While some of us are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey a year later, we find ourselves in the middle of another hurricane season. As the Gulf waters continue to warm and as we continue to keep an eye on the tropics, the threat of another flood is always a bit too close for comfort.
And it seems as if that threat is getting worse. Flooding throughout Houston is expensive when you tally up costs in damages as well as lost opportunity costs. In fact, Hurricane Harvey was the most expensive natural disaster of 2017 in the United States, costing upwards of $125 billion. Not to mention, these storms are deadly and dangerous, especially to motorists who find themselves unexpectedly caught in downpours.
Many residents affected by the storm are still getting back on their feet, rebuilding homes and recovering losses via insurance claims.
Critics of the City of Houston’s response efforts to the storm sometimes argue that substantial preventative measures were not taken ahead of the storm. Some believe that evacuation orders should have been issued.
However, the hurricane evacuations are issued according to where the storm will hit the hardest, as determined by wind speed and the threat of storm surge. With a storm such as Harvey and similarly with Tropical Storm Allison (2001), the biggest threat the storm brought was rainfall.
Unlike wind and surge, rainfall is incredibly difficult to pinpoint, making it nearly impossible to accurately predict which areas of the city will be hardest hit. Therefore, ordering evacuations ahead of a storm like Harvey is unreasonable, unless one was issued for the entire city. For those of us who lived through the infamous evacuation of Hurricane Rita (2005), we know that the idea of emptying out one of the country’s biggest cities within a matter of days is a bad idea.
All of that said, the best course of action for wet storms like Harvey is often to wait and see which areas are in the most need of aid and to deliver it to them as quickly and efficiently as possible – after the storm has hit.
Fortunately, our warning and response systems have certainly improved over the years. Houstonians take a special sort of pride in the way our city is able to come together in times of crisis, supporting one another and volunteering our own time, money, and resources.
Now, there’s another way Houstonians can fight the ongoing threat of floods.
On August 25, 2018, registered voters in Harris County can vote on a $2.5 billion bond referendum that would provide funds for flood prevention efforts in flood-prone areas of Houston.
Early voting runs from August 8-21, 2018.
Spring Branch residents can vote here:
Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Road, Houston
Voting hours are:
Aug. 8-10, 13-14: 8AM – 4:30PM
Aug. 15-18, 20-21: 7AM – 7PM
Aug. 19: 1PM – 6PM