Six of ten wettest cyclones in US history struck SE Texas

Intro to Flooding in Southeast Texas

Jeff Lindner, Harris County’s Meteorologist, has produced an excellent 20-minute video that explains flooding in Southeast Texas and how you can increase your situational awareness during extreme weather events. It’s now on YouTube and is called “Understanding Flooding in Southeast Texas.”

By Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

Brief Outline of Video

The video begins with a description of things that make this area unique – namely extreme rainfall on flat topography.

Then Lindner begins by reminding us of extreme rainfalls, such as Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 which set the U.S. 24-hour rainfall record – 43 inches in one day! To put that in perspective, it took Hurricane Harvey FOUR days to dump 47.4 inches.

Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 dumped 28.5 inches in just 12-hours. It turns out that…

Six of the ten wettest tropical cyclones ever to strike the US mainland struck Southeast Texas!

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist
Video is signed for hearing impaired

Then the video:

  • Defines watersheds, describes local watersheds, and explains how water flows throughout Harris and surrounding counties
  • Discusses ponding and sheet-flow flooding, unrelated to watersheds
  • Explains how streets are designed as part of the floodwater retention system
  • Talks about the Harris County Flood Warning System and the distribution of gages in surrounding counties
  • Digs into some of the System’s features, such as Near-Real-Time Inundation Mapping
  • Tells you how sign up for Notification Alerts and explains different types of alerts you can set
  • Reviews the limitations of home insurance and flood insurance policies.

Who Can Benefit from Watching?

Many types of people can benefit from watching this video:

  • People new to the area
  • Young people
  • Anyone buying property or new homes
  • Long-term residents who have had close calls during previous floods
  • Those without flood insurance or those considering buying it.

Regarding insurance, Lindner reminds us that it takes 30-days for flood insurance to go into effect and that you can’t buy flood insurance when there’s a named storm in the Gulf. So the time to buy it is well before hurricane season, which starts on June 1.

It’s also important to remember that flooding can happen in non-tropical storms that occur in virtually any month of the year. Tax Day and Memorial Day storms are good examples. The Tax Day storm dumped 23.5 inches of rain in 12-hours!

Of the 154,170 estimated homes that flooded across Harris County during Harvey, only 36% had active flood insurance policies in place the day before the storm struck…64% did not have flood insurance.

If you think that government disaster relief will make you whole soon after a flood, think again. Five and a half years after Harvey, people are still waiting for aid or in the process of rebuilding their homes.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/26/2023

2035 Days since Hurricane Harvey