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Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States (2019)

Chapter: Appendix C: Houston Case Study

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
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Appendix C

Houston Case Study

For the Houston case study, the committee convened a workshop in Houston, Texas, followed by site visits to four Houston locations. Additional information was collected from some participants via telephone interviews. The workshop was structured to gather information from local, state, regional, and federal stakeholders. Participants were divided into small working groups to address four aspects of urban flooding:

  • Physical aspects of urban flooding (built and natural environment),
  • Social aspects of urban flooding (people and institutions),
  • Data and informational aspects of urban flooding (forecasts, maps, demographics), and
  • Actions and decision-making aspects of urban flooding.

Detailed comments from each working group conversation are available at http://nationalacademies.org/Urban-Flooding-Visits.

WORKSHOP AGENDA

Hyatt Regency Houston Galleria
Houston, Texas
July 5, 2017

8:30a.m. Welcome and Introductions
David Maidment, Committee Chair, University of Texas at Austin
Lauren Alexander Augustine, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
8:45 Overview talks about the four aspects of urban flooding
Physical Aspects of Urban Flooding in Houston
Phil Bedient, Rice University
Social Aspects of Urban Flooding in Houston
Saundra Brown, Legal Aid
Informational Aspects of Urban Flooding in Houston
Sam Brody, Texas A&M University
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×
Decision-making and Policies in Houston
Steve Costello, Chief Resilience Officer, Mayor’s Office
10:15 Break
10:30 Group breakout sessions
  • Physical aspects of urban flooding (built and natural environment),
  • Social aspects of urban flooding (people and institutions),
  • Data and informational aspects of urban flooding (forecasts, maps, demographics), and
  • Actions and decision-making aspects of urban flooding (actions taken pre-flood, during flood event, and post-flood).
12:00p.m. Working lunch
1:00 Reports from each group
2:00 Workshop adjourns

SITE VISITS

July 5, 2017

1:00p.m.-5:30 p.m. Site visits
  • South Park/South Crest (1950s development)
  • Sunnyside (1950s)
  • White Heather (1960s)
  • City Park (newer development)
Guides:
Steve Fitzgerald, Chief Engineer, Harris County Flood Control District
Kathlie Bulloch, Managing Engineer, City of Houston

CASE STUDY PARTICIPANTS

The following individuals participated in the workshop, Houston site visits, and/or in subsequent telephone interviews:

David Alamia, Harris County Office of Emergency Management

Sallie Alcorn, Mayor’s Office, City of Houston

Bill Bass, Houston Advanced Research Center

Phil Bedient, Rice University

Dean Bixler, Residents Against Flooding

Saundra Brown, Lone Star Legal Aid

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×

Ed Browne, Residents Against Flooding

Stephen Costello, Mayor’s Office, City of Houston

Siamak Esfandiary, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Jeffry Evans, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Robert Fiederlein, North Houston District

Steve Fitzgerald, Harris County Flood Control District

Bill Fulton, Rice University

Lisa Gonzalez, Houston Advanced Research Center

Josh Gunn, Texas A&M University

Carol Haddock, City of Houston

Allison Hay, Houston Habitat for Humanity

Howard Hillard, City of Houston Public Works

Anthony Holder, AECOM

Deborah January-Bevers, Houston Wilderness

Kathlie Jeng-Bulloch, City of Houston Public Works

Matt Johns, Catholic Charities

Jamila Johnson, City of Houston

Katie Landry-Guyton, NOAA

Alisa Max, Harris County Engineering Department

Cheryl Mergo, Houston-Galveston Area Council

Bruce Nichols, Frostwood Flood Committee

Lynae Novominsky, Jewish Family Service

Christopher Perkins, City of Houston

Ron Pinheiro, Transportation and Drainage Operations

Benjamin Pope, AECOM

Russell Poppe, Harris County Flood Control District

Jayton Rainey, Texas A&M University

Francisco Sanchez, Liaison, Harris County Office of Homeland Security

Joshua Stuckey, Harris County Infrastructure Coordination

Jeff Taebel, Houston-Galveston Area Council

Lagnesh Varshney, City of Houston Public Works

Todd Ward, Harris County

Ed Wolff, Beth Wolff Realtors

Stephanie Wright, United Way of Greater Houston

Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×
Page 79
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×
Page 80
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×
Page 81
Suggested Citation:"Appendix C: Houston Case Study." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25381.
×
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Flooding is the natural hazard with the greatest economic and social impact in the United States, and these impacts are becoming more severe over time. Catastrophic flooding from recent hurricanes, including Superstorm Sandy in New York (2012) and Hurricane Harvey in Houston (2017), caused billions of dollars in property damage, adversely affected millions of people, and damaged the economic well-being of major metropolitan areas. Flooding takes a heavy toll even in years without a named storm or event. Major freshwater flood events from 2004 to 2014 cost an average of $9 billion in direct damage and 71 lives annually. These figures do not include the cumulative costs of frequent, small floods, which can be similar to those of infrequent extreme floods.

Framing the Challenge of Urban Flooding in the United States contributes to existing knowledge by examining real-world examples in specific metropolitan areas. This report identifies commonalities and variances among the case study metropolitan areas in terms of causes, adverse impacts, unexpected problems in recovery, or effective mitigation strategies, as well as key themes of urban flooding. It also relates, as appropriate, causes and actions of urban flooding to existing federal resources or policies.

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