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Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015

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Let It Rain [Jul. 21st, 2008|04:20 pm]
Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015

It looks like Hurricane Dolly is going to bring us some rain in a  couple of days. Although I hope we don't get too much, it would be just fine if we get a little bit more than enough.

[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-07-23 03:40 am (UTC)
Yes, I was in the area in 1981 and I know about that flood. That's small stream flooding, not the same as catastrophic river flooding you were quoting earlier. Incidentally, changes to building codes and management of Shoal Creek after that flood prevented similar damage in a similar incident of intense rainfall a decade and a half later. Small stream flooding in cities need cause no damage IF you can get the cities to give up property tax income to move structures off the floodplain (expanded, because development increases surface runoff and thus flooding.

The majority of damaging floods in cities in Central Texas is directly due to the greed of cities who want the property tax income from river/streamside property and developers who want the money from selling/renting the property. There's money in allowing people to build in the floodplains--tax money, construction money when the development is first done, sales money when the structures sell, and then more construction money when the structures are flooded and someone has to repair/rebuild them. With halfway sensible land management, there wouldn't be anyone there to be hurt.

Yes, Central Texas is at risk for high intensity rainfall--I do know that, I've lived in Texas all my life. Flash floods are normal for this area because that's the climate we have--even without hurricanes. High intensity rainfall will come, and streams will produce flash floods, especially where the ground is not permeable either because it is rock or because it's been paved and covered with housing/commercial building. It's not a disaster; it's a normal hazard of this area. It should be planned for (and avoided--most of the people who are killed in them *drive into rushing water*.

Small stream flooding is not the same order of magnitude as the big river floods--and I've seen those, too. I've seen the Rio Grande go from a muddy trickle you could walk over without wetting the tops of your shoes to bankful and filling two floodways even wider to the tops of the levees and spilling over in places. The airport in our town was under so deep that an Army DUKW drove over the tops of cars (crushing them); only the tops of the hangers stuck out. I've seen an oil rig in one of the floodways tilt over.

It's different off east, where a flood that started up at the fault line can come out of nowhere, and the land is flatter...and where, thanks to the idiocy (once again) of penny-pinching by certain politicians we now have fewer automatic reporting flood gauges than we used to. In the Hill Country, including Austin, it's known exactly where small-stream flash floods occur and the only reason structures and people get hurt is they don't stay out of those danger zones in a hard rain. Don't build your house by the creek. Don't drive through moving water. Expect a flood higher than any flood before, with the same rainfall, because there's more impervious surface to shed water.

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