Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Again, Another Flood in Houston


After a mere 30 minutes of sunshine, the sky clouded over. Again. So quickly. Much, much more rain is expected. Every single day this week and next, we can anticipate flooding, or certainly, the prospect of worrying about it. Areas of Houston north and west of Downtown have experienced dreadful flooding. Our city has never prepared itself for recurring floods and now the Houston Chronicle is flaying city council for giving in to developers and for letting flood alleviation plans sit on shelves.
For years, Harris County Flood Control has been expecting Federal funds to widen four bridges along Brays Bayou here in the East End, so that rain waters and overflow into the bayou can flow more easily from the west through our neighborhoods and into the ship channel. The deal was that the HCFC would fund the widening of Brays by 30 feet on either side and the Feds would funds the new bridges. HCFC did their part, but we've not seen the promised Federal money.  I suspect that when President Obama came into office, Republicans simply held up the funding for the bayou bridges, and I suspect, for all sorts of infrastructure projects throughout the country. At great cost to voters, but undermining anything that looks like progress in the public realm is verboten these days.
A day ago run off waters got up to the lower levels of my terraced ravine. Not too bad. The real worry now with sodden ground around the house is the low spot by my dining room door. During a 45 minute downpour yesterday afternoon, the water leaked under the frame of the screen entryway out to the back garden and so I got our my trowel, mind you, and dug a trough so the water could go out on to the flagstone terrace. Now I worry about the ground right by those French doors exactly level with the sodden ground.
What to do? Put important papers and boxes up on closet shelves, be ready to gather more possessions up off the floor - framed photos and paintings, baskets filled with journals and postcards from Rome and Paris, coffee table art books and trays of coral and oyster shells, stacks of Vogue, MS. Vanity Fair and Sojourner's. Earlier this morning I did indeed go through the piles of magazines next to my bed and dispensed with half of them. A victory of sorts. They are now weighting down the recycling bin in the carport.
Sara Speer Selber keeps posting about the folks in Acres Homes and the ways in which we can come to their aid. I'd intended to take a car load of cleaning supplies to their community service center today, but will put it off because of flooded roads. We are not out of the water yet, so to speak. I hear thunder and it is beginning to rain. Again. We've been very lucky, so fortunate, so far. But the weather forecasts do not bode well.
This evening at 6:00, I was planning to drive over to Rice U to hear founder of Emily's List Eleanor Malcolm talk about her new book. Then on to Diverse Works for their annual fundraiser Luck of the Draw to which both ES and I contributed work to be auctioned off. I fear both of these events will have small audiences, unless folks are assured of a few dry hours.
More rain tomorrow and Friday and then perhaps a day or two to dry out before it all begins again. Hope the roots of the big tree in the ravine go much, much deeper than the soggy surface ground. General unease and anxiety as we wait for whatever. And thoughts for all the thousands of people who lost their homes and belongings because, in part, our city grows too fast and does not prepare for the consequences of too much concrete covering too much land surface. How many floods will it take for actual action and accountability?

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