It’s hard to believe that Hurricane Harvey was almost eight months ago. Today, I would like to talk to you about where Houston is headed post-Hurricane Harvey and cover some of the conversations and events that are happening.
The Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation From Disasters Department (SSPEED) from Rice University recently held a two-day conference for urban infrastructure called “Moving Forward From Harvey.” The conference hosted some of the best minds on flooding in the industry in order to keep this from getting into the weeds.
One of the findings at the conference was that the flood risk for Houston was greatly underestimated, as well as that the rainfall maps from which they were basing their information were from 1969. The flood maps are now going to be redone, and they will reflect current risk (but not future risk).
“The flood risk for Houston was greatly underestimated.”
Jim Blackburn, co-director of SSPEED, says “[…] The 100-year floodplain is absolutely obsolete.” Instead, he suggests that the city of Houston should use a 500-year floodplain in the interim and use that as their development standard until the new flood maps are completed.
Additionally, he has other great insights and recommendations in his paper called “The Role of Public and Private Stakeholders in Solving Houston’s Flooding Problem.”
You can also sign up at www.bcinitiative.org, a nonprofit committed to designing a flood-resilient Houston, for further information so you can keep track of the ongoing progress.
For any other questions, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer them for you.