Tag Archives: Houston Texas

Harvey Is Nothing To Do With Global Warming…..

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It ain’t no shark and it ain’t no warming neither

Houston’s flood this week is due to hubris and bad planning rather than global warming.  But hey would we not have to blame someone if it was planning?

Houston for those of us who have never passed through it, is one of those enormous post second war urban sprawls that ooze out across the West.  It was never the cowboys, John Wayne or General Custer that tamed this land, more like General Electric, General Motors and Westinghouse.  The air conditioner, personal cars and the refrigerator opened the land around Houston to become the huge 627.5 square mile of monster city it is today.

And it’s the way you build them that causes much of the problem.

Houston is low lying and near the coast.  And in what might possibly be a clue, much of what has been built on, was swamp.  So it always was prone to flooding.  This is not something new.  And then we need to factor in that much of the rest of the unchecked unregulated development was on prairie.  Now prairie is an interesting eco-system being grass with very deep roots that go far underground.  It is permeable to a fault.  The grass itself grows high and so when water hits prairie there is plenty of places for it all to go, sucked up into the grass above ground or sequestered down in the roots.  What the City fathers in their planning regulations, and the developers only out for a quite sale, have done is turn a sponge into a bathtub.

So, the developers paved over all that prairie with housing, roads, car parks, concrete, concrete, concrete etc, and hey they only discovered afterwards that the water had to go somewhere.  Surprising absolutely no one in particular, it ends up in areas that had not flooded previously.  Because, well it had nowhere else to go.

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And its all downhill to downtown

Next despite what might pass for common sense, the developers filled up the existing flood plains with more buildings.  Even as far back as 1980 there were concerns about building on floodplains and next to bayous.  But noone did anything.  Hey it was Boomtime what could possibly go wrong?  And naturally these developers did not have to put their hands in their corporate pockets to ensure that as they developed the housing they upgraded the infrastructure to allow cast water to be taken away.  And no one seems to have asked them to do that….

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Texas Harvey storm will come back on land soon…Recovery will be long and slow…

…from the NY Times….

As one of the most destructive storms in the nation’s history pummeled southeast Texas for a fourth day, forecasts on Tuesday morning called for still more rain, making clear that catastrophic flooding that had turned neighborhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome.

Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it.

Across a region that is home to millions of people and includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, no one has a clear idea how many people are missing, how many evacuated, how many hunkered down or were trapped in their waterlogged homes, or how many inundated houses and vehicles are beyond saving.

President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”

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An off ramp of Beltway 8 in Houston became a boat launch for rescuers searching for people stranded in floodwaters. CreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Local officials reported 10 deaths possibly related to the storm, six of them in Harris County, which includes Houston. But the painstaking and heartbreaking work of clearing streets, going door to door, assessing damage — and finding victims — has not yet begun.

Scenes of people and pets being rescued from the roofs and upper floors of houses revived memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when early estimates vastly understated both the material devastation and the death toll, and recovery efforts lasted years.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said on Monday that he expected more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance.

“We’re going to be here for several years helping you guys recover,” he said. “The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery housing missions the nation has ever seen.”

For the time being, efforts are focused on the most basic elements of keeping people alive — plucking stranded survivors from the flood, providing shelter, food and water, and restoring electricity to hundreds of thousands of people who were left without power…

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President Trump landed in storm-brushed Corpus Christi on Tuesday morning to see for himself some of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Harvey and demonstrate his personal commitment to a region still in the grips of a historic natural disaster.

Mr. Trump, who pushed aides to schedule a visit to Texas as early as possible after Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, initially considered touring San Antonio, which is outside the most hard-hit areas. But he settled on Corpus Christi because it was 30 miles away from the most severely impacted parts of the Gulf Coast, and suffered relatively light damage from the initial impact of the storm.

“It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said of the response effort during a meeting with officials from local, state and federal agencies in a Corpus Christi firehouse. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.”….

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