Hurricane Harvey’s Anniversary
This time last year starting on August 25th and the many days that followed, we were pummeled by elephant and giraffe size rain. The elephant placed its trunk in the Gulf of Mexico, sucked up all the water-filled up some hippopotamus buckets and dumped them on Houston. Before long it looked like the world of Noah except the arks were all anchored. In essence we found ourselves in the riverbeds. Of course, that water had to find its way back to the Gulf-so reclamation was in progress as the Addicks and Barker Cypress dams were released compounding what was already a bad situation.
They called it a category five storm with a high dome pressure that sat over us and stayed and stayed.In the midst of this, one saw the human spirit at its best. Love shone through.
Then came Maria and Irma from South to North whipping and whooping every thing and everyone in The Caribbean leaving no leaves or blades of grass-and sending roofs a flight like birds, kites and feathers.
The high dome pressure cuts like a two edged sword- it prevented us from getting a second dose of punishment like that of Puerto Rico. If we had gotten Hurricane Maria with winds of 185 mph as the Caribbean did, the word catastrophe would not have been adequate to describe what was already a catastrophic event, costing billions of dollars in damages. Waterlogged trees would have toppled like dominoes.
Yesterday August 25th, 2018 a 2.5 billion-dollar – Harris County Flood Control Bond passed overwhelmingly by the voters. It is going to take 10-15 years they say for all the projects that are planned to be accomplished. They are also talking about flood victim buyouts.
Another aspect of what is happening is that some people along Braes Bayou have jacked their houses to a higher level on circular concrete stilts, ”pier”, which is very, very expensive. One wonders if tearing down and rebuilding at the height they wanted would not have been better. But what price would you pay for cherished memories. Yet there are others who are still waiting for FEMA’s assistance. Considering what happened the city bounced back rather well.
Finally, there is a new ordinance to mitigate our webbed and wet footed scenario of last year; for new construction, no longer will home builders be allowed to pour concrete on dirt. At last they will be required to have real foundation and elevation. According to Ian Faria -Houston Construction News-June 2018 page5 “…No more slab on grade construction, a standard in the industry. Requiring foundations to be constructed with pier and beam allows water to pass through and be detained beneath the foundation.”
We had this “water into the house” problem for far too long and this should have been remedied before now. We had to wait for an epic disaster to get things moving.
Considering the topography of the land,there should have been elevation of property from the very beginning. One should have to walk up some steps or stoops before entering into the house.
Why must one stepped off the street and into the house? Why must everything be so flat on the ground?
The change will be realized in the future.