Houston Councilmember Dave Martin would like for residents to be aware that thanks to reports made to his office, there has been a policy change to the Houston 311 system. After previous major flood events like Harvey and the Tax Day flood, the city created event-specific service request numbers in 311 to collect city-wide flooding and storm debris data for FEMA reporting. The recent storms were not as widespread, but still generated localized flooding and storm debris. This created some confusion among 311 operators on how to record flooding and debris reports.
Since storms are becoming more frequent, and even a relatively small storm can produce severe results, thanks to the diligence of the District E office, 311 is making the flooding and storm debris service requests permanent. This means that anytime anyone reports flooding or storm debris, whether it’s a Tax Day or just a Tuesday, Houston 311 will create a service request number and send it to the appropriate department to process. As this is a new change, please continue to report any issues with 311 to the District E Office by calling 832-393-3008. This policy change has been shared with all 311 agents.
The heavy rainfall event that occurred May 7-9 was a slow-moving storm system that resulted in two rounds of heavy rainfall that severely impacted the northeast and southeast Harris County region. District E communities that were impacted by these rain events include Kingwood, Huffman and Crosby, in the Lake Houston area, as well as Sagemont and Home Owned Estates located in Clear Lake. The rain that occurred on May 7 produced a one-hour rain rate of 4 inches at U.S. 59 on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. At FM 1485 on the East Fork of the San Jacinto River, a six-hour rainfall rate of 7.9 inches was recorded.
Two days later, on May 9, lower rainfall rates were experienced which did not exacerbate flooding issues over the weekend. The one-hour rain rate at U.S. 59 on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River was 1.8 inches and the six-hour rain rate at FM 1485 on the East Fork of the San Jacinto River was 2.2 inches.
During this rain event, intense rainfall rates greatly exceeded internal and primary drainage systems capabilities, resulting in significant and at times deep street flooding and sheetflow that was especially evident in the Kingwood area on Tuesday afternoon. On May 8, City of Houston contractors, as well as Harris County Flood Control, investigated their designated drainage systems and determined the flooding was potentially caused by development upstream in Montgomery County that sent large volumes of sheetflow into the subdivision and Taylor Gully (G103-80-03-1), which is maintained by Harris County Flood Control.
The City of Houston has identified over 380 residences with structural flooding and storm debris; over half those cases were entered by District E staff. For those beginning to make repairs to their home, ensure the appropriate permit has been obtained from the Houston Permitting Center. By state law, all electrical work requires a permit and must be completed by a licensed electrical contractor. For questions, contact Electrical Inspections at 832-394-8860.
Permits are not required for the installation or replacement of thermostats and grills that are part of the HVAC system. Permits are required for all other mechanical work. For questions, contact Mechanical Inspections at 832-394-8850.
Permits are not required to replace bathroom or kitchen faucets, ballcocks or water control valves, garbage disposals, or water closets. Permits are required for all other plumbing work, including sinks. For questions, contact Plumbing Inspections at 832-394-8870.
For homes located in the floodplain, homeowners must contact the Floodplain Management Office prior to making any repairs at 832-394-8854. For information on flood damage repair requirements, visit floodplain.houstontx.gov.
The Houston Permitting Center Main Office is located at 1002 Washington Avenue, Houston, and open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Applications can be routed from the Kingwood satellite permitting office to the main office for customers not wanting to drive, but the process will be greatly expedited if the customers are informed beforehand of the Flood Department’s requirements and expectations. The Kingwood Satellite Office is located at 3915 Rustic Woods and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2- 4:30 p.m
In advance of hurricane season, which begins June 1, it is crucial that residents know and understand that flash flooding can occur at any time and it is strongly recommended that all residents take precautions like preparing emergency kits and purchasing flood insurance. Keep in mind that flood insurance does not go into effect immediately and has a 30-day waiting period between the purchase date and effective date.