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|Southeast Texas Flood Safety Awareness Week
March 12 - 16, 2012
|When it comes to flooding and flash flooding, a very important key to successful response - and survival - is preparedness. Floods and flash floods do happen across southeast Texas, and when they do they are often very destructive and deadly. To prepare for such events, the National Weather Service has designated Flood Safety Awareness Week to be March 12-16, 2012.
During Flood Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service will highlight several aspects of flooding, including Turn Around Don't Drown, Tropical Cyclone Inland Flooding, and Flood Insurance. Newspapers, broadcast media, safety organizations, and other local government officials are encouraged to work with their communities to disseminate flood safety awareness week information to prepare them for future flooding events across our area.
Flash flooding is a relatively common event over Southeast Texas. Tropical systems during the summer and early fall, and strong winter storm systems can cause widespread flooding and flash flooding across the area. Flash flooding can also be produced by strong slow-moving thunderstorms especially during the spring and summer months. Flooding and flash flooding can occur anywhere in southeast Texas, but is usually most severe near major watersheds like the Colorado, Brazos, San Jacinto or Trinity Rivers, and near urban areas like the Houston metropolitan area.
For more information on a variety of flood topics and flood safety resources, please click here to access the
National Flood Safety Awareness Week page
What are some major floods events that have impacted Southeast Texas?
- On April 17, 2009, persistent heavy rain produced severe flooding across portions of Harris County and surrounding areas. Rainfall totals of 8 to 10 inches were common. Numerous roads were closed in areas of the county, including Jersey Village, Houston Heights, La Porte, Pasadena, Webster, and near the Houston Hobby airport. More than 350 homes were flooded as area bayous overflowed. In some areas, residential streets were reported to have more than one foot of standing water. The highest one hour rainfall total was 6.90 inches recorded at Bay Area Blvd and Clear Creek. This exceeds the highest one hour rainfall rate measured during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, which was 6.30 inches. In the northern part of the county, five lives were lost after a car they were riding in inadvertently drove into a drainage ditch that was filled with nine feet of rain water.
- On August 16, 2007, Tropical Storm Erin made landfall along the middle Texas coast around the Port Aransas area. A southeast to northwest feeder band developed from Katy to the western end of Galveston Island in the morning and moved slowly eastward to a line from Clear Lake to Humble by late in the afternoon. Training of cells along this line combined with rainfall rates upwards of 4 to 5 inches per hour resulting in major street flooding and minor flooding of several bayous in Harris County. Widespread major street flooding occurred throughout the afternoon across the eastern half of Harris county with SH 288 impassable near the 610 south loop, I-10 east closed at Wayside, and numerous secondary roads closed along I-45 S, SH 225, and I-10 E. Flooding of homes and businesses occurred in the La Porte area where some structures were inundated with more than a foot of water. House flooding also occurred in the Pasadena area. There were also at least a dozen schools that received water damage. There were three fatalities from this flood. Two deaths were from a supermarket roof collapse under the weight of the heavy rainfall. The third death was from a vehicle that drove into a flooded detention pond.
- On June 19, 2006, some water rescues occurred with this flash flood event that brought flood waters into homes along area bayous and creeks. Sections of Sims, Halls and Hunting Bayous along with parts of Vogel and White Oak Creeks experienced significant flooding. The Washburn Tunnel was flooded and impassable while Interstate 10 at federal Streets bypass was under water. Approximately 3,370 homes were flooded in the Interstate 10 and Beltway 610 vicinity (Belfort an Telephone Roads).
- On June 8-9, 2001, Tropical Storm Allison devastated a large portion of Southeast Texas with an incredible amount of rain as she meandered around Southeast Texas for over five days. Between the 5th and the 10th, much of Houston and the surrounding areas to the north, east and south received between 15 and 35 inches of rain which caused devastating flooding and flash flooding. The largest amount fell over a 6 to 12 hour period on the 8th and 9th resulting in 22 deaths in the Houston area. More than 48000 homes were damaged (11000 with major damage and 3600 completely destroyed). More than 70000 automobiles were flooded during the storm. In Harris County alone, an estimated 300 billion gallons of water fell. This amount was enough to fill the Astrodome more than 5600 times! Allison ended up being the costliest tropical storm ever (>$5 billion) for the state of Texas and for the United States.
- On September 11, 1998, Tropical Storm Frances made landfall along the upper Texas coast on September 11th. As the storm moved inland, widespread heavy rainfall occurred in the Houston metropolitan area. Rainfall amounts of up to 16 inches were reported in the downtown Houston area. Frances caused extensive flooding along White Oak Bayou and flooded several major roads and freeways in the Houston area.
- The October 1994 Floods were perhaps the worst floods to impact southeast Texas on record. Lake Livingston recorded a record height on the 17th and a record flow of 110,000 cfs. Liberty recorded 30 inches of rainfall in less than 48 hours, and much of the city went underwater due to a failed levee system. Spring Creek and Lake Houston set new flood crest records. Several major highways into and out of Houston were flooded including I-45 north of Houston and US 59 northeast of Houston. Four fuel pipelines ruptured on the San Jacinto River, causing a massive fuel spill and widespread fires. An estimated 22,000 homes were flooded across southeast Texas during this event, with $900 million in damage reported. Seventeen fatalities resulted from the floods.
Southeast Texas Flash Flood Statistic Graphs