Harvey, Houston and Flood Insurance

As I’m watching our neighbor city to the South be inundated by record breaking rains from hurricane Harvey,


PBS NewsHour, As Harvey floods Texas, Congress due to debate insurance program that’s underwater, Aug 29, 2017

A vast majority of Texas homeowners in areas under water from Tropical Storm Harvey lack flood insurance, and how to help them is sure to be a big political fight in Washington. Lisa Desjardins joins Miles O’Brien to take a closer look at the debate about the National Flood Insurance Program.

They don’t have flood insurance because a) the Bush II White House insisted on denying climate change and wouldn’t update flood maps and b) Trump is rolling back guidelines that Barack Obama instituted that would have made many of these homes be mandatorily covered for flood insurance. Flood insurance is there for a reason.

Like health insurance it is not a thing you should be economizing with. Also like the other insurance that’s not really insurance, some of us will need the insurance more than others, but all of us will have to pay the costs the system endures. Just another example of the value of early investment, or how it would be smartest to to engage in the architectural equivalent of preventative care and build to suit the location in the first place. Houston is a prime example of ignoring science and planning and essentially building stupid. No offense to Houstonians, most of which have little choice over where they live.

Houston has been stuck in a vicious circle. More people means more subdivisions, and more subdivisions means more runoff. That results in more flooding, which ends up affecting more people.

John Jacob, a wetlands expert who runs Texas A&M’s Coastal Watershed Program, has been warning about the dangerous effects of bulldozing natural flood barriers for years. The mission of his program is to share the science with communities to help them better cope with the fact that many of them live not much above sea level in hurricane country. He says he sees signs that Houstonians are finally coming to terms with the need to change their ways.

“The idea that we just don’t care is radically changing,” says Jacob. “The real-estate people, to them Houston is a one-night stand. The rest of us want this to be a place where our grandkids are happy and safe… This storm just cements that there’s consequences to the way we’ve done stuff.” – Quartz, August 29, 2017