A lot of families in the Houston area were caught off guard with Hurricane Harvey. Many did not have flood insurance. Because we live in a place that is prone to flooding due to its geography, land type and the fact that a large portion of the area has been covered in impermeable surfaces, it is important that residents know the risk they may have when purchasing property. Resources exist, unfortunately the government officials, the media and academia have not been very good at sharing these resources. None of these resources are perfect and there is some debate in the accuracy of our flood maps, however, these resources can at least add an additional data point for land and property purchases.
Buyers BeWhere – Brought to you by Texas A&M Corpus Christi – Center for Texas
Beaches and Shores. This site provides individual parcel level data for Harris and Galveston County. By clicking on a parcel an individual can learn their Hazard Risk Score for Hurricanes, Floods, Wildfires and Air Pollutions. It is the Zillow for risk hazard information. It even has your Zillow home prices.
Harris County Flood Education Mapping Tool – The Harris County Flood Control District’s Flood Education Mapping Tool is for general information purposes only and may not be suitable for legal, engineering or surveying purposes. The view here shows the floodplain layer. The floodplains shown on this mapping tool are those delineated on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM or floodplain map) for Harris County that was adopted in 2007, as well as updates that have been made through a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) since 2007. This mapping tool is not an effective FIRM. The effective FIRM is produced, maintained and published by FEMA and not by the Harris County Flood Control District. Please visit FEMA’s Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov to view the effective FIRM for Harris County. For an official floodplain determination, please contact an insurance agent or mortgage lender.
Flood Alert System – This is brought to you by Rice University and the Texas Medical Center. The Rice University and Texas Medical Center Flood Alert System is an integrated system utilizing radar, rain gage information, bayou stage data, and hydrologic modeling for the purpose of issuing flood warnings and forecasts for the Rice University / TMC Complex. While available to the general public, this information should not be used or acted on without verification from the National Weather Service or a local Emergency Service provider. Rice University and the TMC are not responsible for any misuse of the information presented herein.
NOAA National Storm Surge Hazard Map – A map developed by NOAA to help residents in hurricane prone areas to better understand their risk to storm surge. Further, this map can help inform whether it is necessary to evacuate a certain area with the approach of a storm. Storm surge is the water that is pushed onshore by a hurricane’s winds. The stronger the storm (category 1-5), the higher the wind, which results in greater storm surge.
Hurricane Evacuation Map – Here is another tool to help residents better understand their risk to storm surge and whether or not they would need to evacuate if there was a direct hit to the Houston-Galveston region by a hurricane. This map indicates evacuation zones due to threat by hurricane storm surge and flooding. When a severe weather event occurs, the emergency management organizations may start evacuating areas based on evacuation zone name.
Galveston Bay Report Card – This is more of an informational tool of the quality and state of Galveston Bay. It does indicate some potential threats to coastal communities. It provides the public with citizen-driven, science-based measures to assess the health of the bay. The Report Card website discusses topics such as the status of key habitats, fish and wildlife populations, trends in water quality of local bayous and the bay, and impacts of coastal change and sea level rise. In 2017, Galveston Bay scored a grade of C for the third year. That means that the bay and its rivers and bayous are faring well, in spite of significant challenges. Galveston Bay is thriving in many respects.
Harris County Flood Warning System – Harris County has rain and stream gauges around the county that track in near realtime rainfall and bayou/stream elevations. I use this tool during the rain events. This tool is not for long-term planning but is useful for short-term planning if you are wondering whether it is flooding in our area or not and if it is time to evacuate.
All resources here are provided strictly for informational purposes. This information should not be seen as advice or guidance on how anyone should make decisions in regards to anything.