flood

Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston on August 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Texas Army National Guard photo)

As the devastation Hurricane Harvey wrought two weeks ago becomes devastatingly clearer and flood waters slowly recede, many have asked: What would a similar flood look like in my neighborhood?  

And could something like this happen in Dallas? (more…)

If you forgot Dallas’ torrential weekend rains, Monday’s return certainly brought those memories … flooding back.

What’s up with that?  It’s not like rain is something new to Dallas.  Sure, depending on whether your beliefs are fact- or fiction-based, climate change may be making rains heavier, but we’ve always had deluge-type rain (when we’re not in drought).

So why does this city flood like it’s never seen a drop of water? Why do we have to repeat, “turn around, don’t drown” and mean it when the water is coming up to the running board of the SUV? There are many reasons, some just mother nature, some brought on by neglect and — shocker — our city’s indifference to infrastructure.

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Where Flushable Wipes Wind Up. Source: NYC Environmental Protection

Where Flushable Wipes Wind Up. Source: NYC Environmental Protection

Remember when the world was young and all you needed to do your business was a porcelain throne and a handy roll of paper of varying softness and quilty-ness?  Now we have $10,000+ toilets that treat our posterior as though every BM is a spa treatment.  For those who want to pay for their $10,000 toilet in installments, there are flushable wipes … the Swiffer Sweeper of the derrière that is costing cities and private homeowners millions a year in damage resulting from clogs.  (Swiffer being another completely unnecessary product that proved people can be bamboozled by advertising.)

Both Swiffer and the disposable wipe were born out of marketers’ minds to increase sales of paper based products and used modern society’s germaphobia to do it.  Take note: According to the Centers for Disease Control, “soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes” and yet we’ve gone hand sanitizer crazy.  Why?  Because soap is cheap and it costs more to place hand sanitizers every five feet … and we fell for it.

Swiffer replaced the very serviceable, very reusable mop with images of filthy mops in dank closets waiting to ignite the plague … and we fell for it.  Flushable wipes on the other hand don’t seek to replace toilet paper … the makers are in the paper business … they want you to use both! Literally paper-wipe-paper your bum each time.  Triple play for the maker. And we’ve fallen for it to the tune of $6 billion according to a 2014 New York Post article.

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Lindsey Diaz was planning to come back to her tornado-damaged home in Rowlett, but that's not possible after a company mistakenly demolished it (Photo: David Goins/WFAA)

Lindsey Diaz was planning to come back to her tornado-damaged home in Rowlett, but that’s not possible after a company mistakenly demolished it (Photo: David Goins/WFAA)

It’s one thing to tear down the wrong home, but it’s another to leave the victim of your mistake high and dry. That’s what is happening to Lindsey Diaz, a homeowner in Rowlett whose property was damaged in the recent tornado. But she was planning to come back to her duplex, not demolish it, according to the report from WFAA Channel 8’s David Goins:
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We were not prepared. Were you?

We were not prepared. Were you?

I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve covered at least a dozen tornadoes in my career, and yet, as
my family and I huddled in the small hallway in the center of our home Saturday night fearfully watching the weather on my iPad, I realized how woefully unprepared we were for a disaster.

I mean, sure, we had the basics down. Shelter. I had my wallet with insurance information, ID, credit cards, etc. We had something to monitor the weather with (our phones and iPad). But sitting on the couch later, anxiously watching the news with my heart in my throat, I realized how many things we missed. The dog was not on a leash. The bike helmets were MIA. The medication I take daily was sitting on the counter in the bathroom. We weren’t even wearing shoes. True, part of that was due to the fact that I could tell only the outer edges of the cell were touching our neighborhood, but later I found that others who thought the same thing were now cleaning up their homes after a tornado hit (in Sunnyvale) just a couple hundred feet from their neighborhood.

What in the hell was I thinking?

So this morning, I decided to talk to an expert, do some research, and make sure my family – and yours – is prepared for the worst. (more…)

Photo courtesy Zillow

Photo courtesy Zillow

Update: I’m hearing multiple reports from residents and people who live and work near vantage points for the top of the parking garage who are saying that a contractor had been storing fill dirt in the area that collapsed.

We are still working on the details, but reports are that part of a parking garage at the Renaissance on Turtle Creek at 3225 Turtle Creek Blvd. has collapsed. After viewing a picture of the actual collapse, I can say it looks like several parking spaces just dropped through several levels of the Turtle Creek garage. It appears that fire and police are on the scene, and search and rescue as well as canine search and rescue are on the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that might be affected by this pretty scary looking multi-level collapse, and hope that the only things injured are cars.

From Twitter:

Folks, be careful tonight. I can say for sure that there are so many roads (that you wouldn’t even think would flood) are covered over with water. There are many road closures. Once you get home from work, stay home – there’s more coming and the rain is coming down again after that brief break this afternoon.

 

 

Some Houston residents had to canoe through their neighborhoods during recent floods. (Photo: CNN)

Some Texans had to canoe through their neighborhoods during recent floods. (Photo: David J. Phillip/AP)

I grew up north of Houston in a town that straddled Interstate 45 – the preferred thoroughfare for hurricane evacuation from the Bayou City — just a few hundred feet from the San Jacinto River. From an early age, my brother and sisters learned that, while the high winds from a hurricane can pose a significant danger, it was the flooding that caught most people off guard. After riding out several storms and even having evacuated from Hurricane Rosa via National Guard helicopter in 1994 (the only way in and out of our neighborhood was via canoe at that point), I’ve put together a checklist for riding out a tropical storm and surviving a flood.

Of course, not everyone has a canoe or kayak to navigate their neighborhood after the waters rise, there are some ways you can make sure you stay high and dry should severe weather hit your ‘hood.

Jump for more information on sheltering in place in the event of severe weather.

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E. Lake Highlands Drive was washed over by the Dixon Branch as last night's storm caused flash flooding in areas throughout East Dallas.

E. Lake Highlands Drive was washed over by the Dixon Branch as last night’s storm caused flash flooding in areas throughout East Dallas. (Photo: Jo England)

The water flowed swiftly and steadily down the slope of Lake Terrace to E. Lake Highlands Drive, and on toward Dixon Branch, the nearby creek. The waters began to creep up over the banks, and then over the curb, and then covered much of the street. High water had come, but with more rain in the forecast could hell be next?

This wasn’t an uncommon theme last night, as several East Dallas residents dealt with flooding, especially those near creeks and ditches surrounding White Rock Lake Park. While flash flooding in Houston drove home the real danger of getting caught in rising water while in your car, what about those who had never imagined floodwaters invading their normally dry homes?

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A woman and two children inspect the flooded greenbelt at Lawther and Northwest Highway. (Photo: Jo England)

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Access roads from White Rock Lake to Buckner Boulevard were taped off by police as several inches of water covered them. (Photo: Jo England)

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An access road at Buckner Boulevard and Northwest Highway was still under several inches of water after last night’s storm. (Photo: Jo England)

That’s what had Lori Roberts terrified last night, as she watched the drainage culvert near her Casa View Haven home quickly become the kind of crested rapids that rafters love. But then it topped the concrete banks and crept up the street, and then up her driveway, and then perilously close to her home.

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