REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Shoutout to Second, part II

POSTED BY: CAPTAINCRUNCH
UPDATED: Monday, August 6, 2018 08:37
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 1989
PAGE 1 of 2

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 2:01 PM

CAPTAINCRUNCH

... stay crunchy...


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/06/climate/flood-toxic-che
micals.html


Floods Are Getting Worse, and 2,500
Chemical Sites Lie in the Water’s Path
By HIROKO TABUCHI, NADJA POPOVICH, BLACKI MIGLIOZZI and ANDREW W. LEHREN FEB. 6, 2018

Anchored in flood-prone areas in every American state are more than 2,500 sites that handle toxic chemicals, a New York Times analysis of federal floodplain and industrial data shows. About 1,400 are located in areas at highest risk of flooding.

As flood danger grows — the consequence of a warming climate — the risk is that there will be more toxic spills like the one that struck Baytown, Tex., where Hurricane Harvey swamped a chemicals plant, releasing lye. Or like the ones at a Florida fertilizer plant that leaked phosphoric acid and an Ohio refinery that released benzene.

Flooding nationwide is likely to worsen because of climate change, an exhaustive scientific report by the federal government warned last year. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency.

At the same time, rising sea levels combined with more frequent and extensive flooding from coastal storms like hurricanes may increase the risk to chemical facilities near waterways.

The Times analysis looked at sites listed in the federal Toxic Release Inventory, which covers more than 21,600 facilities across the country that handle large amounts of toxic chemicals harmful to health or the environment.

Of those sites, more than 1,400 were in locations the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers to have a high risk of flooding. An additional 1,100 sites were in areas of moderate risk. Other industrial complexes lie just outside these defined flood-risk zones, obscuring their vulnerability as flood patterns shift and expand.

The presence of chemical sites in areas vulnerable to flooding is a holdover from an age where the advantages to industry of proximity to rivers and oceans — for transportation and trade, or for a ready supply of cooling water — seemingly outweighed the risks.

“Waterfronts are changing as a result of sea level rise,” said Jeanne Herb, an environmental policy expert at Rutgers University who has researched hazards posed by climate-related flooding to industries in New Jersey. “More often than not, these are facilities are on the water for a reason,” she said. “So how do we make sure that there are protections in place? That’s the big question.”

Federal law does not explicitly require sites in floodplains that handle toxic chemicals to take extra precautions against flooding. Nor do most states or local governments have such requirements.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2015 requiring planners of federally funded buildings, roads and other infrastructure to account for the impact of possible flooding from rising sea levels or more extreme precipitation. President Trump rescinded those rules last year.

The Times analysis focused on facilities on the federal toxic release database, which tracks sites handling chemicals that could be harmful to health and the environment if released. The list does not include properties like Superfund sites or wastewater facilities, or chemical sites where the predominant risks are fire or explosion, as opposed to toxic pollution.

The Times also examined reports of oil and chemical spills tallied by the National Response Center, which is run by the Coast Guard. Companies are required by law to report spills to the N.R.C., although that database has been criticized as incomplete.

Still, the data does provide a glimpse into the thousands of spills that occur across the country each year.

By the time the murky flood waters had receded from the sprawling Chevron Phillips chemical plant in Baytown, 34,000 pounds of sodium hydroxide and 300 pounds of benzene — both highly toxic — had escaped through a damaged valve. The plant, a joint venture between Chevron and Phillips 66, is one of many that filled the region’s streets with a stew of chemicals, debris and waste in the days after Hurricane Harvey and its torrential rains.

Employees later pumped some of the tainted water into 80 steel tanks. But most of the product “was lost in the floodwater,” David Gray, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman based in Dallas, said in an email.

A Chevron Phillips spokesman, Bryce Hallowell, declined to give further details of the spill. He stressed that the plant “was at the center of this incredibly powerful storm.”

The chemical site lies in a moderate-risk flood zone, defined by the government as having a 0.2 percent chance of flooding in any year. It was at least the third time in three years that the Chevron Phillips facility blamed heavy downpours for chemical leaks.

The spills underscore the vulnerability of America’s coastal industries to rising sea levels and extreme weather. This is the case along the Gulf Coast because the country’s oil, gas and petrochemicals industries are concentrated there.

At least 46 facilities reported an estimated 4.6 million pounds of airborne emissions beyond state limits between Aug. 23 and Aug. 30, 2017, the week spanning Harvey’s approach and landfall in Texas. The Chevron Phillips plant also reported one of the largest Harvey-related emissions of chemicals into the air.

But even as flooding risks increase, chemical companies continue to build in vulnerable areas. A boom in plastics manufacturing has brought billions of dollars of investment to the Gulf shoreline. The Chevron Phillips site had been in the midst of adding a new $6 billion ethane processor, one of the biggest investments in the Gulf’s fast-growing petrochemicals industry.

Despite repeated flooding, the chemicals manufacturer still considered the site, at Cedar Bayou, to be “the optimal location” for its new ethane facility, Mr. Hallowell said. He declined to detail protections that have been considered or installed, or whether they were designed to withstand future floods.

When Tropical Storm Debby brought torrential rain to north and central Florida in mid-2012, it triggered a release of phosphoric acid from a chemical plant in White Springs that produces phosphates, which are used to make fertilizer.

Flooding knocked out the power supply to its pumping system, causing water mixed with chemicals to spill into a storm-retention pond, which eventually also overflowed into a creek that feeds the Suwannee River. Released in large quantities into the environment, phosphates and phosphoric acid can cause uncontrolled algae and duckweed growth, causing oxygen levels in lakes and rivers to drop precipitously.

“It was like the biblical flood,” said Mike Williams, a spokesman for Nutrien, which runs the phosphates plant in an area dotted with high-risk flood zones, defined by the government as having a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year. The plant had prepared for the storm by lowering water levels at the ponds, but the flooding was “well off the charts,” he said.

Since then, the plant has invested in pumps and backup generators that would allow it to more effectively control excess flood water. Still, “the lesson learned is that every now and then there will be something that’s more than we planned for,” Mr. Williams said.

Floods, and the risks they pose to industrial sites, are not confined to the coasts or even to areas the government considers flood-prone.

Record-breaking rains brought flooding to wide swaths of Alabama in May, inundating storage ponds at a Sabic Innovative Plastics plant on the banks of the Alabama River. About 4,500 pounds of sodium hydroxide escaped into a tributary.

The same plant, which is not on land considered flood-prone under federal guidelines, had flooded in 2011, releasing 125 gallons of tetrachloroethylene, according to a cleanup agreement reached with regulators. Tetrachloroethylene is a carcinogen and can affect the nervous system.

Shelia Naab, a Sabic spokeswoman, said the plant had been inundated with “extraordinarily high levels of rain in a very short period of time” and that levels in its ponds had reached unprecedented levels. “We do not believe there was a significant environmental impact as a result of this incident,” she said. The plant has since updated a stormwater bypass that stops rainwater from overrunning its storage ponds, she said.

The flooding at Sabic underscores how floodplain designations may be increasingly outdated as rains intensify and weather patterns change.

Heavy rains in northern Ohio in June 2015 inundated Toledo Refining, near the banks of the Maumee River, causing a leak of several million gallons of wastewater from its treatment ponds. The site, run by PBF Energy, one of the country’s largest suppliers of transportation fuels and heating oil, also reported a release of benzene.

James Lee, a spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the leak was not thought to have reached major bodies of water. Toledo Refining did not respond to requests for comment.

“Companies need to think carefully about the risks of flood, and the increased risks from climate change,” said Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Saying ‘We’ve always done it this way’ doesn’t work anymore.”

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:47 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by captaincrunch:

By the time the murky flood waters had receded from the sprawling Chevron Phillips chemical plant in Baytown, 34,000 pounds of sodium hydroxide and 300 pounds of benzene — both highly toxic — had escaped through a damaged valve. The plant, a joint venture between Chevron and Phillips 66, is one of many that filled the region’s streets with a stew of chemicals, debris and waste in the days after Hurricane Harvey and its torrential rains.

Employees later pumped some of the tainted water into 80 steel tanks. But most of the product “was lost in the floodwater,” David Gray, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesman based in Dallas, said in an email.

A Chevron Phillips spokesman, Bryce Hallowell, declined to give further details of the spill. He stressed that the plant “was at the center of this incredibly powerful storm.”

The chemical site lies in a moderate-risk flood zone, defined by the government as having a 0.2 percent chance of flooding in any year. It was at least the third time in three years that the Chevron Phillips facility blamed heavy downpours for chemical leaks.

The spills underscore the vulnerability of America’s coastal industries to rising sea levels and extreme weather. This is the case along the Gulf Coast because the country’s oil, gas and petrochemicals industries are concentrated there.

That plant is at a bend in Cedar Bayou. During the flood the bayou didn't follow the bend, instead it took a shortcut across the plant.
http://bit.ly/2Eq4nR8

There is something called the Ike Dike, which hasn't been built because a bunch of whiny little Republican cheapskates say "that it is simply too expensive (some estimates place the cost between $3 billion and $4 billion) and its efficacy is not established." Too bad it will never get built in time to prevent a hundred billion in eventual hurricane damage. But think of all the money that was saved by not building it! 4 billion!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ike_Dike

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 7:12 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Disaster relief back on the table as part of budget deal in Congress

By Kevin Diaz, February 7, 2018 10:57pm
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Disaster-relief-b
ack-on-the-table-as-part-of-12559929.php


WASHINGTON – A major budget deal brokered by Senate leaders Wednesday was a long time coming, but it could sweeten the pot for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters.

The Senate agreement could provide nearly $90 billion in aid for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other states and territories hit by storms and wildfires. That would be about a 10 percent bump from the $81 billion disaster aid package passed in December by the House.

While the Senate package contains more relief dollars, it is still not as much as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and lawmakers in other storm hit areas would like.

Texas officials have estimated the damage from Harvey at upwards of $120 billion, and the new disaster bill, like an earlier $35 billion appropriation, directs resources to all of the disaster regions, including Florida and Puerto Rico.

Altogether, Congress has approved about $50 billion in aid so far to help in the recovery from Harvey and other natural calamities in 2017. The latest funding proposal would bring that up to $140 billion.

Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, has pushed for more money to be directed to Texas and the Gulf region hit by Harvey, though he did not publicly specify an amount.

In a floor speech Wednesday, Cornyn called the budget agreement "long overdue," saying the new aid package would "strengthen" the House-passed disaster bill.

Houston Republican John Culberson, who helped craft the House-passed disaster bill in December, said the additional spending in the Senate package could be a boon both for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local property owners.

"That would mean property owners would get relief much more quickly and the Corps will have the money they need to finish every federally authorized flood control project in Harris County," he said


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 12:07 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Good idea starting this thread G. Second must have lost his bookmark to the first one since it finally fell off the front RWED page after 6 months of him virtue signalling to himself on a daily basis. Let's see if he can keep this one on top until 2019!

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 12:33 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Good idea starting this thread G. Second must have lost his bookmark to the first one since it finally fell off the front RWED page after 6 months of him virtue signalling to himself on a daily basis. Let's see if he can keep this one on top until 2019!

