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Hurricane Harvey

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The 1913 flood led to the Miami Conservancy District, a political division of the State of Ohio, which built 5 large normally-dry reservoirs on the Great Miami River above Dayton, and also widened and straightened the river in several places. The river in downtown Dayton and just below Hamilton is not natural at all; it was built that way artificially. The Miami Conservancy District was used as a model for other flood control works across the country, including those built by the Army Corps of Engineers.

 

The Mill Creek Barrier Dam and flood control works in Cincinnati were authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936, which was too late for construction before the 1937 flood. Those works were built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. You are correct that they were not completed until about 1948.

 

The 1913 flood was the highest flood on record for many of the rivers in Ohio such as the Great Miami, Scioto, etc., but not the Ohio River. The Ohio River reached its highest recorded stage in 1937.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 1913 flood was the most devastating natural disaster to ever hit Ohio. The death toll was around 470. You guys should check out some of the pictures on Google Images of Cincinnati, Columbus (especially the Franklinton/ the bottoms neighborhood where two story houses everywhere are literally completely collapsed or rows of houses completely fallen sideways against each other like a chain reaction with dominos!) The death toll in the bottoms alone, was around 94. Dayton and Hamilton got hit really hard, too. Massive floods were nothing new, they happened all the time, before 1913, they just weren't THAT bad. The hardest hit neighborhoods in flood planes are usually full of poor people who have no choice but to live there and I doubt many people cared about them the way the federal government and people in general care about victims of natural disasters today. We didn't get any help from the federal government. We barely got help from the governor (who allocated a measly $11 Million in today's money for emergency aid.)

 

Texas is a huge beneficiary of big government right now. While they're sitting on $10 Billion in oil money that is readily available to be spent on disaster relief.

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They should pass a law at that any federal disaster aid must be matched by any money the state or local governments receiving the aid have in their rainy day fund.

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They should pass a law at that any federal disaster aid must be matched by any money the state or local governments receiving the aid have in their rainy day fund.

 

That would only work to a certain point, as no state has $75-$90 billion tucked away.  The better solution is to stop building in places that are obviously dangerous.  Houston has been hit with 4 historic floods in 16 years.  Why are they still building in easily-flooded areas?  A lot of the damage is preventable, but people are short-sighted and capitalism doesn't reward intelligent building very often.

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They should pass a law at that any federal disaster aid must be matched by any money the state or local governments receiving the aid have in their rainy day fund.

 

Precisely!

 

Texas actually has a particularly astronomical rainy day fund. (I admit these are a result of quick Google searches from recent articles) but Ohio has roughly $2 Billion. California is projected to have $7-8 Billion by the end of the 2017 fiscal year by setting aside a very substantial amount of tax revenue for it. Lets look at how that translates to the number of dollars available per person in each of those states:

 

Ohio: $172 / person

California: $203 / person

Texas: $359 / person

 

Texas has twice the amount of money per person compared to Ohio. Also, the Rainy Day Funds for all states combined, for FY 2016 was $51.9 billion. The State of Texas alone amounts to about 20% of all Rainy Day Funds combined!

 

Those were just states I've pulled out of my ss[/member] but my point is that Texas has money. The way I see it, this is a level of ridiculousness no different than if FAFSA decided to cover tuition to all the rich kids with loaded trust funds and 509 college funds. Doesn't make any sense, does it?

 

I'd say the funds need to either be matched, at least at some fair ratio based on a sliding scale or if rich hoarders like Texas refuse to pony up the dough while the state needs immediate help - tally up the bill and require it to be paid back as a loan and enforce it in ways that they're really not going to like. It would teach them a lesson about the importance of responsible planning; building and maintaining sustainable cities that states and municipalities desperately need to realize are actually a GOOD INVESTMENT.

