May 10, 2019

Flooding Continues to Impact Houston

The state of Texas is continuing to experience flash flooding, and the weather has resulted in one death

The state of Texas is continuing to experience flash flooding, and the weather has resulted in one death

On May 8, the state of Texas experienced flash flooding in parts of northern, central and western Texas. The severe thunderstorms caused one death in Austin, according to KSL.

The rainfall was not near the level of Hurricane Harvey, which flooded more than 150,000 homes and caused around $125 billion in damage. However, it does represent a “new normal” for the Houston area and surrounding communities, according to KSL.

"We're going to have to learn to live with flooding in Houston and we haven't quite accepted that reality yet," said Jim Blackburn, co-director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters Center at Rice University in Houston, to KSL.

Multiple school districts in the affected areas had to have students spend the night or part of the night at the school buildings because the roads were flooded. According to KSL, about 60 students had to spend the night at an elementary school in Cleveland.

A suburb north of Houston, Kingwood, received almost 10-in. of rain, flooding many streets for several hours, according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

"We're going to be in an unsettled weather pattern between now into Saturday and Sunday. We are watching the situation very, very carefully," Turner said to KSL.

Another suburb, Sugar Land, got up to 9 in. of rainfall. City Spokesman Doug Adolph said this resulted in the flooding of all major roadways and more than 100 abandoned vehicles.

"It was pretty bad. It was raining nonstop, thunder and lightning and people were stuck on the side of the road. So, it wasn't fun. I swam home last night," said resident Matthew Graver to KSL.

The rain overwhelmed drainage systems, Blackburn said to KSL, many of which need major improvements.

The city’s storm drain and pipe system is minimal compared to that of other major cities. According to KSL, the system at most can take 1.5 in. of rain. The city’s streets serve as secondary drainage systems, and most will fill with water during major rainfall, Blackburn said.

"We need to spend the bond money and get those improvements made," Blackburn said to KSL.