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Wrong again, 6ix! The first thread ("Shout out to Second - hope you are doing well") disappeared on January 26th in a database error: http://fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?bid=18&tid=61883

And what is 6ixStringJack signaling? ("after 6 months of him virtue signalling to himself on a daily basis") That he's free floating soul, detached from a natural disaster that will repeat at irregular intervals until the American political process finally pays to prevent future disasters? I remember many occasions when 6ix whined about the cost, without ever taking note the damage was many times the cost that could have prevented the damage from ever happening.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 1:46 PM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Second must have lost his bookmark to the first one since it finally fell off the front RWED page after 6 months of him virtue signalling



You haven't seen the Black Mirror episode The Black Museum yet, have you?

Lemme know when you do.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 6:10 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by Wishimay:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Second must have lost his bookmark to the first one since it finally fell off the front RWED page after 6 months of him virtue signalling



You haven't seen the Black Mirror episode The Black Museum yet, have you?

Lemme know when you do.



No I haven't. Color me intrigued.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 8:22 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Wishimay:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Second must have lost his bookmark to the first one since it finally fell off the front RWED page after 6 months of him virtue signalling



You haven't seen the Black Mirror episode The Black Museum yet, have you?

Lemme know when you do.

From The Black Museum plot synopsis: Parker grew tired of the stuffed toy and abandoned it, with Carrie’s consciousness trapped inside. The transfer of Carrie into the stuffed monkey was declared illegal. Carrie is still inside the stuffed monkey, since it is also illegal to delete her. When Fireflyfans.net gets deleted permanently, it won't be a crime or even a minor tragedy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Museum_(Black_Mirror)#Plot

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 8:32 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Not reading it, but thanks for trying to spoil it for me!

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, February 8, 2018 8:34 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Not reading it, but thanks for trying to spoil it for me!

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Then watch it:

https://thepiratebay.org/search/Black%20Mirror%20PSA/0/99/0

It is the final episode of Season 4. Episode 6. And what plot I summarized is not even a tenth of what happens in that episode.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:17 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


County officials don't see a need to complete flood projects. They are the exact same people who don't even want to add fire safety to their buildings.

www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Houston-Fire-Marshal-sounds-t
he-alarm-on-12559168.php


The former Harris County jail — now used for county offices that are open to the public — has been flagged for fire code violations by the Houston Fire Marshal, the second county building this week to come under scrutiny for safety violations.

Red warning stickers were posted on the glass entry doors to the former jail this week after the Houston Chronicle began questioning safety at the nearby Harris County Family Law Center, a building that was pressed into service after Hurricane Harvey despite not having sprinkler systems or sufficient exits.

The former jail, at 1301 Franklin, does not have a sprinkler system either. Although it has long housed a small office for the district clerk, additional workers were moved in from the district attorney’s and public defender’s offices after Hurricane Harvey devastated other county buildings.

“WARNING,” the red signs state. “This building is not code compliant with Houston Fire Code 2012.”

Code 2012 requires sprinkler systems and fire alarms in public buildings above a certain height.

City and county officials have steadfastly maintained the law center and the jail are safe.

“The official position of the HFD is that the City of Houston and Harris County officials have worked closely on this issue to assure public safety and to continue providing critical governmental services during the recovery phase from Tropical Storm Harvey,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said in a statement.

But fire marshals continue to post warning stickers and insist that fire monitors walk the halls of the buildings and schedule special training sessions to develop fire-fighting strategies. On Wednesday, three district chiefs and their crews examined the seven floors of the Family Law Center, at 1115 Congress near San Jacinto, and scheduled a return trip Saturday to map out a strategy.

People who use the buildings said the heightened awareness was overdue, especially at the family law courthouse, which now houses 16 misdemeanor courts and is often packed when courts are in session.

“Of course I’m concerned — this is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Tucker Graves, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. “I know we had to go somewhere, but that probably wasn’t the place to go. That place was supposed to be torn down.”

Graves said he is worried the dangerous conditions will continue until 2019, when the 20-story Criminal Justice Center can be reopened after damage from Hurricane Harvey is repaired.

The Family Law Center had been slated for demolition and only a few offices remained. The courts and other offices were moved in after Harvey.
-----
There is no authority to red tag the entire county, like the Fire Dept did a building, telling the county it has a flooding problem it needs to fix now, not put off year after year because, you know, major floods are even rarer than major building fires. This building has never had a major fire. Why fix what ain't broken?

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:39 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Nearly six months after Harvey, traction made for potential solutions to Houston's chronic flooding
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Nearly-six
-months-after-Harvey-some-traction-for-12567647.php


AUSTIN - Local and state leaders are moving toward a major, lengthy and costly overhaul of the region's flood defenses that includes regulating development, massive buyouts of flood-prone properties and flood-prevention projects that have been discussed for decades but never built.

Few of the initiatives will be complete before hurricane season starts in June, but nearly six months after Hurricane Harvey ripped through the Texas Gulf Coast and devastated the nation's fourth-largest city, leaders are seeking to address long-ignored shortcomings laid bare by one of the most intense rainstorms in U.S. history.

Gov. Greg Abbott says he can write a check for a third reservoir to better protect areas west of Houston from inundation as well as attempt to avoid the types of releases from Addicks and Barker dams that swamped Houston downstream during Harvey.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wants to join Harris County in strengthening regulation on the region's rapid development to protect the city's population from floodwaters and alleviate the burden on taxpayers to repair and rebuild flood-prone properties.

Harris County leaders want a major bond issue - and a corresponding increase in property taxes - this year to pay for bayou drainage projects and, possibly, broad buyouts in flood-prone areas.

There's also broad support for legislation that would require buyers of property in reservoir flood pools, which are dry much of the time, to be notified of flooding risks; 30,000 homes have been built in the flood pools of Addicks and Barker, and many owners say they had no idea they were living in an area designed to hold water during times of heavy rain. More than 9,000 of those homes flooded during Harvey.

Some of the local response has been slowed as officials waited to see what Congress will be willing to fund, a logjam that started to break late in the week with the approval of nearly $90 billion for victims of this year's storms and natural disasters - much of it for recovery, not prevention. But state and local officials tell the Houston Chronicle they remain committed to broader improvements.

"I don't think we can stop future rain from coming down," Abbott said on a dry day earlier this month. "I do think we can rebuild this larger Harris County area in a way that will gather water and redirect water and expedite the flow of water in ways that will greatly reduce flooding."

In December, the Chronicle published "Developing Storm," a seven-part series that showed how the actions - and inaction - of the region's leaders had magnified the impact of Harvey through lax regulation of development and failure to fund prevention projects. Officials in the Netherlands, known for their flood-prevention success, said that while major programs can take decades to complete, the window to get the work started after a major disaster lasts about a year.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, February 12, 2018 6:35 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


After Harvey, the majority still opposes more taxes for flood control projects.
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/After-Harv
ey-slight-majority-still-opposes-more-12605690.php


Support for higher taxes varied based on hypothetical amounts. The survey found that 19 percent would pay $12 more in property tax each year; 12 percent would pay $25 more; 15 percent would pay an extra $50. But 46 percent were unwilling to pay any additional tax. Eight percent didn't respond.

46 percent of Anglo Republicans, compared to 20 percent of Anglo Democrats, opposed any property tax increase. And many state Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, are pressing for property tax reductions.



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 7:23 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


The first half of an anticipated $1 billion in federal grants to harden the Texas coast for future storms through infrastructure projects, home buyouts or elevations and other efforts is up for grabs, state officials announced Tuesday.

Houston, Harris County and others will need to compete for the funds and will need to provide a 25 percent match, with FEMA covering 75 percent of each project.

The mitigation dollars can be used broadly for drainage projects, reservoirs, detention basins, seawalls and channel improvements, as well as more targeted programs such as home buyouts and elevations.

www.chron.com/news/politics/houston/article/Houston-Harris-County-coul
d-target-buyouts-home-12611367.php


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, February 23, 2018 12:33 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


A crash course in levees and the next Hurricane Harvey
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/fort-bend-
county-texas-levee-district-harvey-12669351.php


A land developer purchases land that floods. How can he (and his lawyer) legally cheat the future homeowners out of their money? He knows that he is selling them houses that can flood. Obviously, he misleads them about the flood risk.

The land developer tells the home owners that they won’t flood (unless the flood is more than a once per 100 year event, an addendum and caveat by the lawyer in the fine print of the contract) because he built a levee around the flood plain. The sneaky part is the land developer never pays for the levee. That would reduce his profit, which is very un-American. Instead, only the home owners pay.

Hurricane Harvey had exposed the limits of Riverstone's levee system and others across Fort Bend County. Together, they safeguard one-fifth of the county's population and $21.5 billion worth of property. Some 1,000 levee-protected homes flooded during the storm, including about one-third of the 1,760 homes in Levee Improvement District 19 or LID 19.

Before then, many Riverstone residents knew little or nothing about the levee; it was just a line on their property tax bill. After Harvey, they realized their safety depended on it.

* * *

LIDs are a vehicle to finance construction and maintenance of a levee so that homes can be built in a low-lying area exposed to flooding. Developers are the ones who push to establish levee districts.

To form LID 19, attorneys for Johnson Development submitted to the county a four-signature petition (representing the owners of a majority of the land), an engineering report and a $50 check. Fort Bend County commissioners approved the LID's creation.

A LID has legal authority to issue bonds, and residents pay taxes to retire the bond debt over time. In LID 19, taxes average $2,600 per year per household. The land developer? He paid $50, one time only.

LID 19 has $33.7 million in outstanding debt. This money did not come from the land developer.

LID 19 had $667,000 in hurricane expenses, including the cost of renting extra pumps and paying overtime to levee workers. The land developer? He paid nothing.

The county's levee systems pay annual dues to hire lobbyists to fight any move in Washington to require flood insurance for people who live behind levees. Such a move could make communities like Riverstone less profitable for land developers if home buyers were forced to understand that their houses will flood. In addition to LID taxes, homeowners would have to pay flood insurance premiums. Being forced to pay the premiums might force some of the smarter home owners to understand they bought a house that floods.

The levee itself is a grass-covered clay hill. It has floodgates that close when the Brazos is high and pumps that force out rainwater when it can't drain through the gates. It is no guarantee against flooding.

"Given enough time, any levee will eventually be overtopped or damaged by a flood that exceeds the levee's capacity," states a brochure published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Levees in Fort Bend County were engineered to defend against a once-in-100-years storm. Harvey was much worse than that.

During the deluge, LID 19's pumps couldn't churn fast enough to keep water from pouring into homes. For a time, the Brazos threatened to overtop the levee.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 6:59 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Army Corps predicted Addicks and Barker flood pool lawsuits, decided not to act
By Mihir Zaveri February 27, 2018
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Army-Corps-pred
icted-Addicks-and-Barker-flood-12714844.php


More than two decades ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that property owners in the reservoir pools of Addicks and Barker dams might sue the Corps if they were flooded but had a slim likelihood of success, a conclusion that supported decisions not to pursue upgrades to the aging dams at the time, a Corps document shows.

The analysis, laid out in a previously undisclosed 11-page document entitled “Addicks and Barker Reservoirs Legal Takings Analysis,” shows that the Corps was cognizant that it could be sued, and that “Given the nature of the expensive homes that would be flooded and the quality of legal representation these owners could afford, there is always the possibility of an adverse ruling.”

Documents, however, show the Corps officials believed that a storm that could spill into homes would be so rare and irregular that it did not necessitate retrofitting the dams to avoid the potential flooding and litigation, despite mounting evidence that the dams increasingly were being constrained on both sides by the Houston area’s rapid development — increasing the amount of water they were being forced to hold back while decreasing the amount that could be released safely.

