HOUSTON — Life-threatening floods devastated Houston following record-breaking rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. Here's how it got so bad.
Houston's proximity to the Gulf Coast makes it susceptible to storms. It's also flat and prone to flooding since the water has nowhere to go, reports Business Insider.
The city once had wetlands that acted like sponges to absorb excess water. But urban sprawl meant much of the green spaces have been covered with concrete, which is more water-resistant.
There are stormwater drains to catch the flow of rainwater, but these are largely outdated, and cannot handle high volumes.
Building regulations in Houston are also not as strict, which leads to many flood-prone residential structures being built in flood zones.
Some experts believe climate change may have also worsened Hurricane Harvey. And with worsening weather in our future, Houston's situation emphasizes the need for stricter flood control measures especially in coastal cities.