 

Aside from my idealistic thoughts, it's just BS because the purpose of a Rainy Day Fund and the reason tax payers don't mind paying into it is because it's supposed to take excess money during an economic boom or the good times and be readily available to ease the blow of an economic downturn. Call me crazy but it seems like common sense to consider a major hurricane wiping out your state's largest city and beyond, an 'economic downturn.' Hoarding money during bad times is no different than not having the money at all. It seems cruel to withhold it if citizens who paid into it, desperately need it during a major natural disaster. Something's gotta give.

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They should pass a law at that any federal disaster aid must be matched by any money the state or local governments receiving the aid have in their rainy day fund.

 

That would only work to a certain point, as no state has $75-$90 billion tucked away.  The better solution is to stop building in places that are obviously dangerous.  Houston has been hit with 4 historic floods in 16 years.  Why are they still building in easily-flooded areas?  A lot of the damage is preventable, but people are short-sighted and capitalism doesn't reward intelligent building very often.

 

I wouldn't put a cap on the federal funds when the state matching funds run out, just require that the state's rainy day fund be used to match the first federal dollars until it is down to $0.

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A lot of the damage is preventable, but people are short-sighted and capitalism doesn't reward intelligent building very often.

 

Capitalism also doesn't work too well when the risk is socialized, but the rewards are not. This is exactly what we have going on right now.

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Looking at those new-ish mansions that are almost completely under water, it makes me wonder if those developments are legally compliant with their community's floodplain ordinances where elevation requirements are concerned (which you would think, where million dollar mansions are at stake, would far exceed whatever federal standards are set with FEMA and NFIP.)

 

Some of the mansions seem unscathed but even one inch of water can cause a lot of damage to a house.

 

With these massive McMansion developments and all of the fill you can tell they've used to elevate the houses (and conveniently, their driveway - to protect their Range Rovers,) it can actually raise the water level much more because it means that there's less space for the water to move into, unless they provide REQUIRED compensatory storage to protect flood storage capacity.

 

I'd like to know how developers get permits to set entire communities up for complete disaster. Looks like a lot of developers slipped through the cracks, obtaining permits and managed to make a quick buck. Who are the engineers who signed off on this? So many questions I have.

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44 CFR 60.3(b)(3): [Communities must] Require that all new subdivision proposals and other proposed development (including proposals for manufactured home parks and subdivisions) greater than 50 lots or 5 acres, whichever is the lesser, include within such proposals BFE data.

 

I wonder how many developers in these coastal floodplains manage to buy up 4.9 acres to avoid submitting BFE data to FEMA.

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Looking at those new-ish mansions that are almost completely under water, it makes me wonder if those developments are legally compliant with their community's floodplain ordinances where elevation requirements are concerned (which you would think, where million dollar mansions are at stake, would far exceed whatever federal standards are set with FEMA and NFIP.)

 

Some of the mansions seem unscathed but even one inch of water can cause a lot of damage to a house.

 

With these massive McMansion developments and all of the fill you can tell they've used to elevate the houses (and conveniently, their driveway - to protect their Range Rovers,) it can actually raise the water level much more because it means that there's less space for the water to move into, unless they provide REQUIRED compensatory storage to protect flood storage capacity.

 

I'd like to know how developers get permits to set entire communities up for complete disaster. Looks like a lot of developers slipped through the cracks, obtaining permits and managed to make a quick buck. Who are the engineers who signed off on this? So many questions I have.

Doubt developers can get permits if they are not following the law. Maybe the localities who do the permitting need to take a closer look at the areas that flood easily. I think this storm was referred to as once in 500 hundred or something like that.

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^Yeah well the Houston area has had multiple 500-year events in the last few years.  There is mass corruption/incompetence at play. As David mentioned, there is absolutely no reason why brand-new McMansions should be getting built in areas where there is any chance of flooding. 

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^Yeah well the Houston area has had multiple 500-year events in the last few years.  There is mass corruption/incompetence at play. As David mentioned, there is absolutely no reason why brand-new McMansions should be getting built in areas where there is any chance of flooding.

Yeah I know, so maybe the people/localities doing the permitting should change what you can build where. You can't build here or if you do the residence has be built up X amount of feet above Y.  You are going to need a link or proof to suggest there is mass corruption relative to the permitting development process.