The document and the Corps’ conclusions have raised new questions after Hurricane Harvey, when the storm’s floodwaters filled the Barker and Addicks reservoirs and backed up beyond government-owned land, flooding more than 9,000 homes and businesses. Many homeowners now are suing the Corps for compensation.

Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer not involved in the litigation against the Corps after Harvey, said while case law may have changed since the Corps’ analysis, even in favor of property owners suing the federal government, the document shows that the Corps had “concern and reflection” about the potential of flooding property owners and being sued.

“It shows that the Corps clearly understood that takings, flooding property both upstream and downstream, was a real potential associated with the operation of Addicks and Barker,” said Blackburn, co-director of Rice University’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center.

Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University who has written extensively about legal takings and penned a piece analyzing the Addicks and Barker cases, said in an interview Tuesday that the document could reinforce the property owners’ claims that the Corps was aware of the consequence of its actions during Harvey.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that Corps documents generally show they “analyzed the problem, they’ve correctly identified the problem, they know about the problem, and they decide again and again and again to do nothing and accept the risk of litigation,” said Charles Irvine, a co-lead attorney representing property owners flooded upstream of Addicks and Barker during Harvey.

“The decision was rather than pay now, we’ll pay later,” said Daniel Charest, another co-lead attorney on the case.

Irvine and Charest declined to comment specifically on the 1995 legal analysis obtained by the Houston Chronicle in a public records request, saying it would not be appropriate to comment on the document because the government claimed it was protected by attorney-client privilege.

An Army Corps spokesman referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice. A Justice Department spokesman declined comment, citing the pending lawsuits.

Addicks and Barker Dams were built by the Corps in the 1940s, 15 miles west of Houston city limits to hold back storm runoff and protect Houston below the dams from flooding.

During heavy storms, water builds up in the reservoirs, which is called the “flood pool.” The reservoirs are not bounded by walls or banks, so in an extreme storm, the flood pool can extend into the residential neighborhoods that were built in and around the reservoirs in recent decades.

The disclosure of the legal analysis comes on the heels of another report published in the Chronicle last week that showed that, in the days before Harvey hit the Houston region with full force, Corps forecasts showed that Barker and Addicks would flood subdivisions upstream of the reservoirs, raising questions of whether property owners around the reservoirs could have been alerted to the danger sooner.

The Chronicle published an article last December as part of its series Developing Storm showing that for years, experts outlined problems with the dams and identified potential remedies but each time, decision makers concluded that the situation was not bad enough to justify major corrective measures.

One of those reports shows that, based in part on the legal analysis, the Corps in 1995 decided against pursuing plans to build a third reservoir, excavating Barker and Addicks deeper, building channels to carry water out of the reservoirs in the event of a severe storm or buying out homes upstream or downstream, because the cost could not be justified.

All of those solutions have been proposed again in Harvey’s wake.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said Wednesday that the county still is trying to figure out when and how much federal money would flow to local projects, after Congress approved billions of dollars for disaster relief in a budget bill earlier this month. That bill could provide funding for a study to improve the Addicks and Barker dams, which could lead to construction of a third reservoir.

The 1995 legal analysis examines liability with respect to both upstream and downstream flooding. It states that downstream, the dams have provided greater protection than if they did not exist, but upstream, they could induce flooding that otherwise would not have occurred.

However, it states that the government bought enough land upstream of the dams that “it appears that the United States has little potential for liability under current conditions at Addicks and Barker.”

It further states that “it is prudent to look at options to further reduce the potential for flooding valuable improved land” and that the county should “make sure owners, future developers, and future buyers are put on notice that they are in a reservoir.”

Many of those flooded during Harvey said they did not know their homes were built in a reservoir.

Corps officials, in the past, have asserted that they held a number of workshops and seminars to educate property owners about the risks of living near the dams.

They also have said their actions during Harvey, which included releasing torrents of water into Buffalo Bayou that swamped thousands of homes downstream, were conducted to safeguard the integrity of the dams. A dam breach could result in thousands dead and dozens of neighborhoods, downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center under water, according to Corps projection scenarios.

“Even if they have a good reason, that doesn’t get them off the hook for compensation,” Somin said.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 2, 2018 8:31 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Investigate Harvey
www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Why-Congress-needs
-to-investigate-what-happened-12721426.php

Updated: March 1, 2018 8:12pm

A congressional probe is needed to thoroughly review Houston’s greatest disaster.
What did the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers know, and when did it know it?

That’s a good starting point for congressional investigators probing the catastrophe that befell the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast.

This editorial page originally called for a congressional inquiry last fall, less than a month after the storm. Now U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, the Houston-area Republican congressman who serves as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has announced he will hold hearings into some new revelations reported by the Chronicle this week about what the Army Corps knew in the hours before Harvey.

That’s welcome news, but we would urge the committee members to broaden their focus and look beyond the Corps. We need a definitive study of all of the events surrounding this disaster, particularly how decisions made by local, state and federal officials affected people living in the storm’s path.

What we’ve learned lately has only amplified the need for this investigation. The Chronicle’s Lise Olsen reported this week that Corps officials delayed disclosing an internal forecast predicting the storm would fill the two reservoirs and flood nearby neighborhoods. On Thursday, Aug. 24, the Corps projected that Barker Reservoir would spill beyond government-owned land. On Friday there was a similar dire prediction about the Addicks Reservoir. But it wasn’t until Saturday that authorities in Fort Bend County, after a briefing on the latest Corps forecast, issued the first flood advisory for neighborhoods next to Barker. And it wasn’t until Sunday that Harris County officials began issuing similar warnings for subdivisions upstream from both of the reservoirs.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle’s Mihir Zaveri reported that documents drawn up more than two decades ago show the Army Corps analyzed the legal risk it would face if homes flooded in the reservoir pools of the Addicks and Barker dams. The analysis basically concluded the people who could afford those expensive houses could also afford expensive lawyers, so the government could end up losing lawsuits filed by flood victims. But Corps officials decided storms that could flood homes would happen so rarely they didn’t need to retrofit the dams. That decision came despite evidence that real estate developments were raising the amount of water behind the dams and lowering the amount of water they could safely release.

So it’s abundantly clear that the chain of events contributing to this disaster began years before the storm crossed the coastline. That’s only one of many areas of inquiry McCaul’s committee should explore.

We need to know whether the dams protecting Houston are safe. Corps officials were worried about the prospect of a catastrophic dam failure that could have killed thousands of people, but we have no idea how close the Houston area came to such a calamity and how the Corps can ensure we never come that close again.

We need to know whether the Corps was justified in releasing water from the reservoirs during the storm. Given the dire consequences of a dam failure, that may well have been the right decision, but any questions about it should be definitively answered in a congressional review.

We need to know why so many people living around the reservoirs were caught by surprise when their homes began flooding; local officials concede there has to be a better way to warn people before the water starts rising in their neighborhoods.

In short, we need an exhaustive and thorough report on what happened in the Houston area before, during and after Hurricane Harvey. Indeed, it’s fair to ask how our congressional delegation itself has fallen short on the job of mitigating flooding danger in the decades before this disaster. We’re counting on a congressional investigation to comprehensively detail what went wrong during Hurricane Harvey and outline what we need to do before the next storm strikes.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 5, 2018 9:19 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


In Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, public officials have coalesced around quickly completing the projects on Brays, Hunting and White Oak bayous and Clear Creek — miles of widening, straightening and deepening, as well as digging out numerous detention basins that will keep significantly more rain and runoff within the waterways’ banks and out of thousands of flood-prone homes.

The projects, all partnerships between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Harris County Flood Control District, total nearly $1 billion. They are decades in the making, as each has been slowed or paused due to federal funding that has ranged from inconsistent to nonexistent.

Momentum built in February to finish the projects after Congress appropriated $10.4 billion in money for the Corps specifically for flood control projects in disaster-affected areas, like Harris County. If all four projects are fully funded, as some hope they now will be, the district estimates it could finish Brays, White Oak and Hunting bayous within five years, and expects the Corps to finish Clear Creek in five to 10 years.

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Despite-massive
-projects-to-upgrade-Houston-12725685.php

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, March 5, 2018 9:22 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Nice.

I wonder what they'll owe the Federal Government for that 10 Billion.

There's no free lunches.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 11:26 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Nice.

I wonder what they'll owe the Federal Government for that 10 Billion.

There's no free lunches.

Here is another plan that would cost $10 billion. Funny about how similar the numbers are. It's as if 10 billion is biggest number they can think of:

The floodplains work — if only we didn't develop in them
John S. Jacob, March 5, 2018
www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/The-floodplains-wo
rk-if-only-we-didn-t-12728492.php


Flooding during Harvey was not a random occurrence. Heavy rainfall — averaging 35 inches in Harris County— was widespread, but the flooding was not. The deepest flooding, the kind where rescue boats were needed, was where the bayous and creeks overflowed their banks and flooded the adjacent low-lying areas.

There were also many areas that flooded as a result of poorly maintained or designed urban drainage systems. But these were a small fraction of the overall flooding.

Those low-lying areas are the natural floodplains excavated by our bayous and creeks over many thousands of years. It flooded here long before we, or even the Karankawa, ever showed up. Over the millennia, the bayous naturally widened their valleys, or floodplains, to where the system could easily absorb a storm like Harvey.

That system is still here — and it handled Harvey very well. We were the ones who didn't handle it well. If we had not given over most of our floodplains to development, Harvey would still have caused us grief — but it would not have been much more than a nuisance. We would have had to stay home for 2 or 3 days, but we would have avoided a great deal of trauma.

It seems we have never been content to let this natural system work for us. For some, those wide, natural floodplains were just too much land to allow to sit there without making any money. So when we widened channels, or put substantial retention basins upstream, we didn't leave a buffer of unoccupied land beyond what we considered to be the reduced floodplains. We built right up to the edge of our "new and improved floodplains." We didn't think we would ever get more than a 100-year event.

Now we know different.

Harvey was an unimaginable storm. Now we know we were sorely lacking in imagination. But it is not so hard to imagine another Harvey. Can we imagine that the infrastructure we have built, and continue to build, to handle 100-year storms will handle another Harvey? We are not even sure how to label Harvey — was it a 1000-year storm? A 50,000-year storm? Maybe we should just call it a BFS — big freaking storm.

Reclaiming the floodplains will be painful. This will hurt some neighborhoods. How many homes overall might need to be bought out? Some estimates suggest that 100,000 homes were damaged by Harvey, but let's say 50,000 were as a minimum. At $200,000 each, that would be $10 billion dollars. A sizeable amount, but an amount that could be easily amortized over 50 years. But there will be a payoff, a payoff well beyond the avoided costs of flooded structures in future storms.

The larger payoff would be the interlacing of vibrant green and urban corridors across all sectors of our metropolis. All of us would then live close to wide open green spaces . . .

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 9:28 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Obviously money shouldn't be spent rebuilding in flood planes.

If they really want to do something meaningful, now would be the time to lock up anybody involved in ignoring those flood planes and costing American taxpayers 10 billion dollars. Politicians, lobbyists, builders, etc.

Lock them up and try to recover as much of that 10 billion as they can from the people who profited from it.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 2:06 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Obviously money shouldn't be spent rebuilding in flood planes.

If they really want to do something meaningful, now would be the time to lock up anybody involved in ignoring those flood planes and costing American taxpayers 10 billion dollars. Politicians, lobbyists, builders, etc.

Lock them up and try to recover as much of that 10 billion as they can from the people who profited from it.

