The entire Houston area is set upon the eastern coastal prairie of Texas. The ground below is mostly flat, and mostly clay – a combination which does not drain quickly. Our Texas thunderstorms are known for intense rainfall amounts.
Our city streets are designed to move storm water to our bayous in an effort to minimize flooding of homes and buildings. However, sudden and significant flooding is possible at any time of the year. Drivers and pedestrians should be aware that sudden rainfalls will bring high water on our local streets and roadways. In recent years, severe thunderstorms have brought havoc to various areas of the Greens Bayou Corridor.
In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dropped an unprecedented – and certainly unexpected – 35-inch deluge across Harris County, impacting much of the vast Greens Bayou Watershed, which spreads across 210 square miles. Allison flooded 141 square miles (close to two thirds) of our watershed, including a staggering 28,000 homes. Greens Bayou overflowed its banks in multiple areas and was recorded at 6.81 feet above flood stage at US 59.
In late October and early November 2002, strong thunderstorms streamed across west and north Houston dumping five to eight inches of rain in a short time. These storms flooded homes in Jersey Village and many roads in the area. Flooding was compounded by nine straight days of rain over northeast Harris County. White Oak, Greens and Halls Bayou were out of their banks, flooding 2,000 homes.
Mid-November 2003 brought major flooding to the Aldine area. In addition to heavy rains, 24 tornadoes touched down during a 15-hour period of severe weather in southeastern Texas on Nov. 17. Approximately 300 homes and hundreds of vehicles in Harris County were flooded. Greens Bayou at Beltway 8 overflowed its banks and was recorded at 3.61 feet above flood stage at US 59.
Citizens in Action
The frequency and severity of these flooding events compelled area leaders to seek large-scale flood control improvements. The Greenspoint District organized the Greens Bayou Task Force to work with Harris County Flood Control District on developing a plan and seeking federal funding.
After the completion of a major feasibility study, Harris County Flood Control District developed the Greens Bayou Mid-Reach Flood Damage Reduction Plan. This master plan for stormwater management along Greens Bayou includes 11 miles of channel improvements, the construction of four stormwater detention basins, and the replacement or modification of 19 bridges. Two of the basins, Kuykendahl and Glen Forest, will receive post-Ike FEMA funding and will begin construction in 2015.
Upstream at W. Greens Road and Antoine the planned Federal Flood Mitigation and Coastal Damage Reduction project was authorized in the 1990 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Bill. Harris County Flood Control purchased the land for the project which includes two cells totaling 139 acres and 3.7 miles of channel modifications, in 1997. Because of the strategic of The Coalition’s Public Policy Committee and engagement by the surrounding communities the project was one of four across the nation to receive funding in a bill signed in February 2015. Construction of this $58 million project is scheduled to begin in 2015. Together with the two mid-reach basins more than $132 million will be invested in flood mitigation projects in the Greens Bayou watershed.
More information on the projects can be found in the Progress Greens Stormwater Detention Basins_FactSheet
Greens Bayou Watershed
- Harris County Flood Control District
- Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project, includes flood preparedness
- City of Houston Office of Emergency Management
- Weather Research Center Flood Almanac