‘I Can’t Do This’: Imelda Left Texas With at Least 5 Deaths and Historic Rainfall

One woman was still looking for a missing son after the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history. “He can’t swim,” she said.

Comments: 53

  1. Climate crisis? What climate crisis? $6,100 million for seawalls and a surge barrier will not save the Houston area from on-shore rains like this. It's time to buy out small-timers in low lying flood prone areas. It would be feasible to protect oil refineries from floods, but oil companies should pay for it, not the Army Corps of Engineers.

  2. Where are we all going to live if previous bad weather is the litmus test?

  3. @Sandy FLA Get ready to build on stilts! Not sure where you will continue to get drinking water though, especially since your state is giving it away free to the Swiss company Nestle! Guess you can pay big bucks to buy it in plastic bottles!

  4. @Sandy FLA What does your president who is skipping the Climate meetings at the UN say? He's going to a meeting on religious freedom so I guess prayer will be his solution.

  5. Hundred year rainfalls two years apart! Should we wait until they're two months apart? Let engineers, hydrologists, climatologists, geologists, urban planners and architects figure out what to do. Keep the always weak kneed and self serving politicians out of it. Then take the plan to elected officials. Action was needed at least 10 years ago. Now it is a flashing yellow light,red flag national emergency.

  6. @Kathleen This is actually the 3rd event since 2015. In the Spring of that year there was a deluge that caused Braes Bayou to over flow it banks. It had happened in years past but the houses on the south side of the bayou would get hit by flooding. My sister and her family had lived on the North side for 40 years but 5 blocks away. Due to slight elevation no water had ever entered their house. In 2015 two or 3 inches did and their carpet was replaced. Then in 2017 Harvey comes and they have 3 feet of water there. Much more extensive damage and they are forced to move from a house and neighborhood they loved. They just moved into a high rise tower on a high floor. They still own the house but their youngest daughter has returned to Texas and is now occupying the house. They had originally hoped to live out their lives in that house. They said so far the house is dry. their apt is dry and their daughter house is dry So Far. They have good insurance and financial resources, never the less they have had traumatic times the last 4 and a half years. Call it what you will but we're undergoing xtreme periods of weather here and globally. In my opinion the previous County Judge could have done more in flood control rather than try to refurbish the Astrodome for 300 Millions bucks.

  7. @Kathleen - Hundred year rainfalls? Here is a timeline of Harris County and flooding. Its a way of life and always has been for Houston since it was first formed as a settlement. The link below is to the Harris County Flood Control District which was formed after massive flooding in the 30's. The media love to call every storm a 1,000 year storm or a 1,000 year hurricane but they seem to never check their facts. https://www.hcfcd.org/media/2381/historytimeline-24x36-1.pdf

  8. @tom harrison Interesting post Tom, thanks. I'd like to see the rainfall inches per year. Your post mention storms but storms is not the pont; there have always been storms. What has changed is the volume of water the storms deliver. 48", 60", these are unheard of numbers and this is where the change has come. For example your post mentions Hurricane Audrey and flooding. Audrey dropped less than 11". Hurricane Carla was 7". These used to be big numbers.

  9. Houston we have a problem. We love you and wish you a speedy recovery from all of this mess. Let the rest of the country know what we can do to help you. I'm serious in my sentiments. And, while I have your attention, it is noted that Houston is the capital of the U.S. Petroleum Business, perhaps the largest in the World, and a vast engine moving us towards Carbon emissions and major planetary challenges for our kids and their kids. Any chance you would work with the rest of us to fight against global warming and climate change, instead of using your immense wealth to promote fake science, industry PR, and more of the same? Because the waters are not receding.

  10. Home owners in these areas need to pay market value for their home insurance -- i.e. stop building in flood-prone areas. This is the definition of insanity.

