If you missed the FloodWarn Workshop at Kingwood College on 5/1/18, you missed a lot of helpful information. All four FloodWarn Workshop presentations are now posted in one PDF in the reports section of this web site or via this link.
National Weather Service
Katie Landry-Guyton, Senior Service Hydrologist/Meteorologist from the National Weather Service-Houston/Galveston office, talked about various types of floods, then focused on river flooding. She discussed the various types of forecasts and warnings NWS has to help you understand levels of risk. She also discussed details of how NWS formulates forecasts. For weather wonks and flood victims, it’s a must-see.
Harris County Flood Control
Jeff Lindner, Meteorologist/Director, Hydrologic Operations Division of the Harris County Flood Control District then discussed the hydrology of Harris County. Within this context, he addressed four types of floodplains in the county, the District’s flood warning system (FWS), inundation mapping/ forecasting down to the street level, and expansion of the District’s gage network.
San Jacinto River Authority
Jace Houston, General Manager of the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), talked about the dam operations at Lake Conroe. Specifically, he explained how they made the decision to start releasing water during Harvey. Houston also introduced the SJRA’s new regional flood management initiative.
Rounding out the evening, Diane Cooper of FEMA Floodplain Management and Insurance. Cooper, who has posted several times on this blog, is a Kingwood resident. She focused on flood risk, hazard mapping and flood insurance.
Among the surprising facts cited:
- The National Flood Insurance Program processed 26,511 claims as a result of Harvey.
- 55.2% of those claims came from OUTSIDE of the 100 year flood plain.
- Only 17% of Houstonians had flood insurance (about 1 in 6)
- 30,500 structures were in the 1% risk area (100 year flood plain)
- 29,000 structure were in the 0.2% risk area (500 year flood plain)
- City-wide, Harvey impacted approximately 150,000 structures
- That means that more structures were impacted outside the 0.2% Risk Area than inside, approximately 90,000.
Cooper cited this last point as the reason why everyone should have flood insurance whether they are officially in the flood plain or not. This was a common theme all night among all four presenters.
They also pointed out that not all flooding comes from rivers. Much flooding comes from streets. Streets in Kingwood are designed as part of the flood retention system. They can deliver approximately two inches of rainfall per hour through the storm drains to the ditches. When the rainfall rate exceeds that, drains will back up into streets and release the water slowly so as not to overwhelm the ditches.
Moral of the story: even if you’re nowhere near the river or a drainage ditch, you can still flood from your street and, therefore, need flood flood insurance.
For more interesting tidbits, download and review all four FloodWarn Workshop Presentations.
Posted May 2, 2018
246 Days Since Hurricane Harvey