The widespread flooding in Houston caused by a Tropical Storm Imelda is a potent reminded that water, not wind, can be the chief driver of destruction in this part of the world during hurricane season.
The storm’s worst rainfall skirted dangerously close to Louisiana, where we know all too well about the dangers of downpours from tropical weather. An unnamed tropical system in 2016 left large parts of the Baton Rouge area underwater. More recently, brief but heavy rainstorms have caused flooding in several parts of south Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Many scientists think these epic rainmakers could be the new normal as a result of climate change. That’s a sobering thought for those of us along the Gulf Coast, and it underscores the importance of strengthening the region’s resilience against flooding.
In the meantime, our hearts are with the people of Houston, who are already veterans of flood disasters after enduring Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Houston opened its arms to many Louisianans displaced by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We know that Louisiana residents will want to acknowledge that connection in helping Houstonians recover from Imelda.
In the meantime, hurricane season continues through the end of November. The destruction so far — from Dorian and Imelda — affirms the value of being prepared and keeping our guard up.