That Place on I-45 North of Downtown Where the Cars Always Seem To Hang Out After It Floods

Flooded Cars on I-45 North at Patton St., Near Northside, Houston, May 26, 2015

If you’re compiling a list of best photo spots for during or after another one of Houston’s every-dozen-years-or-so never-seen-anything-like-it flooding events, you’ll probably want to make room on it for the stretch of I-45 North between the N. Main St. and Patton St. exits. Back in 2001, images of cars and trucks floating along an insta-lake in this same spot made national news. And yesterday, pix of the automotive flotilla pictured above found their way to Facebook feeds and front pages around the globe.

But the low spot just north of Downtown wedged between Brooke Smith and the Near Northside was also a tough place to be when the water started rising, reports the Chronicle‘s Dane Schiller. Drivers found an early morning traffic jam in the rain changed nature quickly: “A surge was coming at them, squeezed by high barrier walls into the confines of the interstate. In less than 15 minutes, there was nothing to do but abandon ship.


Come daylight, Swamplot reader Marc Longoria was on hand to survey the damage:

Flooded Cars on I-45 North at Patton St., Near Northside, Houston, May 26, 2015

Flooded Cars on I-45 North at Patton St., Near Northside, Houston, May 26, 2015

Photos: Marc Longoria

5 Comment

  • Also know as “Insurance job alley”

  • My neighborhood flooded in Allison in 2001, and then again on Monday night. I can’t tell you how many “so much for the 100-year flood plain” comments I heard walking up and down the street.

    What it really means is that it is a flood (or more properly a storm, or my favorite, “rain event”) that has a 1% chance of happening every year. So what that really means is that if you live in the “100 year flood plain” you have a 26% chance of of flooding during your 30 year note. And for many of these areas the 100-year storm on which these maps are based have a 100 years or less of accurate rainfall data.

    A better rule of thumb is to remember: (1) if you live near a bayou and it rains A LOT, you will probably flood at some point. (2) if it’s raining A LOT and the road you are on dips below the grade of the adjacent roads, it’s probably going to flood and (3) if it’s raining A LOT where you are in Houston, you can count on it flooding.

  • Great pics

  • Re the first picture, have we started driving on the left side of the road?

  • @JerseyGirl… indeed! I thought maybe the image had been mirrored horizontally ( ) until I noticed the inspection stickers visible on the correct side of several vehicles.