Houston at high risk for major damage from hurricanes

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State and local governments have done little to make the area more resilient. 

April 04, 2016
Houston at high risk for major damage from hurricanes

Photo: Susan Batterman/Creative Commons.

Metropolitan Houston is highly vulnerable to severely damaging floods from hurricanes, and state and local governments have done little to make the area more resilient.

Some communities in the area have also strengthened their building codes by mandating that new homes be elevated as much as 2 feet higher than the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance standards. Nevertheless, Houston is considered woefully underprepared for a direct hit from a storm of historic proportions.

Scientists have argued for the construction of a “coastal spine” that would extend Galveston’s century-­old, 17-foot seawall down the entire length of the island and along the peninsula to its north. It also would install floodgates at the entrance to Galveston Bay to block a storm surge from entering. The proposal has a price tag of at least $8 billion, could take several years, if not decades, to build.

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