Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Houston Tries to Dry out after the Deluge ; Surprise Storm That Soaked the Nation's Fourth-Largest City Caused $1 Billion in Damage - and Ruined a Lot of Carpeting

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Houston Tries to Dry out after the Deluge ; Surprise Storm That Soaked the Nation's Fourth-Largest City Caused $1 Billion in Damage - and Ruined a Lot of Carpeting

Article excerpt

Ellen Adams will be spending the next few days with a mop and a bucket of bleach. It's been 36 hours since a boat rescued her family from their waterlogged home, and she's finally getting a look around.

Tiles from their freshly laid kitchen floor are scattered about, along with mounds of mud and other debris that came pouring in off the street.

In her head, she tallies up everything that needs to be replaced: the carpeting, the kitchen floor, the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator and air conditioner, all the doors, the wallboard, pieces of furniture.

"But that's about it," she says in the most encouraging tone she can muster.

The Adamses are among the estimated 15,000 Harris County residents evacuated from their homes in the wake of tropical storm Allison, which submerged southeast Texas over the weekend. The surprise storm, the first of the hurricane season, is responsible for some of the worst flooding in the region's history; it has now moved heavily and soggily into Louisiana.

"This is the worst disaster I've ever witnessed," said Houston Mayor Lee Brown after touring the city by helicopter with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "Hurricanes come and go, but this storm didn't leave."

Allison lingered over the Houston area for days, feeding off itself and pounding the fourth-largest city in America. At least 17 people were killed in Texas, with at least one death reported in Louisiana. City officials estimate that damage to Houston alone will tally $1 billion. The high cost stems from the fact that the target was a large urban area, rather than a "no-man's land."

"It just meandered around the area, and because it was moving so slowly, it dumped copious amounts of rain," says Brian Kyle, a forecaster with the Houston Weather Research Center.

Indeed, Allison dropped as much as 36 inches of rain in four days. Its only rival in this region is the 1979 tropical storm Claudette, which dropped more than 40 inches of rain over southwest Houston in 24 hours - still the North American record for rainfall. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.