Tuesday September 17th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Houston, We Have A Problem… Adapting To Frequent Severe Floods
We’ve seen this rodeo before. Again and again since I started guyonclimate.com in early 2017 I’ve reported that portions of the Houston metropolitan area have gone underwater from various weather systems, the worst obviously being Harvey during the August of that year. Wikipedia has been doing a better job with storm history. Here is a link to their write up on the particulars of Hurricane Harvey:
Quoting some of their material:
Many locations in the Houston metropolitan area observed at least 30 in (760 mm) of precipitation, with a maximum of 60.58 in (1,539 mm) in Nederland. This makes Harvey the wettest tropical cyclone on record for both Texas and the United States, surpassing the previous rainfall record held by Tropical Storm Amelia. The local National Weather Service office in Houston observed all-time record daily rainfall accumulations on both August 26 and 27, measured at 14.4 in (370 mm) and 16.08 in (408 mm) respectively.
Due to the amount of rain accumulated from Harvey, the National Weather Service added 2 new colors to the rain index representing around 50% of the maximum rainfall dropped by Harvey. Multiple flash flood emergencies were issued in the Houston area by the National Weather Service beginning the night of August 26. In Pearland, a suburb south of Houston, a report was made of 9.92″ of rainfall in 90 minutes. The 39.11 in (993 mm) of rain in August made the month the wettest ever recorded in Houston since record keeping began in 1892, more than doubling the previous record of 19.21 in (488 mm) in June 2001.
More than 48,700 homes were affected by Harvey throughout the state, including over 1,000 that were completely destroyed and more than 17,000 that sustained major damage; approximately 32,000 sustained minor damage. Nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well. Yet the Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 destroyed.[
By now, Dear Diary, the Houston/Galveston area has just experienced a new flood from yet another tropical system dubbed Imelda, dumping better than 20″ near Galveston during overnight hours. These “500-1000 year” floods are happening at or near Houston nearly every year now. The granddaddy of all floods for Houston was Harvey in 2017, and thankfully flooding from Imelda won’t literally measure up to that’s system’s drenching. Nevertheless, Houston must and will adapt to these climate crisis related inundations over the next few decades.
One thing in Houston’s favor is that the bulk of the city lies inland from the coast, so it is not as susceptible to sea level rise as New Orleans or Miami, although eventually towards the year 2100 rising seas will be a big problem if carbon pollution remains unchecked. Houston, on average, lies approximately 30 meters above sea level. The main problem is determining what to do with Buffalo Bayou and a very strained levee system. Engineers will do their best to rectify the situation but at what cost?
People will probably abandon neighborhoods where severe flooding gets frequent, not being able to afford insurance that would allow for rebuilding. Houston may eventually spread out in an arc, encompassing ground in far north, west and east suburbs not so flood prone. The same maybe true for New Orleans, but both cities will fight, not giving up ground to either rising seas or floods. It is human nature not to give into Mother Nature.
Here is more recent news about Imelda:
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
Here are some major “ETs” from Wednesday::
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”