Ken Larsen's web site - Houston Flooding


Hurricane Harvey struck Houston on August 25, 2017 and caused massive wind and flooding damage. 


It's my assertion that part of the problem is attributable to overdevelopment.   As is happening in my home of Chapel Hill, NC, developers keep adding impervious surface and that adds to the probability of future flooding. 


Fellow Chapel Hill resident Rudy Juliano made these comments via email on August 28, 2017:

As a former Houstonian it breaks my heart to see the current tragedy unfolding.  But it wasn't unexpected.

Many years ago when we first moved to Houston, as dumb northerners, we bought a house about 1 block from one of the bayous that drain the city. The house promptly flooded; consequently our lives were wrecked  for about a year.  Then it  flooded again.  Unless you have experienced it, it is hard to believe how challenging it is to recover from a flood. Basically your whole house needs to be gutted. We moved to a home further from the bayou and did OK there for six years. However, there was constant concern about the weather. Moving to CH was a big relief.

Houston's chronic flood problem is based on three things:

  1. South Texas is as flat as a pool table.
  2. The weather there is awful and is getting worse.  So called hundred year storms now happen every two or there years. 
  3. Houston has had decades of unbridled development. There is no zoning and few restrictions on developers.  This policy has resulted in  plenty of inexpensive housing and that has attracted a lot of newcomers. However, the infrastructure, especially for flood control, never seems to keep up with the development. 

Some people in our local real estate community praise cities like Houston for their ability to provide cheap housing. However, the down side is becoming more and more obvious.


(August 27, 2017) from PBS:  "Why Houston is a 'sitting duck' for hurricanes"


(August 31, 2017) from Herald Sun:  "Still time for Chapel Hill to avoid planning mistakes of Houston" -Julie McClintock


Hurricane Matthew struck the North Carolina coast in 2016.  That, also, caused massive flooding.  I think that upstream overdevelopment (e.g. in Raleigh) exacerbated the flooding issues. 


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