Category: Hurricane Harvey

Post-Harvey week in review: December 18, 2017

Posted by Matt Lanza at 1:49 PM

It’s another Monday, so it’s time for another week in review of articles about Harvey-related issues in Texas. If you missed previous recaps, they are here:

Post-Harvey week in review: December 11, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: December 4, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: November 27, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: November 20, 2017

Just as a note: With Christmas and New Years upcoming on Mondays, we’ll table this feature until next year. Look for this to resume in early 2018.

Reads of the week

The Houston Chronicle’s “Developing Storm” series. Parts one and two are linked in last week’s post. The next three parts are linked below. There should be two more coming soon. These are very much worth your time to read, as they’re educational, informative, and, at times, maddening.

Part 3: What’s in Houston’s worst flood zones? Development worth $13.5 billion (Houston Chronicle): Since 2008, 1,400 structures worth $4.2 billion have been built on floodway parcels in Harris County. Part 3 of the Chronicle’s seven part series examines the differences between floodways and floodplains and how Houston’s regulations have evolved (or haven’t) despite our experience with frequent floods over the years.

Part 4: Harvey overwhelmed some levee systems. Future storms could do worse (Houston Chronicle): Levee systems protecting subdivisions in Fort Bend County probably performed as they were supposed to, but that didn’t prevent over 100 homes from being flooded during Harvey. And by no means do levees guarantee future protection from flooding.

Part 5: Officials patched and prayed while pressure built on Houston’s dams (Houston Chronicle): Addicks and Barker Dams have done enormous service to Houston. Learn about their history and learn how much trouble Houston would be in if they were to fail.

Flooding fact sheets

Continuing on the idea of educating and informing Houston residents: The Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium has published fact sheets to help people in the Houston area better understand terms, technicalities, and flooding risks. Four of them are linked below.

Flood warning systems 
What is a floodplain? 
How to assess flood damage 
What are detention basins?

(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman) Read More…

Post-Harvey week in review: December 11, 2017

Posted by Matt Lanza at 10:00 AM

Welcome back to our weekly Monday wrap-up of Harvey and flooding-related news you may have missed over the last seven days. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments. Previous recaps are here:

Post-Harvey week in review: December 4, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: November 27, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: November 20, 2017

Reads of the Week

Sunk Costs – Back-to-back record flooding along the Brazos River has forced people in Richmond to make an excruciating choice: Stay or go? (Texas Observer): The Brazos River at Richmond has seen four of its 10 highest crests on record since May of 2015. Some residents have flooded multiple times, and they now grapple with the question of where to go from here.

Developing Storm Part 1: Nature ruled, man reacted. Hurricane Harvey was Houston’s reckoning (Houston Chronicle): A multi-part series from the Chronicle began last week, and it aims to discuss the storm in the context of it not being exclusively a *natural* disaster. It’s worth reading. The first part discusses the reactions and decisions that had to be made in the heat of battle.

Developing Storm Part 2: Build, flood, rebuild: flood insurance’s expensive cycle (Houston Chronicle): Part two of the Chronicle series talks about the history of the National Flood Insurance Program. It discusses in depth how Congress has failed to act to make NFIP more fiscally viable.

Surveys & Symposiums

Survey: Harvey’s wrath affected 66 percent of Texans in its path (Corpus Christi Caller-Times): Two-thirds of people surveyed in counties affected by Harvey report that they have some sort of damage from the storm. They also report that help hasn’t quite been adequate to this point.

Report: An uneven recovery after Harvey threatens to leave people behind (Rice Kinder Institute): Almost half of people from Harris County that responded to an Episcopal Health Foundation and Kaiser Family Foundation survey lost income from Harvey. Seventeen percent of people from 24 counties surveyed are now suffering a new or worsening health condition. Harvey’s damage has stretched people and resources thin and has led to cascading impacts that will continue to be felt in the region and threatens to leave vulnerable and lower-income populations behind.

Where do we go from here? Houston-area leaders grapple with Harvey aftermath (Houston Chronicle): The Houston Chronicle held a symposium last week to discuss Houston after Harvey. Here are some highlights from that event.

(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman) Read More…

Post-Harvey week in review: December 4, 2017

Posted by Matt Lanza at 10:00 AM

We’re back with another Monday wrap-up of the last week’s stories about Houston’s recovery from Harvey and flooding issues in our region. Feel free to share any that we missed in the comments. If you missed the last two weeks of recaps, you can find them here:

Post-Harvey week in review: November 27, 2017
Post-Harvey week in review: November 20, 2017

Reads of the week

Early results of federal rainfall study show dramatic growth in 100-year storm (Houston Chronicle): An initial study from NOAA (currently in the peer review process) suggests that the rainfall of a 100-year storm in Harris County (a storm that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year) has increased by 3-5″ since 2001. If that holds up, that has enormous implications on development and how we define floodplains in the Houston area.

Furthering the point that all this is very preliminary, Jeff Lindner of Harris County Flood Control points out that there are still some questions about the gage data and methodology that was used.

This will be an important story to follow in the months ahead.

Developers Said Their Homes Were Out of a Flood Zone. Then Harvey Came. (New York Times): At least 6,000 properties in locations that were redesignated after previously being classified as in flood zones ended up with damage from flooding during Harvey. Map changes are legal and come via raised lots, levees, drainage systems, water-detention ponds, etc. But the margin for error is small, and not all property owners realized this. A provocative story with a focus on The Woodlands.

(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman)

Read More…

Post-Harvey week in review: November 27, 2017

Posted by Matt Lanza at 11:02 AM

Welcome to our week in review of news and stories about Harvey recovery and flooding issues you may have missed over the last few days. If you weren’t able to check out last week’s edition, you can find it here. Feel free to share any links we may have missed in the comments. On to the news.

Reads of the week

What bond investors weren’t told about a threat facing Cinco Ranch (Houston Chronicle): Ten municipal utility districts (MUDs) in the Cinco Ranch area have had over 70 bonds sold since 1992 and only one of those disclosed a flooding risk to those neighborhoods.

Harvey was three months ago. These displaced families are still in limbo (Texas Tribune): A pair of Houston families grapple with the same decisions and problems that many thousands in our area are going through a few months after Harvey.

Houston housing

Harris County proposing dramatic overhaul of floodplain regulations (Houston Chronicle): Harris County (not Houston, for now) may require developers to use the 500-year floodplain for new development, as opposed to the 100-year floodplain as it is now.

A House’s Flood History Can Be Hard To Find (Houston Public Media): Trying to find out if a home you’re considering buying or renting has flooded is often pretty difficult to do.

Rental market tightens, but it may not last (Houston Chronicle): Houston’s apartment occupancy has experienced a heck of a reversal over the last few months. More volatility may be in the future.

How Much Damage Did Harvey Do To Texas Homes? There May Never Be An Exact Answer (Texas Tribune): With a substantial amount of money coming in and numerous government agencies involved in the recovery effort, some things may fall through the cracks when assessing the scale of the disaster, concerning advocates.

We may never know precisely how much damage Harvey did to Houston neighborhoods. (Texas National Guard)

Displaced by storm still yearn for home (Houston Chronicle): 47,000 flood victims are still displaced in hotels all over the country. The housing aspect of the recovery usually moves slowly, and in a post-Harvey world, it’s no different. Read More…