Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Flood Sensors

Filed under: About The Author,Better Living Through Technology,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Marginalia and Notes from the Editor,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

This is mostly of local interest and probably would have been more help last week.

But, I’m hoping it will serve as a convenient place to find this information next year when the hurricane season starts again. And, yes, this is mostly relevant to the greater Houston area, where, dear readers, you will recall has been home since I moved here from the Chicago area in 1998. Since then, I’ve experienced a severe tropical storm, and the direct or indirect effects of three hurricanes (Katrina, Rita and Ike), before our latest Hurricane Harvey. Tropical Storm Allison was about the worst flooding event I had ever seen. My ex-wife and I were in an apartment with her daughter and woke up to find our part of town cut off from the rest of Houston by flooding. But, that flood didn’t stick around incredibly long and we were able to get out and drive the next day. That drive around my current neighborhood let us see which of the houses we had been looking at flooded. Obviously, we chose the one that didn’t and that’s where I live today with my current blushing bride. I’m pleased to say that we didn’t flood this time, either.
The thing people don’t realize about living down here is that it’s not usually the hurricane itself that causes the most damage. Rather, it’s the flooding caused by the rain that comes before, during and after. Hurricane Harvey dumped more than two feet of water on the greater Houston area. Some places got more than that. What was worse, though, is all the water running down from beyond the Houston area raising the levels of all the water ways that everyone here calls “bayous”. In theory, they should move all the water away from where we live and send it down to the Gulf. In reality, Houston is so over-built that they can’t always manage to do that.
My wife and I got lucky this time. The only water we got in our house was down our chimney and what came in on our dog. Our cars were both safe and dry. I know at least one person who’s parents have probably lost their house and two people who lost cars while trying to evacuate. This is the worst flooding that anyone can remember in Texas, and let me tell you, that’s saying something.
So, my link today is to the Harris County Flood Control District, who is the governmental group in charge of mitigating flooding events in Harris County, where Houston resides. Frankly, it’s not a job I envy, especially this week. But, for those who are concerned, they have a LOT of information about flooding in the area. Most importantly to me this past week or so, they are responsible for creating and maintaining the Harris County Flood Warning System, which has links to water-level sensors in bayous. If you go to their Interactive Mapping Tools, you can put in your address and find the closest sensors to you and what bayou is most likely to effect flooding in your area. I spent a good amount of time this weekend watching several of those sensors very, very closely. It was, to say the least, nerve-wracking, but, if things had gotten bad enough, I would have known right when I should either head to our second story or try to get out of the area if it was still possible.

Over the coming months, after hurricane season officially ends in November and before it starts again next year, I plan to add some resources here for emergency preparedness, starting with putting together a “go bag” in case of evacuation. Because, frankly, it’s never too early to start planning for next year.

And, next week, hopefully, I’ll have something a lot more fun to share with you than the grim reality of climate change, unchecked over-building, and preparing for the inevitable flooding disasters to come.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.


I’m Staying: Rita Part 1

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, I’m staying.
As long as I have an Internet connection and power, I’ll keep posting. I’m out in Jersey Village, which is 80 miles from the coast, roughly. Now, if you’re not familiar with Jersey Village, it has a reputation for flooding, but, not to worry, I’m on the highest point in JV. In fact, four years ago, after Tropical Storm Allison, we chose this house because it was one of the few that was high and dry. And, they’ve spent the past four years improving the way JV handles water runoff and such, so I’m pretty sure that I’ll be okay. I imagine that it will be a little crazy around here, but, I hope, the worst case scenario is that we’ll lose power for a couple of days. I hope.
Anyway, I’m staying. I’ll be tying down anything I’m afraid might fly away and dragging stuff into the garage tomorrow. Tomorrow night, I’m going to go have dinner with someone who’s also staying out in this area. My company shut down today, so that people could evacuate tomorrow, if need be, which means I’ll be home most of the day doing nothing. I guess I’ll read, watch the news, play with the dog and blog. After I get the other work done. Oh, and I’ll probably be praying, too.
Don’t worry about me, though. I have quite a bit of food and water. And, I have a natural gas stove and a wood-burner for backup. (All of which, I think I’ve already mentioned.) I’ve called my parents and my one sister who worries more than I do. I’m not sure what she thinks she can do for me up in Northern Illinois when the hurricane hits, but, well, I guess I’ll have to be sure to call her when it passes through and I’m okay. Oh, I also have batteries and candles and lots of frozen water, too, to try and keep the freezer and refridgerator cool if the power goes out. As for the rest, well, I guess I’ll just have to ride it out.
This is NOT why I wanted to live in Houston. Far too much excitement for this old man. Far too much!

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