  11. Here in North Georgia, we haven't had any significant rain in two plus months and there's none in the near forecasts. We're also having temperatures in the 90's, more typical of July. Atlanta broke a record for the highest temperature in 119 yrs. last week - 99 degrees (previous record was 95). It's gotten so bad, an acquaintance I believe to be republican, remarked the other day that he was getting really concerned as the rather large lake in our community is over a foot down, trees and other foliage are showing signs of distress if not outright dying, and wild things - animals and insects - are seen where they shouldn't be. Even the birds, whose numbers seem few, are eerily subdued. Oh, and we're under a constant alert for fire. Yet this storm parked itself over Houston and drowned it. Again. One extreme to another. Exactly as was predicted. But this abomination of a president that we're also trying to survive still calls climate change a hoax and is rolling back every effort made in the last few decades meant to slow down the damage. And the only thing I've heard him say about (still ravaged) Puerto Rico or the widespread devastation in the Bahamas is those desperate people can't come here because "they're bad people, criminals and drug dealers". Good luck Houston, you're gonna need it, as will the rest of us when the next random freak weather event comes to our town. It's just a matter of time. 11/3/2020 Vote Blue No Matter Who

  12. @Deb Didn’t Georgia just go through a record drought in 07-08, with lake Lanier going bone dry? Droughts and floods, droughts and floods.

  13. @Deb Republicans only care about racism. They don't mind their children getting slaughtered and shot, they don't mind getting bail-outs for farms, and they don't care that their family members are dying of opioids--it is all about owning the libs, when in fact, the libs are safe in California, Washington, and Oregon and we just laugh at the Republicans homes flying away. Reap it.

  14. So many peoples homes and businesses taking on water, right after rebuilding from Harvey. That is clear proof that those homes and businesses should be bought out instead of rebuilt. We must avoid bankruptcy and convert the National Flood Insurance Program into a buy out and relocate program, instead of a throw away money program.

  15. @Federalist I agree. Time to face reality.

  16. @Federalist - Read about the history of Houston since it was a settlement. Nothing but major floods with bad planning.

  17. @Federalist I respect your point but to leave Houston would be leaving our community. Our child is in an early college program here, my job is here, those things are not easily replaceable. Also, I’ve never been unemployed here for long. That’s huge.

  18. Texas needs a state income tax to fund the infrastructure that is needed to protect people from climate change. A state with too few zoning regulations created this mess by allowing everyone to have whatever they wanted wherever they wanted it. Well time to get out those bootstraps. The Texas legislature should stop spending their time making it easier to obtain and carry guns and control women and just do their job.

  19. I hate watching my American brothers and sisters suffer like this. It breaks my heart every time. I live in Salt Lake City, and we have our own problems with climate change, just like everyone else, but if you want to get away from the storms, we're 4,000 feet above the water. Know that you're all welcome here.

  20. @Stephen - would the good people of Salt lake City welcome millions of climate refugees? Like, the entire population of Florida?

  21. Developers and unbridled development with no zoning or planning created Swamp Houston. A city of building and concrete leaves nowhere for the water to go. Learn to swim, dog paddle, buy a flat bottomed boat or get out.

  22. @Bill the rural areas east of Houston aren't paved over like the city. No infrastructure can handle 43 inches of rain. They've had two 500 year floods in two years.

  23. “We’re talking about going to my mother’s in Colorado. I can’t do this. I’m not putting my kids through this anymore.” This could be the new migration, similar to the dust bowl, but with rain & storms versus drought. While areas like Texas, Florida, and Louisiana may have nice weather most of the time, there is also the inherent problems of torrential rains, hurricanes and flooding. These storms are no longer "once in 100 or 500 years". Insurance will become harder to secure if they even bother to get flood insurance at all. How many times do you want to replace everything you own? Climate change is not a Chinese hoax. And every one of the states mentioned above have Greed Over People party leadership. Let's hope they eventually come to believe in science, and hope that it's not too late.