Very forceful thinking, 6ix, but before the government can start locking up land developers and home-owners in the flood plain, the first step is to make it illegal to build in the flood plain or to sell your house in the flood plain to a sucker. There is a problem with making it illegal. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution includes a provision known as the Takings Clause, which states that "private property shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Two Supreme Court decisions offer clear guidance on situations that will categorically constitute a taking. In one decision, the Court held that regulations that deprive a person of all ability to develop or utilize his or her property for any economic purposes goes too far and requires just compensation.
www.progressivereform.org/perspTakings.cfm

In Texas that amendment has been used time after time to thwart local regulations about building. It seems like the quick, easy, and cheap way, but I don't think locking up land developers, who usually have very competent lawyers aware of the Takings Clause, will work. They will be stopped the hard and expensive way: by the government paying them a huge price for the land and any buildings in the flood plain.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 8:26 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


I don't know how things are done in Texas regarding flood planes, but in Illinois and Indiana, at least in the counties somewhat surrounding Chicago, you are unable to knock down and rebuild a home on land that is deemed a flood plane. You can rehab an existing dwelling to your heart's content, but if the home falls into such disrepair that the foundation is no good anymore than your land is pretty much worthless.

I do see the problem with this, as much as I agree that it should be this way. Because I bought my home with cash, I wasn't aware it was on a flood plane with no bank to force FEMA insurance on me. The bank selling it to me was under no obligation to reveal that, and I thought I did my due diligence when I was looking at tax property cards and the one for this house said that it wasn't on a flood plane.

Fortunately, the house and foundation is sound, so that's pretty much moot. But if I were hit by a tornado and it was destroyed, I'm not exactly sure what my homeowners insurance would do. I'd likely be relocated. God knows where. Kind of scary to think about, honestly.




I'm not really talking about home owners selling their homes to other people here. So long as the people buying them know what they're getting into, I think that's fair. I'm talking more about land developers.

Although I also understand that this is a problem...


My suggestion, so that the land owners of flood plane land don't get wiped out, is to find alternative uses for that land. Maybe they could build solar and wind farms on the land instead of houses?

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 8, 2018 6:24 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

My suggestion, so that the land owners of flood plane land don't get wiped out, is to find alternative uses for that land. Maybe they could build solar and wind farms on the land instead of houses?

In the Kingwood subdivision of Houston, the whole area would be of better use to sand miners than for renewable energy. There are sand pits all around that area. Houses should have never been built there. The next story talks about dredging the sand out of the river to protect the houses from more flooding. Here is a map: https://goo.gl/maps/oZVaSG1a1Qq Most of the area close to the river is still green forest or golf courses, with some obvious sand pits in the forest, but one land-developer decided to build Kingwood in the flood plain.

There are new floodable houses being built as recently as 2015: Kingwood developer plans 500-acre expansion in northeast suburb
www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2015/08/kingwood-developer-pl
ans-500acre-expansion-in.html

Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

I'm not really talking about home owners selling their homes to other people here. So long as the people buying them know what they're getting into, I think that's fair. I'm talking more about land developers.

Although I also understand that this is a problem...

Personally, a home-owner who resells to the next sucker is even worse than a land-developer who sells to the first sucker. The land-developer can truthfully tell the salesmen that the house never flooded, while the home-owner knows for certain it does flood.

I have read stories about flooded homes in Kingwood being resold to new suckers. The homeowners want to speed up that process of swindling the next generation and the best way is to get Harris County involved. Nobody in the following story will admit to what they are really doing to the next guy. Instead, they give fake explanations, while hiding their real motivation to make the maximum amount of money reselling a flooded house and to hell with the next sucker. Besides, another Harvey might not ever happen, they tell themselves.

Dredging San Jacinto River for flood protection a ‘priority,’ officials say

By Mike Snyder
Updated: March 7, 2018 11:32pm
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Dredging-San-Jacinto-River-for-f
lood-protection-a-12736746.php


Houston and Harris County officials are pursuing the removal of sediment from the San Jacinto River as a “top priority,” citing an urgent need to protect communities near Lake Houston from a repeat of the calamitous flooding they endured during Hurricane Harvey.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said he has spoken to state officials about potential funding of a dredging project that would increase the river’s capacity to hold floodwaters. A planned county flood control bond issue is another possible funding source, Emmett said.

“This needs to become a top priority project,” Emmett said in an interview this week.

Mayor Sylvester Turner offered similar assurances to several hundred residents at a community meeting in Kingwood Tuesday night. Turner said he had spoken to Gov. Greg Abbott earlier Tuesday about the pressing need to remove sediment from the river.

“We talked about the dredging issue and dealing with that in real time instead of putting it off for years and years and years,” Turner said. The mayor said he hopes dredging can commence within about a month.

The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that many Lake Houston-area residents and community leaders were concerned that their needs had not been given enough priority in post-Harvey discussions about flood protection. The vulnerability of these communities was underscored last week, when the San Jacinto rose out of its banks in Kingwood after a storm that dropped less than a half-inch of rain.

“I can imagine the anxiety that created,” Turner said.

More than 16,000 homes and 3,300 businesses in Kingwood, Humble and other towns and developments near Lake Houston were damaged by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The damage was worsened by sedimentation, some of it linked to nearby sand mines, that dramatically reduced the capacity of the river and lake to hold floodwaters.

The scope of the sand mining operations is enormous, and involves clearing vegetation from large areas of the riverbank and extracting sand from open pits. Many residents and elected officials say sand mining operations dump huge quantities of sand into the river when it rises, although an industry spokesman said this relationship has not been sufficiently studied.

State officials have identified 16 mining facilities on the east and west forks of the San Jacinto that were active around the time that Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25. Research by the nonprofit Bayou Land Conservancy found that about a quarter of the floodplain along the west fork had been excavated for sand mining.

Removing sand from the river, Turner and others said, would be pointless unless steps are taken to deal with the source of the sedimentation.

“We can dredge today, but if the sand mining continues, we’re just dredging today to dredge again,” Turner said.

In addition to dredging, Turner said the city is seeking funds to add 10 gates to facilitate the release of water from the Lake Houston dam. This could help to eliminate a bottleneck created when the Lake Conroe dam, which has more gates, releases water too quickly for the Lake Houston dam to keep up.

Bob Rehak, a longtime Kingwood resident who has been active in efforts to protect the community from flooding, said he was pleased at the statements by the mayor and the county judge.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” said Rehak, who attended the Tuesday night meeting. However, he said he was concerned that discussion of dredging seemed to focus solely on the river’s west fork.

“What about the east fork?” he asked. “They apparently weren’t aware that the sanding there was as bad if not worse as it is on the west fork.”

Any dredging should be done in a way that considers the potential environmental impacts, said Matthew Berg, a hydrologist with Simfero Consultants. Digging up sediment can re-suspend pollutants that may have drifted down from upstream, he said.

“The San Jacinto River doesn’t have a tremendous reputation for a legacy of purity,” said Berg, a board member of the nonprofit Bayou Land Conservancy. “Heavy stuff from manufacturing processes can sink to the bottom.”

Berg recommended core sampling and containment measures to ensure that any pollutants don’t flow downstream to Lake Houston, a major source of drinking water.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 8, 2018 7:08 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
In the Kingwood subdivision of Houston, the whole area would be of better use to sand miners than for renewable energy. There are sand pits all around that area. Houses should have never been built there. The next story talks about dredging the sand out of the river to protect the houses from more flooding. Here is a map: https://goo.gl/maps/oZVaSG1a1Qq Most of the area close to the river is still green forest or golf courses, with some obvious sand pits in the forest, but one land-developer decided to build Kingwood in the flood plain.



Fair enough. I wasn't saying that renewable energy was THE answer. Just one possible answer.

Quote:

Personally, a home-owner who resells to the next sucker is even worse than a land-developer who sells to the first sucker. The land-developer can truthfully tell the salesmen that the house never flooded, while the home-owner knows for certain it does flood.



I disagree for several reasons. In most cases, the home is the single largest expense that somebody ever has in their lives. You can't just go and have the government deem their land condemned and ruin their lives.

Also, in many, many cases, people who own homes on a flood plane can truthfully say the home has never been flooded. There are wildly varying degrees of what is deemed a flood plane. Just because somebody lived 20 or 30 years in a home deemed on a flood plane, it doesn't mean that they are lying about it when they sell the house.

The people who buy the home will know about it, whether or not the home owner divulges that information and even if the property tax card is erroneous like mine was. Their bank will not give them a home loan unless they also get FEMA flood insurance. The only people who can really get duped are people like me who bought a home with cash. In that rare instance my advice would be to either talk to the neighbors about it, or contact FEMA directly because they will not only give you an answer but they will provide you with the dates and total amounts of any payouts for the home upon request.




In the case of the Huston floods, I agree with you. But the fix to this is to condemn all of those homes on day 1 after the flood, forcing the insurance company to build the new homes on a land that is not a flood plane and that is reasonably close to where the old home was.

The replacement value that they were insuring would not cover their exact home when you figure the new land that has to be purchased before the home is built. I think at this point you could talk about some type of government buy-back program where these devastated areas of land could be purchased and re-purposed, with the proceeds of whatever they turn the land into going to fund this program, and later becoming a stream of revenue for the local governments once it is paid for. This buy-back of land could offset at least some of the cost of the new land for the replacement homes.



The first step though, is to make sure that land developers can no longer EVER build homes on danger zones, period.

After that, the homes that currently are should be taken care of after disasters happen through the law of attrition.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 8, 2018 7:47 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

The only people who can really get duped are people like me who bought a home with cash.

I feel a rant coming on: Most of the major life transactions for Americans in the bottom 50% involve a swindler. Some are amateur swindlers, some professionals. Real estate, banking, politics, used cars, etc., all based on swindles. The swindler knows that he doesn’t have to steal every last penny from everyone, just enough of the suckers to make a prosperous living for himself. He shows some restraint because if he gets extremely greedy, he will get caught. He can make a career because there is really no warning system provided by the government telling the bottom 50% who is a professional crook misleading them into a bad deal. Here is story about a new government operated warning system for floods. Too bad there is not a warning system for the kind of swindlers who always stop short of committing a crime and going to jail: (end-of-rant)

$9.4M awarded for flood warning
Federal cash plus local money will help mark roads
www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-wins-9-4M-for-flood-
warning-on-roads-12736772.php


The city of Houston has secured $9.4 million for the installation of high-water warning systems at 40 flood-prone sections of Houston-area streets to help drivers avoid dangerous flooding.

The award will pay for sensors, cameras and computer components at specific locations, along with warning lights and signs, set for installation this year.

During heavy rains, Houston area underpasses and roads in low-lying typically flood, leaving crews scrambling to respond and monitor locations, including barricading some streets.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, announced the federal award this week. It comes from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, which will award $500 million this year to projects chosen from across the country.

The funding had the support of Republican and Democratic members of the Houston congressional delegation.

“Texans have experienced some of the worst flooding in our country’s history, and this is another step in the right direction,” said Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called the award “another significant step in making us more resilient” to major flooding.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 8:00 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Houston's proposed floodplain development rules would have spared thousands during Harvey, city says

By Mike Morris, Updated: March 13, 2018 5:29pm

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Houston-s-propo
sed-floodplain-development-rules-12747803.php


A Houston Public Works analysis of homes inundated by Hurricane Harvey in the city’s floodplains says 84 percent of the structures would have been spared if they had been built to the more stringent standards Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to put to a City Council vote later this month.

