Proposed Standards Would Have Saved 84 Percent of Homes From Harvey

March 13, 2018
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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to put stricter building standards to City Council vote in March 2018. Analysis from Houston Public Works says such standards could have saved 84 percent of homes in the floodplains affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Mayor Turner is proposing to have homes placed two feet above the 500-year flood level, which the Public Works report says would have saved 84 percent of homes. If homes were raised to three feet above the 500-year flood level, 93 percent of the homes studied would have been saved from Harvey-related flooding, The Houston Chronicle reports. A 500-year storm has a 0.2 percent chance of flooding in any given year, whereas a 100-year storm has a 1 percent chance of happening in that time.

Of the 31,822 flooded single-family homes Public Works examined, an estimated 48 percent of them would not have flooded during Harvey if all of them had been built to the city’s current elevation standard, which was set in 2006. That rule requires that new or redeveloped homes sit one foot above the projected water level in a 100-year flood (also known as a storm that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year).

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