Given the weather and subsequent flooding that has been occurring recently, many officials are looking for ways to reinforce and barricade areas that are most at risk. One such area that last year was inundated with flooding was southeast Texas, particularly the Houston Metropolitan area, after Hurricane Harvey. Due to massive amounts of flooding, 68 people lost their lives, and some reports estimate the damage to be over 125 billion dollars. To avoid similar losses in the future, a plan is being proposed to install what is known as an IKE dike along the Bolivar Peninsula that would extend along the rest of the Galveston Island coast to complement the existing seawall. A new floating floodgate is to be installed at the entrance of the Houston Ship Channel that, when built, will be able to be closed to prevent the storm surge from making its way further inland.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

More recently, Hurricane Florence and Michael devastated parts of the Carolinas and the Florida panhandle this year, with extreme flooding and winds that destroyed many homes and businesses alike. These extreme weather events seem to be a growing trend, and old standards used for the design of stormwater systems and buildings just aren’t cutting it anymore. They are in need of an update, and some are taking notice. FEMA, for instance, has recently been re-evaluating their existing floodplain maps due in part to the massive flooding that occurred after Hurricane Harvey and mainly due to the property damage during Hurricane Michael. A prime example of where old floodplain maps failed was highlighted by the destruction caused in Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida. Although located on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, some 200 homes were in an area classified as X Zone, which does not require any flood insurance. Most of these homes were destroyed or heavily damaged when the storm surge from the hurricane hit the shores, flooding the area.

Flooding is often the element of storms that cause the most damage, and with dynamic and changing landscapes, evaluating land’s susceptibility to flooding events is crucial for the protection of property. Fortunately, D.L. Howell has a team of capable engineers and designers that are able to perform floodplain analysis to determine the effects of a large storm event on your property.

image references:  https://insideclimatenews.org/news/01112018/fema-flood-map-climate-change-hurricane-mexico-beach-florida-sea-level-rise

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/12/after-dismissing-need-storm-surge-barrier-sylvester-turner-says-housto/