The data was distributed to council members for the first time Friday (see update below), six weeks after Turner outlined his proposal and roughly a week after the end of the city’s announced period for public feedback.

Public Works spokeswoman Alanna Reed said staff still were gathering data when the proposal was first announced, adding that efforts to verify its accuracy continued through Monday, when the department released updated figures that differed slightly from those released Friday.

“This data, there’s a lot of little details to it, there are a lot of variables,” she said. “They just want to make sure, as I do, that it’s the most accurate data that’s out there.”

Of the 31,822 flooded single-family homes Public Works examined, an estimated 48 percent of them would not have flooded during Harvey if all of them had been built to the city’s current elevation standard, which was set in 2006.

That rule requires that new or redeveloped homes sit one foot above the projected water level in a 100-year flood (also known as a storm that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year).

Public Works also ran scenarios based on the larger 500-year floodplain and the depth of floodwaters during a 500-year storm, which has a 0.2 percent chance of flooding in any given year.

If the homes Harvey flooded had been elevated to the projected water level in a 500-year storm, 56 percent would have been spared, the report states. Make them a foot higher than that, and 72 percent would not have flooded.

Placing the homes two feet above the 500-year flood level -- the standard Turner is proposing -- would have saved 84 percent of the homes.

Going even higher -- to the 500-year flood level plus three feet -- would have spared 93 percent of the homes analyzed.

UPDATE: The data was forwarded for distribution to the council on Friday but, due to a miscommunication, was not actually sent. Council members were to receive the updated data in final form Tuesday evening.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 15, 2018 6:49 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Harvey building repairs push back work on other city projects

By Mike Morris, Updated: March 14, 2018 2:09pm
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Harvey-building-repairs-pushes-b
ack-work-on-other-12753107.php


Efforts to renovate or replace streets, libraries, community centers, sewer plants and other facilities across Houston may be delayed for years as money that city leaders had set aside for the projects is redirected to repair facilities damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

City officials have begun the spring ritual of holding meetings in each of the 11 council districts to discuss projects listed in the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan. These “CIP meetings” have been rebranded “district community meetings” this year, with a heavy focus on Harvey.

The need to repair storm damage means no new projects will be added in the fifth year of this year’s capital plan, officials have said, and the timeline for many projects that had been listed in prior years now says “to be determined” on documents distributed at the community meetings.

The city must not only free up enough money in its capital plan to cover the 10 percent local match required when repairing disaster damage. Houston must set aside enough cash to do the full repair, then wait months for FEMA to send its 90 percent share as a reimbursement.

In District B, for example, that means projects at three fire stations, two libraries and three police stations likely will be delayed; six trail segments, three park upgrades and two library projects are underway and will continue.

Two fire station projects in Kingwood likely will be delayed, as will a project to replace the roof on the Flores Neighborhood Library in Second Ward.

Fifth Ward resident Ernestine Lloyd, who attended the District B gathering, said she was “let down” by the update.

“I was kind of disappointed because there’s no new projects. Apparently they’re all tied into Harvey,” Lloyd said. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am disappointed that so much needs to be done in Fifth Ward and there’s nobody doing it.”

Kashmere Gardens resident Mary Trahan said she had hoped to hear what steps city officials planned to take to lessen the risk of flooding after Harvey, such as, perhaps, building a detention basin along Hunting Bayou, which runs 300 feet from her home.

The bayou broke its banks and flooded the home where Trahan and her husband live, so they moved in with their daughter in the Greenspoint area. They are still there, awaiting repairs on their house.

Trahan was happy to hear Turner address the crowd, but his update focused more on the need to speed disaster funding to Houstonians than on proposed drainage fixes. “I know people are saying, ‘Mayor, where is the money?’’ Turner said. “When I get it, you will get it.”

“He talked about money he didn’t have — well, I don’t have it either,” Trahan said, chuckling. “That’s not helping me. He spoke very well. But it’s not helping my situation.”

Broadly, Turner said he is optimistic residents will understand the city’s need to deal with Harvey’s wreckage.

“Based on the four CIP meetings that we’ve already had, it does appear that people do understand. We have limited resources,” he said. “The Harvey projects are taking priority, and so they will come to the front of the line.”

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, March 16, 2018 7:57 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Governor announces flood relief

By Mike Snyder, Updated 7:35 pm, Thursday, March 15, 2018

www.chron.com/neighborhood/kingwood/article/Abbott-announces-San-Jacin
to-River-flood-relief-12755613.php


Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday pledged millions of dollars for widespread property buyouts and preparations for dredging the San Jacinto River to help Lake Houston communities prevent a recurrence of the catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

After touring the region by helicopter, the governor met with area leaders at a Kingwood community center, where he announced plans for voluntary buyouts of some 900 flood-prone homes in Harris County, including 134 in Kingwood and nearby Forest Cove. The county flood control district said the buyouts would cost about $180 million.

Abbott's office said money for the buyouts, as well as $3 million to "jump start" engineering and permitting required to dredge the river, will come from the state's hazard mitigation fund — federal money that flows through the state.

Abbott said his helicopter trip with Houston City Councilman Dave Martin — whose district includes Kingwood — provided clear evidence of the problem.

"I was able to see first-hand the silt that has developed as well as the sandbars that have developed in multiple regions across the entire area," Abbott said. "Very profoundly, Dave and I witnessed a stunning number of sand mining operations all up and down the river, and were able to understand more comprehensively the way in which these sand mining operations contribute sand and silt into the river."

The property buyouts announced by Abbott will target homes in areas that are "hopelessly deep" in the floodplain, or two feet below a level of flooding that would occur during a 100-year storm, flood control district officials said. This metric refers to a storm that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year.

More than 3,800 homeowners have volunteered to be bought out after the storm, by far the highest number of requests ever fielded by the district.

In the Lake Houston area, where authorities estimate that 16,000 homes and 3,300 businesses were damaged by Harvey's floods, the focus has been on the need to remove sediment that has reduced the San Jacinto River's capacity to hold floodwaters.

Abbott said he had directed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the sand mining facilities. The investigation has led to enforcement actions against two operators, Abbott said.

The state will ensure that all sand mining facilities have required permits and comply with legal requirements, Abbott said: "If not, we are going to shut them down."

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, March 18, 2018 8:17 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers exploring excavation of Addicks and Barker reservoir flood pools

By Mihir Zaveri, Updated: March 17, 2018 8:44pm

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/U-S-Army-Corps-of-Engineers-expl
oring-excavation-12760049.php


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is quietly exploring the possibility of excavating dirt from Addicks and Barker reservoirs, reviving an oft-discussed proposal that would allow the reservoirs to hold more storm water and keep it out of nearby Houston neighborhoods.

Depending on the scope of the project, removing silt and dirt could increase the reservoirs’ capacity significantly, perhaps even doubling it, by one Corps official’s rough estimate. Whether the agency moves forward could depend in part on whether it can find someone to take all the dirt.

Addicks and Barker Dams were sculpted from the Katy prairie more than 70 years ago to protect downtown Houston from devastating floods. The dams were designed to hold storm water for brief periods before releasing it into Buffalo Bayou.

But development downstream of the dams forced the Corps to restrict releases of water into the bayou. At the same time, rapid development to the north and west paved over prairie and ranch land, causing more runoff to flow into the reservoirs. As a result, Addicks and Barker are storing larger volumes of water than their designers intended, and for longer periods.

That has stressed the aging earthen dams. It has also heightened the risk of flooding for communities adjacent to the reservoirs. Since the reservoirs are not bounded by walls or banks, water can spill beyond their boundaries during intense storms.

When Hurricane Harvey struck last August, more than 9,000 homes and businesses were inundated by reservoir water. That’s on top of the tens of thousands of properties damaged or destroyed by overflowing bayous, rivers and creeks, and by water released through the outlet works at Addicks and Barker Dams.

The idea of excavating the reservoirs has been a fixture of official reports and politicians’ to-do lists for more than 20 years. Thanks to Harvey, its time may finally have arrived.

In a notice posted on the Internet, the Army Corps said it “is evaluating the level of interest from government, industry, and others parties for the excavation and removal of alluvial soils deposited within” the reservoirs.

“The concept of the potential project is to allow for the beneficial use of material by interested parties while increasing capacity” at Addicks and Barker, the notice said.

It appeared Jan. 24, with no public announcement, on a website that advertises business opportunities with the federal government.

Corps officials won’t say anything further about their plans, including how much soil would be excavated, how much it would cost or who would pay.

The Chronicle’s requests for information were referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. A spokesman there declined to comment, citing lawsuits filed by homeowners seeking compensation from the government for damage caused by reservoir flooding.

Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack, whose Precinct 3 includes the reservoirs and areas upstream and downstream, said deepening the reservoirs would be a “wonderful thing,” although the Army Corps has not discussed it with him.

“There’s no doubt that the original capacity is definitely down from when it was dug because of all the silting that has taken place,” Radack said.

The Corps’ notice asks those interested in the soil to estimate how much they would remove, how they would excavate it and where they would eventually put it.

The government shouldn’t have trouble finding interested parties if the dirt is of a certain quality, according to David Falgere.

He’s director of pre-construction for Slack & Co. Contracting Inc., which does excavation and grading at construction sites in the Houston area.

“There’s always a market for dirt,” he said. “The thing about dirt work for those of us who do it for a living: It’s either ‘I’ve got too much dirt, what do I do with it?’ or ‘I need dirt and can’t get enough.’”

The level of interest in the dirt in Barker and Addicks depends on what kind it is. Some types of soil are used for the base level of commercial buildings, Falgere explained. Others are ideal for freeway embankments. Still other types of soil may be useless. A geotechnical engineer would have to test the reservoir dirt to determine its best use.

Christopher Sallese, former commander of the Army Corps’ Galveston District, which oversees Addicks and Barker, said the excavation project has the potential to be a bargain for both the government and private construction interests.

“If you’re a developer and you need a couple million yards of material to improve a site, then you could potentially take advantage of this material that’s there and the government gets the material removed,” Sallese said.

In an interview with the Chronicle last year, Edmond J. Russo Jr., deputy district engineer in the Galveston District, said “crude estimates” indicated that excavation could double the capacity of Addicks and Barker.

“If we could increase the storage by double, that would be a huge improvement,” Russo said. “Part of the idea would be, ‘How do we couple that excavation scheme with the needs of the regional Houston development needs in terms of construction fill? Could we offer those materials for a beneficial use, and also get storage capacity increase at the same time?’”

When it built Addicks and Barker damsin the 1940s, the government acquired 25,000 acres of woods and wetland, an area nearly twice the size of Manhattan, to serve as reservoirs.

That was enough to contain a 100-year flood within Addicks reservoir and a 70-year flood within Barker. But the dams are capable of holding back an even larger volume of water; engineers call it the “maximum pool.”

The area between the government-owned reservoirs and the maximum pool is called “the fringe.” The danger of flooding in the fringe during an extreme storm escaped wide public notice, and over the years thousands of homes and businesses sprung up there.

Since the early 1990s, the Army Corps and local agencies have studied ways of protecting those areas. A 1995 Corps analysis said that deepening Barker Reservoir enough to contain a 100-year flood would require removing more than 11 million cubic yards of dirt. Excavating even a very small area would cost $11 million, the report said.

The Corps concluded that the expense outweighed the projected benefits and pronounced the proposal “nonviable ... from the standpoint of economics.”

That was in 1995. Things look different today.