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I don't need a link -- the current state of affairs speaks for itself, and anyone who is knowingly responsible isn't going to volunteer what they know.  It's like how there is no official source that spoke for the 79.9ft. flood here in Cincinnati in 1937.  By all accounts it surpassed 80 feet, but whatever entity was in charge at the time declared it 79.9 so that insurers would pay out.  The policies of that time said 80ft and above was an Act of God and meant nobody was going to have any money to repair or replace anything, leaving Cincinnati devastated. 

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I went down to east Texas after Ike to help rebuild hurricane damaged homes. I just looked at some maps of the cities I was in (Orange and Bridge City) and several of the neighborhoods I worked in are shown to have suffered major damage again. Which isn't surprising given that some of them were directly next to bayous and had no flood protection whatsoever.

 

Those areas were very low income and I have trouble believing they'll recover again. They didn't recover the last time and it was a massive strain on the economy. There wasn't enough equity built up in those communities to survive that level of destruction again. It's sad.

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"The president said existing disaster balances of more than $3 billion are sufficient for the immediate emergency but promised his administration will send lawmakers a request for far more to help Texas rebuild from the record storm in which catastrophic flooding has hit Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.

“The real number, which will be many billions of dollars, will go through Congress,” Trump said at a White House news conference.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised through a spokeswoman that “we will help those affected by this terrible disaster.”

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/3b-disaster-balance-enough-for-immediate-harvey-response/2017/08/28/7f51cdee-8c20-11e7-9c53-6a169beb0953_story.html?utm_term=.c58bb5618806

 

Explain to me why we (all Americans) should allocate an unknown number of billions of dollars in federal money to Texas' coastal areas ($3 Billion just for an IMMEDIATE response, when the state of Texas is sitting on a Rainy-Day Fund worth $10 Billion that they're able to spend almost instantly but get away with preserving while we bail them out.) That is some bull sh!t. Why is it that in Houston and nearby coastal municipalities in floodplains, municipal or even state level hurricane and flood insurance isn't paying for their absolutely inevitable and frequent plight? You want to live there, great, but pay the premium. I live in Ohio. I shouldn't be obligated to subsidize your inevitable disasters while you make bank off oil money directly destroying the environment any more than I should be expected to pay for some random dude's Lamborghini being totaled from speeding and subsequently wrecking into another car. I had nothing to do with that sh!t; that's on you and your own personal decisions. If you can afford to own a lambo, you can afford to deal with the consequences of your actions. Texas is rich. Per capita, it's probably the richest state. It's not Lousiana/ New Orleans  during Katrina. If it receives federal aid, it should be very minimal.

 

All this talk from conservative politicians about 'such and such' should be 'left to the states' because they beat around the bush and they're too much of a p**y to take the right stance and do the right thing on the federal level. It's a crock of sh!t. If they think human rights issues should be left to the states, I say human rights concerning disaster relief also need to be left to the states as well. After all, you're all 'tough ss[/member] Texans.' Figure it out on your own. I don't have a d@mn thing to do with Texas and knowing Texas' financial situation, I don't think a single dollar of what I've paid in taxes should rightfully go to their hurricane relief.

 

They'll get plenty of money from Trump though, because Texas voted for his dumb ss[/member] and this will guarantee the Texas vote in 2020.

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Amazing:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/over-200-drinking-water-systems-affected-harvey-still-175237676--sector.html

 

On Aug. 28, the Army Corps and the Harris County Flood Control District opened the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in western Houston to keep them from overflowing. They warned it would flood neighborhoods, some of which remained closed off two weeks later.

 

Travis said the Army Corps official said they kept releasing water without knowing the extent of the flooding. "They didn't understand that the bathtub effect was occurring," he said.

 

"We couldn't survive the Corps - why should we rebuild?" Debora Kumbalek, who lives in Travis' district in Houston, shouted during the town hall.

