Photo by Adam Baker/flickr

In mid-February 2021, as Houston was still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a severe winter storm hit Texas, leaving millions of people without power. The impact it had on Harris County cannot be overstated. Millions of residents were brought to the brink of ruin.

In response to the disaster, Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, on behalf of Harris County and its community partners, conducted the Winter Storm Uri Resilience Assessment. The purpose of the study is to better inform the short- and long-term deployment of resources to ensure an effective and equitable recovery. Using the assessment, data-driven solutions can be developed to improve community resilience and protect vulnerable populations during future extreme weather events.

This report provides a geographic analysis of damage caused by the winter storm and highlights the unmet needs it uncovered. Additionally, our researchers analyzed the damage from three disaster events—Winter Storm Uri, COVID-19 and Hurricane Harvey—to better understand the impact of compounding crises. The report also includes a resilience assessment of both the housing stock and the population, to make sense of overlapping patterns that could underpin future disaster recovery programming and policy priorities. Lastly, focus group findings are included, conversations which were instrumental in analyzing Winter Storm Uri and Compounding Damage information.