Ryan Robinson, 38, still hasn’t regained his footing since Harvey, when he and his family were rescued by boat by volunteers known as the Cajun Navy. In the month that followed, Robinson lost his job as an HVAC technician. After repairing his home, he is broke, he said.

Government engineers should figure out how to prevent the reservoirs from overflowing again, whether through excavation or other measures, he said.

“That’s Trump's job,” Robinson said. “Do your job. Don’t let it happen again.”

He pointed up and down his street, where piles of sheet rock and rubble sat outside at least a dozen homes. “This isn’t right,” he said.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 8:31 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Houston's sprawling drainage project would help homes along White Oak Bayou

By Mike Morris, Updated: March 19, 2018 5:00am

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Houston-s-sprawling-drainage-pro
ject-would-help-12759536.php


Houston’s downtown and homes along White Oak Bayou and a key stretch of Interstate 10 would be at a dramatically lower risk of flooding if local officials can find a way to fund a dormant drainage project that has been revived after Hurricane Harvey.

The North Canal Bypass would cut a new, 1,300-foot channel just upstream of the spot where White Oak converges with Buffalo Bayou at the north end of downtown. The new channel would give the water a second route around a tight bend in the bayou past Allen’s Landing, where the collision of the two streams creates a buildup of water during storms.

The new channel would drop the projected flood level in downtown by four feet, and could help lower the water level in White Oak Bayou all the way to the 610 Loop and in Buffalo Bayou as far west as Gessner.

“That’s significant,” said Matt Zeve, of the Harris County Flood Control District. “When you just kind of pull the plug and let this water shoot across — the fastest way from Point A to B is a straight line — you relieve a tremendous amount of pressure here.”

To spread the project’s benefits upstream, particularly to the flood-prone Timbergrove and Shady Acres neighborhoods along White Oak, the plan also includes altering six bridges over the bayou, likely by rebuilding most of them higher. That would let floodwaters flow unimpeded underneath and prevent the bridges from acting as dams during storms, trapping water behind them.

There are numerous hurdles to completing the North Canal, however.

As Zeve puts it, quoting a truism among local engineers, “All the easy projects are done.”

There is the cost — some estimates put the figure at $100 million — and the fact that, though at least five government agencies would be involved in the effort in some way, none has volunteered to pay the full bill. This is despite the full bill being a tiny fraction of the cost of damage during Hurricane Harvey. In other words: a stitch in time could have saved nine.

A long history of delay and indifference

Proof of the North Canal’s complexities can be seen in how long the idea has been on the books. The project was first sketched by renowned architect Charles Tapley in the 1970s, said Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. It was then incorporated in a master plan Olson’s nonprofit did in 2002.

A decade later, the Harris County Flood Control District commissioned a detailed study that examined the new channel and bridge replacements, and began buying the land that would be needed to dig the canal.

The district set the project aside a year ago, however, after talks broke down with Metropolitan Transit Agency over a key land swap; a large Metro bus facility sits in the path of the channel.

But that was before Harvey.

“Quite frankly, Hurricane Harvey has probably elevated everybody’s discussions on what could we do to improve the resiliency of our community,” Metro CEO Tom Lambert said. “Metro is very open to working with the county, the city and others if there are projects that can impact reducing the flood potential in Houston downtown and the region.”

Metro and county officials say they’re aware of no specific hurdle that would prevent future talks from succeeding.

Who pays?

After Houston’s “flood czar,” former councilman and drainage engineer Steve Costello, saw the channel in TxDOT’s drawings, he pushed to schedule a recurring monthly meeting among state, county and city leaders to share research on the project and try to push it forward.

“I said, ‘Hey, this has a possibility now,’” Costello said. “This is a project that would really have a tremendous impact to lower White Oak.”

The next step, Zeve and Costello said, is for the governments involved to shake hands and agree the effort is worth pursuing. Then comes the hard part: Who pays?

Costello said the city plans to submit the project for FEMA resiliency grants made available after Harvey, but the odds of approval are uncertain, and any grants received would require a 25 percent match with local funds.

“The real question is, how much can the city put up, how much can Flood Control put up, to get things accomplished?” Costello said. “I think, at the end of the day, it will happen.”

More at www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Houston-s-sprawling-drainage-pro
ject-would-help-12759536.php


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 29, 2018 6:56 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


https://rethink.earth/lessons-from-hurricane-harvey/

Albert Pope, an architect at Rice University in Houston, doubts that adaptation through infrastructure fixes are sufficient to keep Houston safe from serious flood damage. He says that there’s too little undeveloped land left to accommodate new reservoirs of sufficient capacity, and that further straightening, widening, and bank-hardening can’t force bayous to carry more water. “We’re at the limits to what we can do, engineering-wise,” he says. His solution is more disruptive of the status quo, and Houston’s fix-it-with-concrete ethos. He insists that Houston should do something more transformative and remove all the buildings in its flood plains – 150,000 structures, including those on three-quarters of the acreage in Meyerland – and turn the acquired land into parks. Buying out so many people would be a “monumental task,” Pope acknowledges – and he suggests that the process should be phased in slowly, over decades, focussing first on the most risk prone structure. Pope says that the only alternative is to repair flood plain buildings after each successive flood, at great expense and with no obvious end game.



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, March 29, 2018 7:14 AM

CAPTAINCRUNCH

... stay crunchy...


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
https://rethink.earth/lessons-from-hurricane-harvey/

Albert Pope, an architect at Rice University in Houston, doubts that adaptation through infrastructure fixes are sufficient to keep Houston safe from serious flood damage. He says that there’s too little undeveloped land left to accommodate new reservoirs of sufficient capacity, and that further straightening, widening, and bank-hardening can’t force bayous to carry more water. “We’re at the limits to what we can do, engineering-wise,” he says. His solution is more disruptive of the status quo, and Houston’s fix-it-with-concrete ethos. He insists that Houston should do something more transformative and remove all the buildings in its flood plains – 150,000 structures, including those on three-quarters of the acreage in Meyerland – and turn the acquired land into parks. Buying out so many people would be a “monumental task,” Pope acknowledges – and he suggests that the process should be phased in slowly, over decades, focussing first on the most risk prone structure. Pope says that the only alternative is to repair flood plain buildings after each successive flood, at great expense and with no obvious end game.



In a nutshell. A wise after-the-fact plan that I assume would be accelerated by each flood.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 7:53 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by captaincrunch:

In a nutshell. A wise after-the-fact plan that I assume would be accelerated by each flood.

The people that built Houston so that it would flood are strongly opposed to "wise after-the-fact plan", which reminds us that it is more profitable to build in the flood zone than to either build on higher ground or to raise the first floor to a higher level. From today's Houston Chronicle:

Fight over floodplain rules taps into resistance to regulation.
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Fight-over-Houston-floodplain-ru
les-taps-into-12802536.php


What seemed like a stunned consensus that change was needed following Harvey is now looking like every other City Hall fight over new regulations.

Houston’s Mayor Turner is asking the city council to require all new construction in Houston’s floodplains to be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm, which is deemed to have a 0.2 percent chance of happening in any given year.

Current rules mandate that buildings be constructed one foot above the flood level in a less severe 100-year storm, and apply only within the 100-year floodplain, where properties are considered to have a 1 percent annual chance of being inundated. Minimum home elevations would be imposed within the 500-year floodplain for the first time.

“We have a development reputation of being very laissez-faire and saying you can kind of build where you’re going to want to build and build what you want to build,” said Kyle Shelton of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, which has been convening panels on flood resilience since Harvey. “This is one of the more recent really big attempts to say, ‘Hell No, there are some places where here’s what you’re going to have to do.’ Naturally, that’s going to get discussion and get pushback in Houston because it’s not something that we’ve done a lot.”

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said the familiar pattern of the debate is unsurprising. That, he said, is because Houston’s strong-mayor form of government gives Mayor Turner control over the content of the council agenda and the city departments that draft and implement policies, and because of the “knee-jerk culture in Houston, where any regulation is initially assumed to be bad regulation.”

The same home-builders who built in a flood plain and caused $100 billion in damage want to continue business as usual. And there is much whining that old houses will lose their value because new houses built to new regulations with higher elevation on the first floor will make it far too obvious that the old houses in the neighborhood are likely to flood in the next hurricane. Realtors do NOT want flood zones to be obvious because home-buyers might not buy the home or, if the house sells, sales commissions might be lower.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 8:09 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Monty Python antics amok as Houston City Hall debates flooding
www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Monty-Python-antic
s-amok-as-City-Hall-debates-12803387.php


“When I started here, all there was was swamp,” Michael Palin’s scheming king declares in the 1975 comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Against the advice of his peers, he recounts how he built a castle there anyway. It sank into the swamp. So did the second. Ditto for the third. Though by this point he had become an expert on his kingdom’s topography, annual rainfall and susceptibility to flooding — not to mention the cost of rebuilding — the king commissioned a fourth castle. This one, he boasts without a hint of worry, has stayed up.

If City Council fails to pass Mayor Sylvester Turner’s new development rules, we’ll have embraced the kind of absurdity the Pythons mined for laughs. And our castles will keep sinking into the swamp.



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 9:16 AM

CAPTAINCRUNCH

... stay crunchy...


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by captaincrunch:

In a nutshell. A wise after-the-fact plan that I assume would be accelerated by each flood.

The people that built Houston so that it would flood are strongly opposed to "wise after-the-fact plan", which reminds us that it is more profitable to build in the flood zone than to either build on higher ground or to raise the first floor to a higher level. From today's Houston Chronicle:

Fight over floodplain rules taps into resistance to regulation.
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Fight-over-Houston-floodplain-ru
les-taps-into-12802536.php


What seemed like a stunned consensus that change was needed following Harvey is now looking like every other City Hall fight over new regulations.

Houston’s Mayor Turner is asking the city council to require all new construction in Houston’s floodplains to be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm, which is deemed to have a 0.2 percent chance of happening in any given year.

Current rules mandate that buildings be constructed one foot above the flood level in a less severe 100-year storm, and apply only within the 100-year floodplain, where properties are considered to have a 1 percent annual chance of being inundated. Minimum home elevations would be imposed within the 500-year floodplain for the first time.

“We have a development reputation of being very laissez-faire and saying you can kind of build where you’re going to want to build and build what you want to build,” said Kyle Shelton of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, which has been convening panels on flood resilience since Harvey. “This is one of the more recent really big attempts to say, ‘Hell No, there are some places where here’s what you’re going to have to do.’ Naturally, that’s going to get discussion and get pushback in Houston because it’s not something that we’ve done a lot.”

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said the familiar pattern of the debate is unsurprising. That, he said, is because Houston’s strong-mayor form of government gives Mayor Turner control over the content of the council agenda and the city departments that draft and implement policies, and because of the “knee-jerk culture in Houston, where any regulation is initially assumed to be bad regulation.”

The same home-builders who built in a flood plain and caused $100 billion in damage want to continue business as usual. And there is much whining that old houses will lose their value because new houses built to new regulations with higher elevation on the first floor will make it far too obvious that the old houses in the neighborhood are likely to flood in the next hurricane. Realtors do NOT want flood zones to be obvious because home-buyers might not buy the home or, if the house sells, sales commissions might be lower.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly



What I’m getting from this is that houses should be raised THREE feet minimum, not 1 or 2 since those are considered safe.
It would be great if we (Houston) approached this problem from the pov of, “let’s show the world how this should be handled.”

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 9:50 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by captaincrunch:

What I’m getting from this is that houses should be raised THREE feet minimum, not 1 or 2 since those are considered safe.
It would be great if we (Houston) approached this problem from the pov of, “let’s show the world how this should be handled.”

