The shadow of 2019’s hurricane season looms over the areas that Hurricane Harvey devastated nearly two years ago. Harris County leaders have warned that areas already devastated by the 2017 mega-storm might be at more risk than ever. Why? Because the damage done by Hurricane Harvey remains throughout Harris County. The storm decimated the county’s flood protection, and officials have yet to repair it. So, a storm from nearly three years ago is still haunting residents with the possibility of more damage from flooding.
According to county officials, about 95 percent of the county’s flood control systems are still in need of repair. While efforts to fix the damaged infrastructure are underway thanks to a $2.5 billion bond passed by voters in August, no significant repair projects have been completed. About 156 projects from this bond have begun their planning phase, but officials need more time to complete them.
Why Has Repair Work Taken So Long?
After Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District funneled $5 million toward fixing immediate issues. After this money ran out, nothing was done to reinforce the county’s flood protection further. Alan Black, the district’s director of operations, revealed that no additional repairs were made because they had no funds.
Without funding, there was no way for crews to immediately address rebuilding concerns. Now, as it finally receives the funds it needs, the flood control district estimates that crews should finish significant repair projects by September 2020. Until then, Harris County residents must face the reality that storms less powerful than Harvey could once again flood their homes.
Harris County’s Risk of Significant Storm Surge in 2019
Harris County has more than 200 areas with eroded and collapsed river banks and slopes. This means that areas could experience significant flooding, even if no massive hurricanes make landfall in 2019. Hurricane-strength rain and wind may not even be required, due to weakened storm defenses. Even a weaker tropical storm could cause significant damage to Harris County, like with 2001’s Tropical Storm Allison.
“It’s a community concern, especially with residents who live on the streets right along the bayou itself,” community leader Keith Downey said. “Anytime there’s a rain, like three Thursdays ago … you could have three to four inches in the bayou, but that doesn’t mean the streets won’t flood.”
Recovery has been a long and difficult process for many throughout Harris County. However, those trapped in the red tape of the insurance process have an option: call Arnold & Itkin. We’ve fought for those who are struggling to receive compensation from their insurance company after Hurricane Harvey, helping our clients rebuild their homes and their lives. Call us for help with your hurricane insurance claim right now at (888) 400-2101.