Flooding Report from the Northwest Houston Prairie Bowl

FLOODING REPORT FROM THE NORTHWEST HOUSTON PRAIRIE BOWL The worst flooding damage from those late April storms centered around a swath of Highway 6 stretching from the Katy Freeway to 290 in northwest Houston. The heaviest rainfall was centered further west, along the planned path of the Grand Parkway Segment E. “[Jennifer] Bayles said her section of Bear Creek Village wasn’t within the 100-year flood plain when she and her husband bought their house 17 years ago. But it was added to the flood plain in new maps developed after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, and the couple purchased flood insurance despite the steep premiums. ‘We’re well-insured; we’ll be fine,’ she said, but some neighbors don’t have the coverage they need. And their recovery efforts grew more complicated when they learned that if their homes sustained sufficient damage they would have to elevate when they rebuild. In the past few years, Bayles said, her street has flooded regularly during heavy rains, stranding residents in their homes for hours. But the April thunderstorms were the first time she’s had water in her house, she said.” [Houston Chronicle]

5 Comment

  • Welcome to Houston! We flood! California shakes and burns.

    Sour grapes, bitch, moan!

    The rain even that occur in spots along Highway 6 exceeded a 100-year storm. It’s not surprising homes flooded. That’s why you get flood insurance.

    Minor street flooding is something that we have to contend with in the City of Houston. If we get 2-inches in one hour, you will most likely get street flooding. The issues is the Houston region gets much more volume of rainfall than most large cities within the US. I could say potentially only southern Florida and New Orleans get more.

    A quick study of the USGS TR-55 Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds (Appendix B) is a telling tell of how much rain we get. Only extreme coastal edge from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Panama City, Florida get potentially more rain.

  • Well, it is a bit frustrating when homes that didn’t flood previously suddenly do so or come close. A co-worker who lives in neighboring Oak Forest and skated through both Allison and Ike just left to meet with an outdoor drainage contractor as she was about an inch away from flooding on April 28th. The difference? 4 new gigantic homes on her block since January with a concrete footprint considerably larger than that of the bungalows they replaced. One even has half the front yard, one entire side and half the back yard paved. I haven’t seen many older homes in her area on pier & beam construction, and she isn’t the only one in the neighborhood who has noticed the water creeping closer.

    That being said, of course everyone in Houston with any property at ground level should have flood insurance. Now is also a good time to think about where to live for the 4-6 months it may take to get a home repaired and save up for the expense if there is no handy relative or friend with enough room. Unlike homeowners insurance, NFIP flood policies do not provide coverage for loss of use/additional living expenses.

  • Hellsing,

    Your argument for not flooding in Allison and Ike but now flooding from the recent rains doesn’t make sense.

    None of the neighborhoods out on Highway 6 in the above article flooded in Allison or Ike either, but they do now. The reason is simple: Allison and Ike didn’t create much rain in far west Houston.

    The majority of Harris County didn’t experience much of the devastating floods from Allison. Actually, you have to go back to 1994 to get a storm on the far north and northwest side that comes close to the rain of Allison.

    Houston and the metro area is quiet big. Rain doesn’t fall equally everywhere. Check the link below:

    There’s a bunch of other maps also on that page. The upstream reaches of White Oak Bayou didn’t receive the worst of the rains which mean the wave of water from upstream development wasn’t as much as this past rain. This is easily why Oak Forest could have flood worst recently than it did in Allison.

    Every time I’m attend public meetings I hear the straw man argument that I didn’t flood in Allison so this….(name whatever reason). Allison targeted a specific area of the region. Ike’s rain waters did the same thing.

    This is the reason just like you mentioned at the end of your post that pretty much everyone should at least purchase flood insurance. Most homes that end up flooding usually see the flood from a random heavy rainstorm like we just had an note from the big named storms.

  • Hmmmm…according to the Harris County Flood Control District report done on March 26, 2009 on Hurricane Ike “Rainfall in this band averaged 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts of 5 to 6 inches over the middle part of White Oak Bayou and an isolated area of rainfall of more than 8 inches in 3 hours [or a 1% (100-year) frequency] reported at White Oak Bayou and Ella Boulevard.” April 28, 2009 – approximately 3.54 inches in the same area, according to SciGuy columnist Eric Berger. I would like to assume both sources know what they are talking about. Perhaps her house has sunk.

    I’m really not interested in splitting hairs about what rain fell where as making the point that numerous factors can affect the possibility of a home flooding at any given time – development that trades permeable surfaces for those that are not, clogged gutters, the grade of neighborhood streets being raised….every part of Houston can and will flood to some degree sooner or later. In my co-worker’s case, it is only on one side of her house near the new development. I commend her for taking a proactive step to protect her investment. She knows that she’ll probably have to sell within the next 10 years as more large homes eat up green space and the risk increases, and that’s realistic – she’s an older divorcee and wants to get the house paid off before selling for her retirement nest egg. Everyone’s risk tolerance mileage varies. Some in the Bear Creek area will move and some will repair and go on with their lives. I’m grateful to have pier and beam construction and more renovations on my street than tear-downs, but you’d better believe I pay my flood insurance premium the day it hits my mailbox.

    Another quick flood insurance point difference from homeowners coverage – detached structures have no coverage. A separate policy is needed for the garage, pool house, etc. and any contents therein.

  • Anyone who owns a home in Houston should have flood insurance. We live on a pier and beam home, about two feet above ground level and we took a hit with Allison.

    Does anyone know if Sundown Glen in Katy flooded? I once owned a home ( and lived in it) on Walnut Springs not far off Mayde Creek and it wasn’t then considered to be in a flood plain, but I alway thought it should be.