  24. @MotownMom - Its interesting when I hear the term 100 , 500, or 1,000 year storm because a simple google search of "Houston floods" shows that this has been happening since the city was first formed. Take a look at downtown Houston during some of the floods during the 30's. Read about how the settlement was wiped out by a flood soon after being formed. Houston was/is a bad choice and was poorly planned and the more it sprawls out slapping down concrete, the worse it gets.

  25. God bless these good folks. I used to work in the oil patch in Houston - and been to many of these places. Not a good time to say this - but Beaumont is locally called Boremount - as folks think how little anything happens. Given Imelda - they wish it was really boring. I cannot fathom so much rain in such a short time - simply unbelievable.

  26. This is what happens when infrastructure can’t handle flood waters from Climate Change. And what will the Feds do....what will cities and counties do to make it right? Probably nothing. Like Houston. Money talks. Period. So corruption and irresponsible planners win. Greedy developers win. Mr and Mrs Citizen lose. Same ole same ole.

  27. @GWQ there's probably no infrastructure that can handle 43 inches of rain. They've had two 500 year floods in two years.

  28. @Eric If Houston had been built in a locale that was not previously wetlands, appropriate infrastructure could have been built. But Houston goes for the profits...not zoning laws that make sense. Exploitation of land. Irresponsible development. Corruption built Houston.

  29. When superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey in 2012 Senator Ted Cruz and a few others blocked an aid package for almost 6 months.

  30. @robert So you're saying that there are liberal Democrats from NJ , NY and Mass who have long memories and would do so to retaliate. As a Yellow Dog Democrat from sway back I never trusted him. When DJT starting castigating him I was impressed as to how quickly Cruz folded. The other Republicans saw how vicious Don was and they got away from the meat grinder. We know that two curried favors and are now the two longest serving cabinet members: Perry and Carson I suspect if by chance Pence is sworn in they will offer their resignations knowing their Federal pension will arrive shortly thereafter along with Carson's nice furniture.

  31. Pathetic that most of these people will stay out and hope for the best or trust in god....we need to stop this insanity and people need to be held accountable for their choices.....

  32. @Bob: It isn't that simple to pick up and move away from an area you may have lived in most of your life. It takes money, connections, education, knowledge, and job skills.

  33. We could have skipped Imelda for some other name with a İ. A despicable character who prayed on her people with her equally horrid husband.

  34. @Blunt But she did so in style having thousands of pairs of expensive designers shoes. Blunt by the way for younger readers was referring to the Marcoses, a true elected dictator of the Phillipenes who had expensive living quarters in NYC. A lot of their money came from Us for several reasons. During WW 2 we gave up the country to Japan but then won it back. Later on we kept on making substantial payments to keep our naval fleet during the Vietnam War. I'm sure this increased as LBJ got deeper in and probably skyrocketed when Tricky Dick took over. At some point they left, the man died and Imelda became a rich widow who I'm sure Trump took notice of and saw the good way to handle poor people is to either ignore them or lock em up. There have been some truly democratic regimes over the last 4 decades with the current president handling illicit drug dealers his way. He has authorized his police and military to kill them dead. I'm not sure when the next elections are but I don't expect he will garner much support from drug dealers.

  35. @Blunt I have suggested for years giving all tropical storms names of notorious male and female criminals such as Sante Kimes, H H Holmes et cetera, why not?

  36. My condolences. I am amazed that it was only three people. I have fished, hunted and just wandered all through this area including stopping for lunch/dinner in every town mentioned here. This area is fit only for mosquitoes, alligators and air boats. The average land height is about 15ft and most of it lower. I have seen high tides push water far inland. Yet these people chose to live in this area. There is a price to pay.

  37. @ltf As usual, those who can least afford to pay, will end up paying the bill.