What is most likely to happen (50% chance) is that nothing will happen on the City Council: the rules will remain almost unchanged. Because 90% of the population was not flooded, doing nothing is the easiest thing to do for the majority on the City Council. The Mayor can be outmaneuvered by the realtors and builders who are very aware that 90% of the population have nearly total amnesia about the flooding. It was so long ago - last year - and the people forget so quickly.

The realtors and builders of America tend to get their way, not because they have more money, but because they have more intensity compared to the American majority that can't remember or don't even care about anybody's problems other than their own. If your house didn't flood, and you are American, you probably don't want to pay even $10.00/year for flood control to help somebody that is not you. You might be willing to pay $1/year, but not much more. Why 85% of Houston homeowners have no flood insurance: https://qz.com/1063985
Only about 20% of homeowners with flood damage in the region have insurance protection. Buying insurance is too socialistic for most Americans who don't want to pay for damages to other people's homes, just their own.
www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/08/29/insurance-woes-await-flood-vic
tims-under-covered-houston-area/613239001
/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 5, 2018 7:38 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by second:

What is most likely to happen (50% chance) is that nothing will happen on the City Council: the rules will remain almost unchanged.

Usually the Democrats run around like chickens with their heads cut off, voting randomly, while the Republicans vote their party line with Military Discipline, but not this time. One Republican voted with the Democrats to make stricter rules:
City Council adopts stricter development rules for Houston’s floodplains

By Rebecca Elliott, Updated: April 4, 2018 6:17pm

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Houston-City-Council-adopts-stri
cter-flood-plain-12805504.php


Starting this fall, all new homes built in Houston’s floodplains must be elevated higher off the ground following a contentious debate and narrow vote by city council Wednesday to adopt the Bayou City’s first major regulatory response to the widespread flooding Hurricane Harvey unleashed last August.

The vote marks a shift away from Houston’s longtime aversion to constraining development, and means all new construction in the city’s floodplains will have to be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm.

The unusually tight 9-7 vote, which fell largely along party lines, came at the end of more than three hours of sometimes combative debate.

Typical overheated rhetoric during the debate: “Sold my soul? I will sell my soul to represent my district tomorrow and the next day. You have no idea what you’re talking about because you don’t know where Kingwood is, sir. Whether you say I sold out, you can call it whatever the hell you want to call it, I protect my neighborhood.”

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, April 9, 2018 7:04 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Nearly-half-of-
Harris-County-s-waterways-have-12813461.php


By Mihir Zaveri, Updated: April 6, 2018 8:38pm

Nearly half of Harris County’s 2,500 miles of rivers, bayous and drainage ditches do not have mapped flood plains, according to data from the county, leaving an inaccurate picture of flood risk for thousands of residents.

In most cases, the unmapped channels are smaller than prominent waterways such as Houston’s well-known bayous and rivers. Instead they are drainage ditches and narrow canals dividing homes and subdivisions spreading all across the county — the legacy of decades of development, where exceptionally flat topography required the construction of man-made channels to drain storm-water into Galveston Bay and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.

They largely have evaded the eye of authorities seeking to study and communicate flood-risk around Houston. Officials point to several reasons they have not been examined: tight funding and technology that has hampered effective mapping.

As a result, thousands of people may be living in areas at a higher risk of flooding without knowing it. While there is no way to accurately gauge the impact of the lack of flood plain maps, or what potential maps would look like, an analysis of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey shows that nearly 6,000 homes damaged during the storm were outside any mapped flood plains, but within one-tenth of a mile of an unmapped stream.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the smaller waterways need to be studied.

“We can’t do things the way they were done in the past,” he said. “We’re in a new world now, where we’ve got to know more about how flooding occurs, where it’s going to occur.”

Almost three-quarters of the 204,000 flooded homes and apartment buildings in Harris County were outside the federally regulated 100-year flood plain.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 10:11 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


The top story on the front page of today's Houston Chronicle:

After Hurricane Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District is seeking $75,000 in federal grants for a billboard campaign aimed at encouraging residents to buy insurance.

Harris County is planning a billboard campaign to encourage residents to buy flood insurance, hoping to drive home one of the costliest lessons from Hurricane Harvey.

It is a drumbeat long sounded by public officials seeking to prepare the region for floods, but the message has taken on new significance after Harvey, in which 83 percent of the 1.4 million buildings in Harris County lacked flood insurance when the storm hit, according to estimates from the flood control district.

“We should make people aware of the facts,” said Ataul Hannan, planning division director for the Harris County Flood Control District. “You cannot take away risk.”

To do that, the district wants to put up two dozen billboards along some of Harris County’s most-traveled roadways, reminding residents of the importance of flood insurance.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 11:39 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Plan to build hundreds of homes in west Houston flood plain returns to council

By Mike Morris, Updated: April 24, 2018 7:20am

“Basically, nothing has changed. The only thing that’s changed is that there has been more time pass since Harvey, so I think they’re expecting there being less opposition as people forget about the impact of Harvey.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City Council balked at a developer’s plan to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston flood plain last fall in the weeks after Hurricane Harvey, but will take up the same proposal this week with no apparent revisions.

The homebuilder, Meritage Homes, said its plans for the Spring Brook Village development did not change because the drainage system it is building is robust enough to {what follows is a long string of small deceptions which the reporter cannot penetrate, because he is not an engineer, to get the truth. The Republicans on the City Council who pass themselves off as “Independents” ha-ha-ha probably don’t care what the truth is, but they cannot say that aloud. If you are a Democrat in Texas, you know how Republicans and “Independents” are when asked to do a sneaky favor for a wealthy homebuilder.}

Councilwoman Brenda Stardig, owner of Stardig Patrick Real Estate https://ballotpedia.org/Brenda_Stardig noted that voting down the developer’s preferred financing method — the utility district — would not prevent the site from being developed.

“My concern is that we have responsible development, and killing the MUD is not going to kill the project,” Stardig said. “I would have loved to have had a park and green space and the golf course or other recreational activities there. However, this is private property. They worked within the parameters of the ordinances.”

Aside from the optics of approving development in a flood plain so soon after Harvey, said Councilman David Robinson, an architect https://ballotpedia.org/David_W._Robinson ,“We can’t say no just because it might look bad if it adheres to existing policy.”

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Plan-to-bu
ild-hundreds-of-homes-in-west-Houston-12858540.php


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:31 AM

CAPTAINCRUNCH

... stay crunchy...


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Plan to build hundreds of homes in west Houston flood plain returns to council

By Mike Morris, Updated: April 24, 2018 7:20am

“Basically, nothing has changed. The only thing that’s changed is that there has been more time pass since Harvey, so I think they’re expecting there being less opposition as people forget about the impact of Harvey.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City Council balked at a developer’s plan to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston flood plain last fall in the weeks after Hurricane Harvey, but will take up the same proposal this week with no apparent revisions.

The homebuilder, Meritage Homes, said its plans for the Spring Brook Village development did not change because the drainage system it is building is robust enough to {what follows is a long string of small deceptions which the reporter cannot penetrate, because he is not an engineer, to get the truth. The Republicans on the City Council who pass themselves off as “Independents” ha-ha-ha probably don’t care what the truth is, but they cannot say that aloud. If you are a Democrat in Texas, you know how Republicans and “Independents” are when asked to do a sneaky favor for a wealthy homebuilder.}

Councilwoman Brenda Stardig, owner of Stardig Patrick Real Estate https://ballotpedia.org/Brenda_Stardig noted that voting down the developer’s preferred financing method — the utility district — would not prevent the site from being developed.

“My concern is that we have responsible development, and killing the MUD is not going to kill the project,” Stardig said. “I would have loved to have had a park and green space and the golf course or other recreational activities there. However, this is private property. They worked within the parameters of the ordinances.”

Aside from the optics of approving development in a flood plain so soon after Harvey, said Councilman David Robinson, an architect https://ballotpedia.org/David_W._Robinson ,“We can’t say no just because it might look bad if it adheres to existing policy.”

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Plan-to-bu
ild-hundreds-of-homes-in-west-Houston-12858540.php


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly



Maybe, in the future, there *was* no mass exodus from Earth? Maybe there was no great extinction Event? Maybe smart people got tired of rolling their eyes and built ships and loaded them up with other smart people and just left the dummies behind to face the fate of their own misdeeds?

Ooooo - what if there were 2 Great Leavings from Earth? The Smarts first, followed by what was left of the Dims after they'd effed it up completely? I'm sensing a scifi series here... if it hasn't already been done. Reaver origin story perhaps?

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 9:43 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by captaincrunch:

Maybe, in the future, there *was* no mass exodus from Earth? Maybe there was no great extinction Event? Maybe smart people got tired of rolling their eyes and built ships and loaded them up with other smart people and just left the dummies behind to face the fate of their own misdeeds?

Ooooo - what if there were 2 Great Leavings from Earth? The Smarts first, followed by what was left of the Dims after they'd effed it up completely? I'm sensing a scifi series here... if it hasn't already been done. Reaver origin story perhaps?

This thread is drifting far from Houston flooding, but I saw this by Freeman Dyson on space travel:

One possibility is that groups of parents will be able to give birth to genetically modified children, hoping to give them advantages in the game of life. The children might be healthier or longer-lived or more intellectually gifted than other children, and they might no longer interbreed with natural-born children. The other possibility is that groups of people will emigrate from planet Earth and build societies far away in the depths of space. West considers neither of these possibilities. His view of the future sees humans remaining forever a single species confined to a single planet. If the future resembles the past, humans will be diversifying into many species and spreading out over the universe, as our hominin ancestors diversified and spread over this planet.

So long as we remain on planet Earth, there are strong social, political, and ethical reasons to forbid genetic modification of children by parents. If we are scattered in isolated communities far away, those reasons would no longer be relevant to our experience. A group of humans colonizing a cold and airless world would probably not hesitate to use genetic engineering to adapt their children to the environment. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the nineteenth-century prophet of space colonization, already imagined the colonists endowed with green leaves to replace lungs and with moving-picture skin patterns to replace voices. How long will it take for the technologies of space transportation and genetic engineering to bring Tsiolkovsky’s dreams to reality?

Advances in technology are unpredictable, but two hundred years is a reasonable guess for cheap and widely available space travel and genetically modified babies—perhaps one hundred years to develop the science and another hundred years to develop the applications. It is likely that in two hundred years public highways will be carrying passengers and freight around the solar system, with a large enough volume of traffic to make them affordable to ordinary people. At the same time, farmers will be breeding microbes, as well as plants and animals designed to live together in robust artificial ecologies. The option to include humans in the ecology will always be available.

Freeman Dyson continues here: www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/05/10/the-key-to-everything/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 26, 2018 11:12 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


City Council unanimously backs plan to build homes in flood plain

By Mike Morris, Updated: April 25, 2018 6:53pm

The vote, which occurred without discussion, will let the developers create a municipal utility district to issue bonds to pay for roads, water, sewer and drainage infrastructure on the former Pine Crest Golf Course, where homebuilder Meritage Homes and land developer MetroNational plan to build some 900 homes.

www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-Counc
il-unanimously-backs-plan-to-build-12863712.php


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 26, 2018 1:21 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
The top story on the front page of today's Houston Chronicle:

After Hurricane Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District is seeking $75,000 in federal grants for a billboard campaign aimed at encouraging residents to buy insurance.

