Houston recovering from yet another fatal flood

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 2:21 PM

Heavy flooding has become nearly an annual rite of passage in the practically sea-level city, where experts have long warned of the potential for catastrophe."I regret anyone whose residence is flooded again," said Sylvester Turner, the city'south mayor, on Monday.

Houston recovering from yet another fatal flood

As more than a ft of rain deluged the nation'south fourth-largest city, inundating homes, shutting down major highways and leaving at minimum five people dead, Houston'south mayor said there was number immediate solution.

Heavy flooding has become nearly an annual rite of passage in the practically sea-level city, where experts have long warned of the potential for catastrophe.

"I regret anyone whose residence is flooded again," said Sylvester Turner, the city'south mayor, on Monday. "There'south nothing I can declare that'south going to ease your frustration. We certainly can't control the weather."

"A lot of rain coming in a very brief period of time, there'south nothing you can do," he added.

Flash flooding and more rain are possible Tuesday, a day after some areas saw water levels approaching twenty inches. Scores of subdivisions flooded, schools were closed, and power was knocked out to thousands of residents who were urged to shelter in place.

In addition to its location, Houston'south "gumbo" soft soil, fast-growing pop and building boom that's turned vacant pastures into housing developments all over the city'south suburbs and exurbs create it assailable to high waters, experts say.

Harris County, where Houston and many of its suburbs are located, has seen a thirty % leap in pop since two thousand. Its surrounding counties have nearly grown more than ten % since two thousand, according to the Greater Houston Partnership, a business group.

Some of the resulting developments comprise adequate greenspace for water runoff, but not all of them do, said Philip Bedient, an engineering Prof at Rice University.

"Could we've engineered our way out of this?" Bedient said. "Only if we started talking about alterations thirty-five or forty years ago."

Samuel Brody, director of the Environmental Planning & Sustainability Research Unit at TX A&M University, latest year called Houston "the No. one city in America to be injured and die in a flood."

Rainstorms latest year over Memorial Day weekend caused major flooding that required authorities to rescue twenty people, most of them drivers, from high water. Drivers abandoned at minimum 2.500 vehicles, and more than 1.000 homes were damaged in the rain.

The year before, flash flooding in Houston and suburban counties left cars trapped on major highways.

Those storms still pale in comparison to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Ike in two thousand-eighth and Tropical Storm Allison in two thousand-first. Allison left behind $5 billion in damages and flooded parts of downtown and the TX Medical Center, which sits close the Brays Bayou, a key watershed.

Bedient has worked with the TX Medical Middle on better preparing its facilities for massive rainfall, including the utilize of a sophisticated weather alert system that gives the medical middle additional time to render active gates and doors that obstruct excess rainwater.

Improving the monitoring of specific watersheds and flood-prone areas might give affected residents the additional bit of time they necessity to rescue lives and get protective measures.

"We can't solve this flood problem in Houston," Bedient said. "All we can do is a better job warning."

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