Full Article by Kyle Hagerty, Bisnow Houston
During Hurricane Harvey, the Houston area was pounded with an entire year’s worth of rain, 27 trillion gallons, in just four days. Despite rainfall that shattered every record, many outside experts and national news media organizations are lobbing severe criticisms toward the city for its decades-long expansion. The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost is calling Houston’s flooding a “design problem.” The Washington Post’s editorial board claims “Houston is paying the price for public officials’ ignorance.” Not everyone agrees. Flooded and frustrated, local experts are wondering how they could have managed the unmanageable.
“Houston hasn’t seen anything like this type of rainfall, especially over such a large area,” said Patrick Beecher, outgoing president of Houston’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “It rained so much that no amount of prevention could’ve prevented flooding.” It is important to understand Harvey produced a truly unbelievable amount of water: 27 trillion gallons fell over Texas and Louisiana. That is 1 million gallons of water for nearly every person who lives in Texas. The consequences were catastrophic. At least 46 are dead, and nearly 40,000 homes have been destroyed. The cost of recovery could top $150B and it will take years. Vox’s stunning, almost cartoonish visualizations show the sheer scale of the water that flooded the region. “[It’s] off the charts by many measures,” Mark Fischetti wrote in Scientific American. Read More >