The Federal Emergency Management Agency this month began designating certain communities at high risk for natural disasters as “disaster resilience zones,” and Harris County — with 14 — has more than any other county in the United States.
It has been 15 years since Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Gulf Coast and six years since Hurricane Harvey. These two storms had very different impacts on our region and provided different lessons for how we can be better prepared for weather disasters.
After Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans in 2021, Kirt Talamo, a fourth-generation Louisianan, decided it was time to go. He sold his flooded home, purchased his grandmother’s former house on New Orleans’ west bank, which hadn’t flooded, and moved in. It felt good to be back within its familiar walls, but his mind was on the future.
Hurricane season is here, and with it comes a familiar feeling of dread in the Greater Houston area, particularly about floods. But more than five years after Hurricane Harvey, Houstonians may be less inclined to buy flood insurance because of cost increases that have begun to roll out in the last year, with the latest data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency showing that prices could go up by 75% in Harris County alone.
If Houston took a nature-based approach to its drainage systems, it could help mitigate climate change, lessen the city’s severe heat and create job opportunities among other benefits, according to a recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute.
A proposal to transform a former landfill in southwest Houston into a mixed-use development with a flood control component recently caught the attention of statewide planners who recognized it for its contributions to resilience.
In the wake of two historically devastating storms in 2017, financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contributed to an increase in wealth inequality.
Water connects us, yet too often our region’s ongoing relationship with water presents itself as flooding that wreaks havoc and devastates all in its path. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many efforts have emerged to try to rebuild our relationship with water from one of harm to one of resilience.
Natural disasters are increasingly common each year, affecting infrastructure and contributing to economic, social, health, and psychological hardships. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, it quickly amassed $125 billion in damages, displacing over a million people and their homes. Along with the economic toll of a disaster event, mental health concerns carry a cost that is difficult to measure.
The Kinder Institute’s Urban Data Platform warehouses over 50 datasets related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. These resources can help researchers, agencies and organizations work toward ways to prevent and withstand the worst effects of the storms to come.
When it hit five years ago this week, Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented disaster: 68 people dead, 200,000 homes damaged or destroyed, a half-million cars wiped out, $125 billion in damage.
Flood survival stories are a Houston shibboleth, a test of membership. Make it through a devastating downpour, and you are one of us. And everyone who lived in the Houston area in August 2017 has a Hurricane Harvey story. For some, it was another entry in a collection of flood stories, depending on how long they lived here and where; for others, it was their first, a rude awakening to very real vulnerabilities.
Friendswood, a close-knit suburb southeast of Houston that routinely makes lists for being the “best place to raise a family,” also serves as a case study for how flaws in the federal approach to flood insurance and disaster recovery aid resulted in fractured outcomes even among similarly situated middle-class neighbors after Hurricane Harvey.
A new book serves as a guide for how cities can best learn from one another to design systems and build ways to endure the worst climate shocks to come. This includes Houston’s experience—both for what to expect from a changing climate and how to respond. Its authors say Houston has done several things right, but they also worry that future disasters could outpace these efforts.
Climate change is propelling more extreme weather events, including more precipitation and flooding, which means the need for more strategies such as buyouts has never been more urgent. As a concept, buyouts are fairly straightforward: the government buys up properties to remove them out of harm’s way, reducing the risk of loss of life, the need for future flood repairs, insurance payouts and other costs.