  38. People keep talking about “rebuilding houses that previously flooded”. Yet that really demonstrates a failure to understand the issue. Many of these houses have been there since the 60’s and never flooded before Harvey. Everyone was told it was a 500 year flood plane. You don’t even need to have flood insurance, yet it flooded again. The flood maps are literally being rewritten. So, the assumption that people should know better, is deeply flawed. The problem is that no one really can predict the next area of flooding, when it is likely, or how to prevent it. From the North East it all looks like, “Houston”, because the Houston region is about 100 miles wide. Or it all looks like, “Texas”, because Texas is 790 Miles wide. As Americans we should be working together to the benefit of the whole country, not prejudging one another based on minor regional differences.

  39. @Covert We used to do that. When Texas starts complaining that the administration revoked California's emissions waver, maybe Californians will take you seriously about working together again.

  40. We moved away from New Orleans after Katrina. The handwriting is on the wall, so to speak. Climate change is real. If we want to help people, we should help them move to higher ground, not rebuild homes that will certainly flood again.

  41. When are these red states going to wake up and want our government to take climate science seriously?

  42. @Judy Petersen Judy, Sadly I expected things to change much earlier. I read Silent Spring by Carson many years ago, took one of the first Ecology courses at UT Austin to satisfy my science requirement along with about 200 other students. That was in 1974. The need for cheap energy demanded nuclear energy. Unfortunately some business groups cut corners and events like Three Mile Island happen. Degradation of our planet has been going on for several centuries. It just takes the will of an educated population to elect people who don't look for the cheapest way to do things. Not just here but in Brazil China , Africa . I can think of only 20 or so countries whereby their actions actually reflect their commitment. Japan is not one of them. Trump and his cronies are taking things in reverse and future generations will suffer because of him.

  43. Texas is GOP country. Trump is in Calif yapping about the homeless and he will do nothing for all these red state people who are left with nothing. Know why? Because he knows they are not going to contribute to GOP campaigns and are gerrymandered for their votes.

  44. @pb You May want to check Houston’s voting record and who they supported in the 2016 election before succumbing to stereotype.

  45. What has been happening, probably for the last decade or so, is that the Tropics are expanding. This is one of the many climate change topics discussed in meetings, seminars, and hallway discussions among atmospheric scientists. This storm began in the Gulf during a period when the "tropical" easterlies (up to 300hPa or about 30,000 ft) had pushed as high as S. Missouri (as I recall), once wound up (cyclonic vorticity) in the Gulf it moved northwestward (similar to cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, good but complex reasons for that) into Mid-latitude flow systems which "kept it going". This broad picture could also be seen in Hurricane Sandy, Harvey and the Front Range floods in Colorado. While Attribution Science may not be able to peg this one as influenced by climate change because of the short historical record for rainfall, the broad picture is something to consider.

  46. Ask Trump, why could he use the money for the wall to build the dam, pumping station and canal to protect the red state who voted for him.?

  47. I wonder if Trump, who is scheduled to speak at the Howdy Modi rally in Houston Sunday with 50,000 of Modi's most faithful American supporters expected to attend , will take a sidetrip to visit those affected by the storm, or even speak to latest Texas climate emergency.

  48. "The planet will be here for a long, long, long time after we’re gone and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself ’cuz that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. ” --George Carlin, "The Planet is Fine."

  49. Climate catastrophe hits Texas below the belt again and again, where many of the oil and gas headquarters are located. When will Texas residents connect the dots? Global warming = caused by burning fossil fuels. A Karmic connection?

  50. Unexpectedly? Marshall Shepherd from the weather channel was warning them on Monday.

  51. It seems that storms with this instensity are now the norm at least once a year along the Gulf. We should assume that they could come twice, or more each year in the near future.

  52. It's sad how the people who do not believe in Climate change will be affected by the most! I only hope they are smart and move somewhere else!

  53. I do find it interesting listening to people saying they couldn't live in California because of 'all those earthquakes'. The last one was some years ago, and yet in many other parts of the country there are tornados, hurricanes, and floods every year and often more than once a year. The damage is often the same as after an earthquake. Deaths more. I guess it's better to live with the devil you know than the devil you don't know, to quote an adage. Having lived in California since 1968 (UK-Canada-US) I'll stay put.