 

 

Don't rebuild, you idiots.  Homes should have never been there to begin with.  And yes, the Corps absolutely understood what was going to happen when they let the water out. 

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Very touching compassion on display here! It seems like you all think Houston is a bunch of rich white Trump-supporting cowboys building enormous mansions on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

 

The truth is Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country and Harris county supported Clinton in a landslide.

 

And do you really think people have that much agency over where they choose to live? Everybody on this board lives in Ohio because it's their absolute #1 choice for the best in human habitation? Or did you just happen to be born here? Or maybe you all were born in Houston and decided to move to Upper Arlington because of its relative safety from hurricane damage?

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There's a world of difference between saying "Houston" and saying, "In a flood plain in Houston that is known will absolutely flood in a bad situation."

 

That information is older than the majority of the homes damages are. There's no reason there should have been so much development allowed in major flood plains.

 

Can we just have one topic where someone doesn't bring up Trump? Nobody claimed Houstonians were a bunch of Trump lovers.

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Amazing:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/over-200-drinking-water-systems-affected-harvey-still-175237676--sector.html

 

On Aug. 28, the Army Corps and the Harris County Flood Control District opened the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in western Houston to keep them from overflowing. They warned it would flood neighborhoods, some of which remained closed off two weeks later.

 

Travis said the Army Corps official said they kept releasing water without knowing the extent of the flooding. "They didn't understand that the bathtub effect was occurring," he said.

 

"We couldn't survive the Corps - why should we rebuild?" Debora Kumbalek, who lives in Travis' district in Houston, shouted during the town hall.

 

 

Don't rebuild, you idiots.  Homes should have never been there to begin with.  And yes, the Corps absolutely understood what was going to happen when they let the water out. 

 

If the communities are affluent, they'll rebuild quickly, out of pride. Look at 9/11 and how much thought and criticism went into what 'ground zero' would become. Those flood-plain areas in Texas need to become giant retention ponds with houses, debris and anything else that ultimately causes water to raise higher due to their volume, carried away and those low-level areas should simply be reverting back to pure nature. It's not worth rebuilding for the long-term. We keep rebuilding communities that are guaranteed to get destroyed again. It's not a matter of if, just when. It's ridiculous. That'll never happen though, because no one will take blame. No one is going to admit that they made a huge mistake. America just fixes it temporarily to prove that a hurricane can't stop us.

 

It's stupid. I live in Ohio. Why should my taxes go to hurricane relief? With Irma, Jose and whatever other hurricanes form soon, FEMA is going to run out of resources quickly. The entire country shouldn't have to pay for repeated dumb@ssery. What did Einstein say? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

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There's a world of difference between saying "Houston" and saying, "In a flood plain in Houston that is known will absolutely flood in a bad situation."

 

That information is older than the majority of the homes damages are. There's no reason there should have been so much development allowed in major flood plains.

 

Can we just have one topic where someone doesn't bring up Trump? Nobody claimed Houstonians were a bunch of Trump lovers.

"They'll get plenty of money from Trump though, because Texas voted for his dumb ss[/member] and this will guarantee the Texas vote in 2020."

 

This was said right above my comment. I think this perception is wrongheaded and counterproductive. I realize there are obvious errors in rebuilding in these areas. But blaming the residents for decisions made at a state or federal level is misguided. It's obviously a much more nuanced situation.

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I missed that comment. My bad.

 

Regardless, when you purchase a home you research things like flood plains, especially when by a source of water. A ton of blame is definitely to be placed on Houston here for allowing the development to happen in these spots, but it's also your responsibility to research the piece of property you're buying. Houston didn't do its job protecting these people from harm, but these people also didn't do their job making sure they weren't putting themselves in harm's way.

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We all grow up in this area with images of the 1937 flood in office lobbies, even in schools in the hallway. People are aware of what nature can do in our area.  For me it didn't really sink in until I photographed the flood in Marietta in 2004.  Then I saw what a total disaster even a minor flood is.  A lot of people simply haven't seen one in real life and so don't get what a big deal it is. 

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