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:
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)
Industry support for flood plain rules may signal new attitude in Harvey’s wake (Houston Chronicle): If recent comments and proposals have been trial balloons for future regulations, developers haven’t shown much resistance to them thus far.
Reclaiming golf courses could help Houston fight the next Hurricane Harvey (Washington Post): Clear Lake is turning an old golf course into a wetland park and floodwater reservoir. It’s not quite done yet, but during Harvey it’s estimated that 150 homes avoided flooding because of that development. Could Houston employ that strategy in parts of town?
Hurricane Harvey makes Houston reassess growth-friendly policies (Reuters): A national piece that does a fair job summarizing the challenges with decisions we need to make in Houston.
How much has been raised for Harvey relief — and how’s it being spent? (Texas Tribune): The Texas Tribune has a monthly scorecard of how some of the disaster money is being distributed. Their November update is here.
UH Embarks on Oral History of Hurricane Harvey (University of Houston): “Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey” will be an oral history project to document Harvey’s impacts on people and neighborhoods around Houston.
Health, family, and environmental challenges
Harvey Recovery Raises Questions of Health Equity in Houston (Rice Kinder Institute): Harvey brought to light many of the things Houston’s done right since the last great flood during Allison. But it also laid bare some of the problems we still have in health, dialysis, pollution, and mental health issues.
Note: You can also see video of the Texas Tribune event described by clicking here.
Without recovery funds, more than 50 Texas day cares close after Harvey (Texas Tribune): Child care is already challenging for many families, and Harvey has added another layer of challenges to that story.
Texans With HIV Cope With Homes And Medicines Ruined By Hurricane Harvey (NPR/Kaiser): Texans with HIV lost homes like many, but they’ve had other issues to contend with in the recovery also.
Galveston Bay dolphins struggle to recover from Hurricane Harvey (Houston Chronicle): Dolphins often suffer in the wake of hurricanes, and research is being done on those in Galveston Bay dealing with skin lesions and other health issues.
Hurricane season ends
2017 U.S. Hurricane Damage Estimate of $206.6 Billion: Highest on Record (Weather Underground): We all knew the 2017 hurricane was bad. The current monetary estimate makes it the most damaging on record.
Hurricane season is – finally! – over (Houston Chronicle): The 2017 hurricane season won’t be forgotten for a long time in many places. It does offer a sobering look at what the future could bring more of unfortunately.
The Atlantic hurricane season from hell is finally over (Washington Post/Capital Weather Gang): A well-rounded recap of the season that was.
‘Relief Gang’ helps 98-year-old Hurricane Harvey survivor (Fox 26): Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth’s Relief Gang is helping a 98 year old woman who was living in a flood damaged home (with mold) get it gutted and rebuilt.
As resources fade, Rockport resident focuses her mission on helping neighbors (Corpus Christi Caller-Times): A Rockport woman has been helping dozens of her neighbors in the wake of Harvey, work that’s especially impactful now that relief resources have gradually left the region.
José Altuve, Pudge Rodríguez put down bats, pick up hammers to build home for Harvey-hit Houston (Dallas Morning News): Jose Altuve and Pudge Rodriguez went to work in Dallas putting together a frame for a Habitat for Humanity home that will end up in northwest Houston.
Bayou Greenways nonprofit sees groundswell of support after Harvey (Houston Chronicle): The plan to connect Houston’s bayou system with trails, as well as the Beyond the Bayous plan for other city parks has seen support continue and grow in the wake of Harvey.