dr version of this. The research presented Wednesday began soon after Harvey dumped feet of rain on the Houston area. World Weather Attribution — an international effort to analyze the potential influence of climate change on extreme weather events — decided to look at how greenhouse gases might […]

One small piece of relief for Harvey-affected school districts

It’s not much, but it’s something. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath is not changing state standardized test dates for students affected by Hurricane Harvey, but he is waiving some requirements for certain students, his agency said Thursday. Students across the state will be still required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, […]

Thinking big about fighting flooding

Christof Spieler, on behalf of the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, comments on a proposal to move forward post-Harvey. On Oct. 25, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett released 15 recommendations for mitigating damages from future flood events. The researchers collaborating through the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium appreciate his willingness to release his priorities for […]

HISD proposes to rebuild four schools damaged by Harvey

Seems reasonable. Students at four storm-damaged Houston ISD elementary schools wouldn’t return to their home campuses until at least 2020 under a district proposal for replacing the structures announced Monday. The $126-million plan calls for the four campuses — Braeburn, Kolter, Mitchell and Scarborough elementary schools — to be demolished and rebuilt at their current […]

The dolphins in the bay

Dolphins in Galveston Bay are having health issues. Kristi Fazioli first spotted the pair of dolphins swimming behind a shrimp trawler near Morgan’s Point, eager to get a mouthful of breakfast. They appeared healthy as they popped in and out of the choppy waters typical for a November day on Galveston Bay. But a second […]

The Harvey effect on the state budget

You know what the solution to this is, right? Senate leaders warned Tuesday that Hurricane Harvey could put a billion-dollar hole in Texas’ budget, an ever-growing number that could affect how much money is available for other state programs. Only $20 million remains in the state disaster-assistance fund, Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson said […]

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, […]

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 […]

Texas v the feds, disaster recovery funding edition

This would be quite entertaining to watch, if the stakes weren’t so high. Texas Republicans on Friday panned the White House’s latest disaster aid request, with Gov. Greg Abbott calling it “completely inadequate” for the state’s needs in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. President Donald Trump’s administration was quick to respond, calling on the state […]

Harris County sues Arkema

Good. Harris County filed suit Thursday against Arkema over chemical fires at its Crosby plant in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, saying the company violated a long list of environmental, safety and building regulations and put first responders at risk. The lawsuit, filed in state district court, seeks up to $1 million in penalties and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Election Day 2017

It’s time to vote if you haven’t already. Not many people have, as we know. Harris County turnout is expected to remain feeble through Election Day, with no marquee race to draw voters to the polls and thousands still displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Fewer than 59,000 of the county’s more than 2.2 million registered voters […]

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 […]

Houston Press ceases print operations

End of an era. Voice Media Group announced today that the Houston Press ceased print publication with its November 2 edition, capping a 28-year run as one of the nation’s leading alternative weekly newspapers and concluding a wild ride as an irascible and irreverent part of Houston’s cultural fabric. Although the Press successfully steered its […]

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 […]

October campaign finance reports: Congress

Here are the Q2 fundraising reports for Texas Democratic Congressional candidates. I’ll sum up the data below, but here’s the Trib with some highlights. After Democratic challengers outraised four Texas Republicans in Congress earlier this year, some Republicans recaptured fundraising momentum in the third quarter – but not all of them. Campaign finance reports for […]

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 […]

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 […]