Harris County is planning a billboard campaign to encourage residents to buy flood insurance, hoping to drive home one of the costliest lessons from Hurricane Harvey.

It is a drumbeat long sounded by public officials seeking to prepare the region for floods, but the message has taken on new significance after Harvey, in which 83 percent of the 1.4 million buildings in Harris County lacked flood insurance when the storm hit, according to estimates from the flood control district.

“We should make people aware of the facts,” said Ataul Hannan, planning division director for the Harris County Flood Control District. “You cannot take away risk.”

To do that, the district wants to put up two dozen billboards along some of Harris County’s most-traveled roadways, reminding residents of the importance of flood insurance.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly



Do the banks in Texas not require you to have flood insurance if you're loaning money from them, or does everybody in Harris County own their homes with cash?



If this is a case where the flood planes are not properly zoned, that's something to strongly consider re-zoning.

This would probably get a lot of pushback from people that owned the houses though. It would mean that unless they owned their homes free and clear that they would be forced to pay for insurance they were getting away without paying before.





Are FEMA zoning maps and other information easily obtainable and readable in Harris County and Texas in general? It's hard to have a solid opinion on any of this without knowing details like that.

Where I live, I can easily go online and see a FEMA map of every house in my city that is color coded as to the severity of any homes on the flood plane. These color codes actually determine what level of insurance you'd have to pay. Colorless means that you're not in a flood zone and don't need to pay. GREEN means that you're in the lowest risk flood zone and would pay only a fraction of about 1/4 to 1/3 what the people in RED zones would have to pay. These aren't hand drawn maps either. They use GoogleMaps.


I think the first step here is to ensure that something like this is done everywhere in the country if it isn't being done already. If it is already being done, I think billboards should be going up making people aware of their ability to go online and see what level of flood zone their home is on, and especially to see what level a home they're thinking about buying is on.



This information wouldn't only be beneficial when it comes to insurance issues. It would also help people who didn't realize they might be at risk take some preventative measures to mitigate or at least minimize any damage they'd receive if the worst were to occur.



For instance, I'm on a GREEN zone. Because of the work the city/county has done creating and maintaining man-made ditches to mitigate the water, the chances that the streets around here would actually flood are almost non-existant barring a Noah's Arc type scenario.

But what it does mean for me is that I absolutely have to have a sump pump in working order 24/7 because the house was built with livable area in the basement. Even a moderate amount of rain would end up flooding my home if I were away for a few weeks and the power went out during average seasonal spring rain.

It would be good for people to easily find this type of information out so they can plan ahead. The upfront costs of having a battery backed up sump and a second well could mean spending hundreds to a thousand bucks now so you don't have to spend tens of thousands for flood damage after the fact. It also might mean that you don't buy a house in the first place because you're just not willing to take the risk at all.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 26, 2018 4:22 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

Do the banks in Texas not require you to have flood insurance if you're loaning money from them, or does everybody in Harris County own their homes with cash?



If this is a case where the flood planes are not properly zoned, that's something to strongly consider re-zoning.

This would probably get a lot of pushback from people that owned the houses though. It would mean that unless they owned their homes free and clear that they would be forced to pay for insurance they were getting away without paying before.





Are FEMA zoning maps and other information easily obtainable and readable in Harris County and Texas in general? It's hard to have a solid opinion on any of this without knowing details like that.

Where I live, I can easily go online and see a FEMA map of every house in my city that is color coded as to the severity of any homes on the flood plane. These color codes actually determine what level of insurance you'd have to pay. Colorless means that you're not in a flood zone and don't need to pay. GREEN means that you're in the lowest risk flood zone and would pay only a fraction of about 1/4 to 1/3 what the people in RED zones would have to pay. These aren't hand drawn maps either. They use GoogleMaps.


I think the first step here is to ensure that something like this is done everywhere in the country if it isn't being done already. If it is already being done, I think billboards should be going up making people aware of their ability to go online and see what level of flood zone their home is on, and especially to see what level a home they're thinking about buying is on.



This information wouldn't only be beneficial when it comes to insurance issues. It would also help people who didn't realize they might be at risk take some preventative measures to mitigate or at least minimize any damage they'd receive if the worst were to occur.



For instance, I'm on a GREEN zone. Because of the work the city/county has done creating and maintaining man-made ditches to mitigate the water, the chances that the streets around here would actually flood are almost non-existant barring a Noah's Arc type scenario.

But what it does mean for me is that I absolutely have to have a sump pump in working order 24/7 because the house was built with livable area in the basement. Even a moderate amount of rain would end up flooding my home if I were away for a few weeks and the power went out during average seasonal spring rain.

It would be good for people to easily find this type of information out so they can plan ahead. The upfront costs of having a battery backed up sump and a second well could mean spending hundreds to a thousand bucks now so you don't have to spend tens of thousands for flood damage after the fact. It also might mean that you don't buy a house in the first place because you're just not willing to take the risk at all.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Why 85% of Houston homeowners have no flood insurance
https://qz.com/1063985
Only 28% of the homes in “high-risk” areas for flooding had insurance.

There is an excellent map of the 500 year flood zone. The map and the reality of Hurricane Harvey were in excellent agreement.
www.harriscountyfemt.org/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 26, 2018 8:51 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


They need to upgrade that map. The maximum zoom level leaves a lot to be desired.

The map I'm talking about can zoom in to just a city block and shows actual satellite imagery of every home. For instance, I'm one of several homes at the end of my block that are green-zone, while most of the houses the other way are not in the flood zone at all. Several blocks behind me is the lowest part of the area and houses there are in red zone.



Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, April 26, 2018 9:46 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
They need to upgrade that map. The maximum zoom level leaves a lot to be desired.

The map I'm talking about can zoom in to just a city block and shows actual satellite imagery of every home. For instance, I'm one of several homes at the end of my block that are green-zone, while most of the houses the other way are not in the flood zone at all. Several blocks behind me is the lowest part of the area and houses there are in red zone.



Do Right, Be Right. :)

You mean a map like this? https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=601%20W%20Main%20St%2C
%20Baytown%2C%20TX#searchresultsanchor


If the house will be around for 100 years, this kind of map is only good for a year because sea level is rising along the coast and the ground is sinking because of wells, both water and oil. This map, with all the superfine details, won't be right 10 years from now. If you're buying a house, don't buy one a few feet outside the flood zone. In time, you will be inside the flood zone.

If you want actual elevations, there is Google Earth for Chrome: https://goo.gl/MXt3vr
www.google.com/earth/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, April 27, 2018 7:54 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
They need to upgrade that map. The maximum zoom level leaves a lot to be desired.

The map I'm talking about can zoom in to just a city block and shows actual satellite imagery of every home. For instance, I'm one of several homes at the end of my block that are green-zone, while most of the houses the other way are not in the flood zone at all. Several blocks behind me is the lowest part of the area and houses there are in red zone.



Do Right, Be Right. :)



You mean a map like this? https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=601%20W%20Main%20St%2C
%20Baytown%2C%20TX#searchresultsanchor




Oh good. That's exactly what I meant.

Quote:

If the house will be around for 100 years, this kind of map is only good for a year because sea level is rising along the coast and the ground is sinking because of wells, both water and oil. This map, with all the superfine details, won't be right 10 years from now.


Yeah. You're probably right. These things should constantly be updated. Do you know if they are in Texas? I know that they are by me at least every 3 years since it's happened twice that I'm aware of since I've moved in. I think I'm the only person on my block that doesn't really want to be moved out of the flood zone since I don't pay for insurance and I got a good amount off of my property taxes by proving that I was in the flood zone when the township said I wasn't.


Quote:

If you're buying a house, don't buy one a few feet outside the flood zone. In time, you will be inside the flood zone.


That's great advice. If I had to do it all over again I would have looked into this a lot more. My dumb ass took the township on their word that I wasn't in a flood zone. I didn't know about maps like these until a year or two after I moved in when my sump failed and I had to replace it in two feet of freezing water, bare ass naked so I didn't get hypothermia.

Honestly, this is something that should be added to the list of things we teach our kids in high school.

I suggest that we give the kids at least a one semester class that covers things like flood zones, securing loans, building credit, being responsible with credit, knowing what a predatory loan is and staying far away from them, doing their own tax returns, what a 401k is and how to invest in it (at least to always take advantage of your company match), budgeting, using the internet to pay your bills, setting up automatic payments for at least the minimum monthly payment, etc., etc., etc...

So much dumb shit our kids are taught, and we don't even teach them how to take care of themselves when they're adults.

Sigh......

Do Right, Be Right. :)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, April 27, 2018 9:51 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

Honestly, this is something that should be added to the list of things we teach our kids in high school.

I suggest that we give the kids at least a one semester class that covers things like flood zones, securing loans, building credit, being responsible with credit, knowing what a predatory loan is and staying far away from them, doing their own tax returns, what a 401k is and how to invest in it (at least to always take advantage of your company match), budgeting, using the internet to pay your bills, setting up automatic payments for at least the minimum monthly payment, etc., etc., etc...

So much dumb shit our kids are taught, and we don't even teach them how to take care of themselves when they're adults.

Sigh......

Do Right, Be Right. :)

What do you do with the kids that flunk the final test of this class? I know that 99% of kids will flunk and the remaining 1% will take over America because it already happened in my lifetime. A real life example: I loaned Hobson $458,750 and have been repaid $30,250. Hobson also got from me a free copy of "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" (2017). It would be the study guide for 6ixStringJack's high school class. I kept my 40 year old copy. www.amazon.com/gp/product/0544781937/

Every step of the way, Hobson made bad decisions, ones that I said were too risky even before the decisions were finalized. Hobson's excuse was always, "But what else can I do?" I would explain, but nothing was learned.

No amount of advice or instruction made any real-world difference to Hobson. I will never be paid back and Hobson has run up another $125,000 in debt with people who have less patience. Hobson is exactly like 99% of Americans: a typical bonehead with insufficient correct knowledge about how the world really works, even after 58 years of life experience and weeks of instruction. I find it completely unsurprising that Americans will buy a house that can flood, then will not purchase flood insurance because they believe they are someone extra-special who God is watching over.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

YOUR OPTIONS

NEW POSTS TODAY

USERPOST DATE

OTHER TOPICS

DISCUSSIONS
John Brennan on Maddow - great interview
Mon, August 20, 2018 14:49 - 19 posts
Countdown Clock to Trumps impeachment " STARTS"
Mon, August 20, 2018 14:38 - 1273 posts
A thread for Democrats Only
Mon, August 20, 2018 14:34 - 1768 posts
In the garden, and RAIN!!!!
Mon, August 20, 2018 12:43 - 862 posts
You can't take the sky from me, a tribute to Firefly
Mon, August 20, 2018 09:06 - 188 posts
New Holiday For Canada
Mon, August 20, 2018 08:20 - 18 posts
Evidence: So where are we now(II) ?
Sun, August 19, 2018 23:22 - 386 posts
WSJ: What was Bruce Ohr doing? (SIGNY: Probably deserves to be indicted and fired)
Sun, August 19, 2018 16:10 - 6 posts
The Mid-Term Elections 2018
Sun, August 19, 2018 15:06 - 215 posts
The Unemployment Rate Facts
Sun, August 19, 2018 14:54 - 192 posts
News Item - Trumplandia
Sun, August 19, 2018 01:26 - 2 posts
Investor's Business Daily: Russian Collusion: It Was Hillary Clinton All Along
Sun, August 19, 2018 01:06 - 20 posts

FFF.NET SOCIAL