Post-Harvey week in review: December 11, 2017

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)

Flooding, flooding, flooding

The Next Threat for Coastal Cities Is Flood Insurance Reform (Next City): Piggybacking off part 2 of the Chronicle series above, the debate about how to make the national flood insurance program fiscally solvent without causing a housing market crash continues and a delicate balance is going to be required.

County OKs stricter development rules aimed at reducing flooding (Houston Chronicle): New construction in unincorporated Harris County will need to be built to the 500 year storm standard, which could require them to be built eight feet higher. There is also a requirement that homes be able to withstand 3 second wind gusts of 120 mph.

Harvey damage could force hundreds to raise their homes (Houston Chronicle): Approximately 1,600 properties in Houston will be declared “substantially damaged” after flooding during Harvey. In order to comply with current codes, many of these properties will likely need to be elevated.

Recovery

Thousands still await clean water after Harvey (Beaumont Enterprise): Not all water systems are back up to speed after Harvey. In fact, Rose City (just east of Beaumont) still requires residents to bring water to a rolling boil for 2 minutes before using it.

Port Aransas community makes video to raise awareness of damage (Corpus Christi Caller-Times): Port Aransas is one of several communities across Texas that has not seen life return to normal after Harvey. Now that many resources and national attention have left the region, their community is trying to raise awareness of the situation at hand.

Harvey could gut state budget by $1 billion (Houston Chronicle): The slow pace of recovery will force the state to spend more than it has allocated in the disaster recovery fund. A special legislative session would be required to borrow from the Rainy Day Fund, a road the governor has said he doesn’t want to go down.

First lady Melania Trump, second lady Karen Pence visit Hurricane Harvey-ravaged Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi Caller-Times): Melania Trump and Karen Pence met with storm victims, volunteers, and first responders last Wednesday in the Coastal Bend.

Harvey-damaged home can’t derail tradition of Katy coach and wife (Houston Chronicle): During another successful high school football season, Coach Gary Joseph and his wife Sheila were rebuilding there Harvey flood damaged home.

3 thoughts on “Post-Harvey week in review: December 11, 2017

  1. Vickie Kyzer

    I was just reading the Houston Chronicle articles on Hurricane Harvey and I had no idea on some of the statistics as far as the total rain that Harvey dumped on Houston. Interesting to read about some of the issues with creeks overflowing into other areas . . . in eastern Oklahoma there sits a town named Gore. Gore is a small community that sits between to rivers … and at the foothills of the Ozarks.the Arkansas River and the Illinois River. If either of these rivers flooded in the early days of Oklahoma (and before there was an Oklahoma) ….. it devastated the area. Oklahomans at the prodding of then-Senator Kerr dammed up the troublesome rivers in Oklahoma….and made lakes named Tenkiller and not too far away Lake Eufaula (this area had the same problem) . . . and other lakes in Oklahoma. The result has been we have some of the finest recreation lakes and guess what? It used to be feast or famine with water resources . . . remember the dust bowl? While we may go months without water . . . we always have the water we need….but the main thing is we don’t have that destructive flooding that used to happen especially when your land is dehydrated (or whatever term is used for parched land). . . and any water you get never soaks in. Please ask the Houston Chronicle (if they don’t already) to send their Harvey articles nationwide and try to start another series of donations and get the conversation started about building dams . . . and the green spaces needed for Houston. How much money is needed? We can help….but other states need to know the amount of help so we can help with the push for Government assistance, private donations and get Houston the money you need. I know Houston has many highly qualified elected and appointed officials….and many highly qualified business owners and operators….we in other states will help . . . we just need to know how much and where it needs to go. Houston is in our Hearts. . . today, tomorrow and always.

  2. George Loftin

    Don’t understand why homeowners are suing the Corps of Engineers. They did not develop the properties that flooded below and in back of the Barker & Addicks dams. Seems the developers are clearly responsible.

    1. Jess1

      Who gave the “developers” the OK?

      You build below water level, it’s going to get wet.

      What’s amazing is that so much of the region survived nearly 5 feet of rain – levels not seen since recordkeeping began.

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