Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, was heavily hit with flash flooding over the Memorial Day weekend. Although floods are relatively common occurrence in Texas, it appears that the Blanco River had crested above 40 feet, which is more than double the flood stage of 13 feet. The severity of the flood in Houston occurred since the water rose so fast in a short amount of time.
Currently, those impacted in the surrounding areas are working on putting the pieces of their lives back together. According to the National Weather Service, more rain is expected with a chance of another storm in the coming six days. Additionally, a river flood warning has been dispatched for Cypress Creek and surrounding areas. Flash flood warnings are still in effect for Harris and Fort Bend counties. Complications of the storm generated tornadoes in parts of Texas in the storm’s aftermath.
The Flood’s Impact
The impact of flooding to the city was particularly devastating since parts of Houston received eleven inches of rainfall in less than six hours.
Twelve people are missing after the storm. Scientists believe that this is the worst storm to affect Texas in more than thirty years. Unfortunately, the geography of Texas’s floodplains does little to afford residents any protection from the elements. 17 people have died as a result of the flood in Texas, damaged 1,400 structures, flooded major throughways, and knocked out power in parts of Texas. The Southwest Wastewater Treatment plant was impacted and resulted in 100,000 gallons of wastewater spilling over.
This storm has affected Texas, Oklahoma and parts of Mexico. Newspaper headlines show the vulnerability of Texans as cars are stranded on Interstate 45. Another contributing factor is the population increase across Texas lending to urban sprawl.
What to do if you have been hit by the flood
If you find yourself in a flash flood, try to get to higher ground as soon as possible. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, do not attempt to stay in the vehicle. If you find that your car is swept into the water and submerged, wait for the vehicle to filled with water, you’ll then be able to open the doors. Stay calm, hold your breath and the doors will open. Swim to the surface. If you are swept into fast moving floodwaters outside of your car, point your feet downstream. You’ll be able to go over obstacles (not under). If you are stranded somewhere above the floodwater, stay there and wait for rescue. Do not attempt to enter the floodwater.