In terms of flooding and Houston, how can we learn from the past in order to prepare for the future?
Flooding is a frequent problem in Houston, TX. Although almost every area in the world is subject to some sort of natural disaster, Houston's is flooding. Since the elevation is low, even a relatively small storm can cause extensive flooding. Fortunately, Houston's extensive drainage system (including a network of bayous, rivers, streams, and water basins) enables the water to drain fairly quickly in the case of light or moderate rainfall, but major storms can produce unbelievable damage to people and property. Being so close to sea level and near the Gulf of Mexico presents many other problems. For example, tropical storms and hurricanes frequently threaten the area. June through November is the hurricane season, but tropical storms and other disturbances occur throughout the year. Strangely enough, some areas of Houston have experienced major storms and damages, while other areas experienced fair weather during the same time period! Tropic Storm Allison devastated many areas of Houston (such as the Texas Medical Center - one of the world's largest medical centers) in June 2001 with severe flooding, while some nearby areas actually received very little rain or wind.
Click on the small total drainage network picture to enlarge it into a large map. This show the extensive drainage network for the Houston area. It was provided by the Harris County Flood Control District.
This site emphasizes the importance of preparing for flooding, surviving flooding, and then recovering from flooding. The 2005 hurricane season (see http://www.infoplease.com/spot/hurricanes.html) caused the worst damage ever recorded to the U.S.A. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita threated the Houston area, but Hurricane Katrina devistated New Orleans (and surrounding areas) and Hurricane Rita (which headed directly towards Houston as a category 5 hurricane but shifted slightly east shortly before landfall) presented many problems for Houston. Thousands of hurricane evacuees rushed into Houston after both of these hurricanes, but Hurricane Rita (which developed shorly after Hurricane Katrina) caused millions of residents to evacuate (or at least attempt to evacuate) the Houston area itself.