Month: November 2017

Post-Harvey week in review: November 20, 2017

Posted by Matt Lanza at 3:47 PM

As part of our commitment to helping the community recover from Hurricane Harvey, we thought it would be helpful to write a “week in review” post every Monday. In the post-Harvey world, there has been no shortage of news about recovery, future projects, and ramifications of all that happened during the storm. This weekly post, largely produced by Matt, attempts to summarize the major news of the week, without editorializing. Please feel free to share anything we missed in the comments, or suggest additions for next week’s post.

Read of the week

The U.S. Flooded One of Houston’s Richest Neighborhoods to Save Everyone Else (Bloomberg Businessweek): November 20th’s edition of Bloomberg Businessweek highlights the dam releases from Addicks and Barker and subsequent flooding in West Houston for their cover story. The article offers a synopsis of what happened and the challenges of ongoing litigation as a result of the flooding.

November 20th’s Bloomberg Businessweek talks about some of the Energy Corridor’s experiences during Harvey. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Harvey Recovery

Repairs to Harvey-damaged San Jac bridge to start early 2018 (Houston Chronicle): TxDOT has a lot to consider after Harvey, including elevating roads. Meanwhile, work to repair the US-59/I-69 bridge over the San Jacinto River, which was heavily damaged by the flooding will begin after Christmas. Some of the repair work could be quite substantial.

After Harvey, A Once-Lively Neighborhood Finds Silence (Houston Public Media): Meyerland residents grapple with the decision to relocate or rebuild higher.

Nearly $29M being sent to more than 90 nonprofits in 2nd round of Harvey fund distribution (ABC 13): After $7 million was distributed last month, another $29 million of Harvey relief donations will be distributed among a whole bunch of local organizations to help folks in and around Houston.

It’s official: KHOU not returning to Allen Parkway (KHOU): After being flooded during Harvey, KHOU will seek out a new permanent home.

Houston area groups propose plan for how third Hurricane Harvey relief package should be distributed (Community Impact News): The U.S. House will soon pass a third aid package for Harvey relief. Governor Abbott has asked for over $61 billion in funding for various flood control projects and buyouts in addition to recovery. Much of that request is based on the Rebuild Texas plan. Another group has advocated for more comprehensive flood control the rest of Harris County. You can read about some of the differences between Rebuild Texas and this Better Houston plan in the article.

Texans blast Trump’s $44B storm relief package as ‘inadequate’ as White House goes on defense (Dallas News): Speaking of, the latest White House proposal for hurricane relief falls quite a bit short of what the governor had asked for from Congress.

Flood control plan for stretch of Buffalo Bayou could result in removal of trees (Houston Chronicle): Studies and discussions about how to control flooding on Buffalo Bayou could result in trees being removed for projects, such as detention ponds.

After Harvey, Houston arts groups on precarious footing as critical holiday season nears (Houston Chronicle): The Theater District in downtown Houston was hit tremendously hard by Harvey. Recovery is slow and challenging, and it may take several years to fully recover. Read More…

As a homeowner, I just want things that are supposed to work, to work. I’m not particularly handy, so when something breaks it always frustrates me. Even worse, if there’s a plumbing problem, it can damage a home. Or if the AC breaks down in August, heaven help us all. Frankly, there’s never a convenient time for a major system in your home to break down. In today’s sponsored post from Reliant, we discuss one option to address this.

Reliant has created a package to help protect your home from potential AC, heater and plumbing issues. The idea behind the Reliant Home Maintenance Package is to alleviate the stress of the homeowner who relies on their major home systems to perform all year long.
For $249 a year, a homeowner can enjoy the benefits of a full plumbing inspection once a year, two seasonal air conditioner or heater tune-ups per year.

The details of each inspection are as follows:

Heating Tune-up (October – November)

  • Inspect and test the gas valve
  • Inspect and test the pilot light (manual or electronic)
  • Visually inspect the heat exchanger
  • Check flue for proper ventilation and clearance
  • Inspect and test the electrical disconnect
  • Check amperage readings on heat strips
  • Verify proper wiring size on heat strips
  • Inspect and test the electrical power switch
  • Inspect blower motor for proper ventilation
  • Check the evaporator drain line
  • Check the overflow pan drain line
  • Inspect all air filters
  • Inspect and test thermostat

Plumbing Inspection (January – February)

  • Check the water pressure
  • Visual inspection of faucets for leaks
  • Visual inspection of toilets and tanks for leaks
  • Check the drain speed in bathtubs and sinks
  • Visual inspection of shower pan
  • Inspect flexible hoses/water supply lines to: Toilets, sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, water heater
  • Drain and sewer line inspection (if accessible)
  • Water heater: Check temperature, inspect venting system, ccheck water and gas connection, inspect drain and pan piping

AC Tune-up (March – April)

  • Inspect condenser coil
  • Clean and clear debris
  • Inspect all electrical connections
  • Adjust the system for optimal cooling
  • Check for refrigerant and oil leaks
  • Check the expansion valve and coil temperatures
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Check condensation drain
  • Run the cooling cycle
  • Inspect and test the thermostat
  • Inspect all air filters
  • Perform a wash-down of the condenser coil

Although such a service cannot fully guarantee there will be no unexpected problems with your home, it can often find problems before they happen. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to rain showers falling onto your bed. Which has happened to me. When the water heater burst about a decade ago in the attic.

It’s chilly this morning across Houston, with lows in the low 40s for inland areas, and low 50s closer to the coast. For most of this week we can expect continued fall-like weather thanks to a series of cold fronts. The Thanksgiving holiday should see near perfect fall-like weather.


Houston will see a mix of sunshine and clouds today, which should keep high temperatures in the upper 60s for the most part. Monday night should be about 10 degrees warmer than Sunday night, as southeasterly winds return to the area.

Monday morning is one of the chilliest we’ve seen in Texas this fall. (Weather Bell)


As moisture flows back to the area, humidity levels will tick up some—but the region won’t have too long to warm back up before another front arrives. Highs on Tuesday should reach into the mid-70s, but the bigger question is whether we’ll squeeze out any showers later during the day, or overnight hours. For now, it seems like most of of the rain showers will occur offshore, or immediately along the coast. There is about a 30 percent chance of some light rain for inland areas. Lows Tuesday night will reach into the low 50s for inland areas, and low 60s along the coast.

Read More…

Another front without much fanfare for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:31 AM

We’ve had several cold fronts pass through Houston this autumn. Very few of them have carried much punch as they passed through. Tomorrow’s front will behave similarly. As a result, precipitation (outside of a few exceptions) has been pretty minimal this fall. We finished September nearly three inches below normal officially at Bush Airport. October finished a bit over two inches below normal. And through the first half of November, we’re running just under two inches below normal.

Over the last 60 days, rainfall has averaged about 50-75% of normal in most of Southeast Texas. (NOAA)

In fact, much of Texas has been dry. And yes, we can start using the “D” word a bit more liberally in Texas. That word is drought. With precipitation over the next two weeks likely to average below normal in most of Texas, and with drought areas expanding, we’re likely to see talk of drought show up a bit more often.

Harvey obviously delivered enough rain to hold drought back in our area for a good while. But with Harvey becoming a distant memory in the water system, and Texas’s historical reputation of going from one extreme to the other, we can start discussing this potential. Areas in interior Texas less impacted by Harvey are already there.

So with that setup, let’s dive into the forecast.


There’s not much in the way of fog to start today, thanks in part to more cloud cover. So expect a pretty benign Friday: Clouds and some sun. We’ll warm up into the low 80s in most spots this afternoon away from the coast.

Read More…