The Problem

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It happens slowly but within a couple of hours the problem is created.  Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Virtually every U.S. state has experienced floods and everybody has some risk of flooding. In fact, there is a 26 percent chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage compared to a 4 percent chance of fire.  Flooding is a major problem in the city of Houston.  Flood is the temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of water on normally dry land areas. There are various reasons for the cause of flooding, some of them are: Deep snow cover, Deep snow can melt into a lot of water.   Deep snow very rarely causes flooding by itself.  Often, heavy rain and rapid warm ups combine with rapidly melting snow to cause major flooding problems.  Frozen ground, frozen soil can not absorb as much water as unfrozen soil. Wet or saturated soil, saturated soil can't absorb heavy rain. The excess water becomes runoff that rapidly flows into rivers and streams.  This tends to occur in the aspects of Houston that floods when ever it rains.  Full reservoirs, reservoirs are large, mostly man-made basins that hold water for irrigation and drinking. Reservoirs can alleviate river flooding by absorbing and spreading out flood crests flowing down the river.  High river and stream levels, streams or rivers that are already at bank full can be a precursor to major flooding.  Heavy rain that flows into an already full river will cause the river to overflow its banks and flood nearby locations. High river levels make forecasters very nervous anytime a storm threatens to dump heavy rain over the region. A prolonged dry spell, however, can alleviate flooding concerns.  Widespread and heavy rain, this is perhaps the most important and influential factor of them all. Long periods of heavy rain can cause flooding even if all other factors are unfavorable for flooding. Often, heavy rain is a cause of some of the factors listed above such as wet soils, high stream levels and full reservoirs.   Nature is not the only cause of flood, new construction and paving alter land's ability to drain properly. As a result, run-off is increased two to six times over what would occur on natural terrain. Areas that were initially zoned as low-risk can quickly become high-risk as urban development alters typography.

A reservoir in Galveston.

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            Houston tends to fall into trouble when there is long period of heavy rain.  It experienced this in 2001 when Allison came into town.  Tropical Storm Allison was the first named storm of the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season, it devastated portions of Southeast Texas, including the Houston Metro area and surrounding communities, with severe flooding. Allison spent five days over Southeast and East Texas and dumped record amounts of rainfall across the area. There were three distinct heavy rain events. The first event was associated with Allison's landfall on the 5th and affected northern Galveston and southern and eastern Harris counties. The second event on the 7th stretched from southern Liberty County southwestward into the Houston area and northern Fort Bend County. The third and most devastating event on the 8th and 9th stretched from Conroe to The Woodlands to Houston and on into northern Galveston County again. At least twenty-two fatalities associated with the flooding occurred with this third event. Nearly 37 inches of rain was recorded at the Port of Houston during Allison's five day rampage.  Allison left the city of Houston in a 4.88 billion dollar depth.  The city was devastated for at least two years because they had never experienced something like it.  The tropical storm flooded houses, cars, highways, skyscrapers, schools and even hospitals.  The city had not experienced any thing like it; the closest was tropical storm Alicia that occurred in 1983.  The storm did not only turn the city into an ocean, it caused lots of other problems.  People were unable to go anywhere, cars were dying all over, and there were lots of stagnant water.  When ever there is stagnant water, there is the problem with mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes are insects that reproduce rapidly in stagnant water.  These insects carry lots of diseases, some which are deadly.  The city of Houston had a big problem with mosquitoes; they were everywhere and were causing lots of people to have fever.  The mosquitoes added to the problem the city already had, the hospitals were full from those that got injured in the flood and then they had to attend to those who were getting sick from the mosquitoes bites.  The problems that Allison created are the problems that occur when ever it rains.  It creates traffic, pollution, flooding, and even sickness.   It was written in the National Inquire that a house which was worth just about 153,000 dollars had to be rebuilt so many times that the city actually spent more than 650,000 dollars just to restore it in a matter of six years.  The city is fixing the problem rather that trying to eliminate the problem.  Itís like having a basket and pouring water in it knowing that it will all drain away.  There are various solutions to this problem. 

 

Above, a picture of Tropical Storm Allison while it was in Houston.  Below, the after effects of happens in Houston after a storm.

 

Lots of communities received excessive damages that costs the city millions of dollars .

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(story continues on the solution page)