Texas is notorious for its Flash Flood Alley, which is an area of the state where excessive rain has the potential to cause devastating floods. Unfortunately, around 20% of the population (roughly 6 million) live in high-flood risk areas. Sadly, climate change brings stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, and heavier precipitation. However, Texas’s population continues to increase. But, if you decide to move to the Lone Star State, stay away from areas prone to flooding. Below is a list of the most flood-prone towns in Texas.
While absolutely breathtaking, Galveston is surrounded by water, with the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Galveston Bay to the north. As a result, the town is vulnerable to flooding from various sources, which include:
- Strom Surge: the abnormal increase of water resulting from a storm above the predicted astronomical tide.
- Tropical Cyclone: A sufficient weather system with closed circulation that forms over tropical waters.
- Flash Flood: a flood resulting from heavy rainfall which occurs over a short period.
- Tropical Storms: A cyclone with maximum strong winds ranging from 39 to 73 mph.
- Hurricane: A heightened tropical cyclone with wind speeds of 74 mph or more.
While some of these storms are worse than others, they can all cause significant damage to homes. In fact, storm events caused severe damage to the city in 2008 when Hurricane Ike made landfall. Sadly, homes were flooded due to a 22-foot storm surge. Furthermore, in 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused flooding in the Strand, and water backed up in the streets.
The city of Harlingen in South Texas is one of the most flood-prone towns in the state because it sits along the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous hurricanes have hit Harlingen over the last few years, and it experienced 500-year storm events in 2018 and 2019. However, the city is trying to be proactive by proposing a plan to increase the capacity of storm sewer lines in two areas, Fair Park Boulevard and Adam’s Crossing Subdivision.
3. San Antonio
San Antonio is located in the Texas Hill Country and has a vibrant atmosphere and rich cultural history. However, this city also struggles with a recurring natural disaster, flooding. This city is susceptible to flooding because of its location and the urban development patterns. San Antonio is particularly prone to flash floods. However, the town has several structural controls, like drainage systems and dams, that help reduce or prevent flood issues. For example, the river tunnels successfully diverted water underneath the downtown area during the floods of 1998 and 2002.
Austin is one of the most flood-prone towns in Texas. This sprawling city is in Central Texas, where the eastern coastal plains meet the western Hill Country. Unfortunately, it is an area where heavy rainfalls can quickly turn into devastating floods. Additionally, to add fuel to the fire, Austin’s steep slopes, shallow soils, and undulating terrain make it particularly susceptible to quick runoff, leading to flash floods.
Furthermore, as the city continues to grow and urbanize, more land is being paved, like parking lots and roads, preventing water from absorbing into the ground. As a result, increased runoff into waterways contributes to the flood risks. In addition, Austin is located in an area where severe storms are relatively common, especially during the fall and spring. Unfortunately, these storms often result in significant rainfall in short amounts of time. Furthermore, the city’s overwhelmed waterways can lead to sudden or flash flooding.
Dallas is popular for its on-the-move lifestyle, soaring skyscrapers, and rich history. However, this town is also prone to flooding. This city is located in the low-lying plains of North Texas. Unfortunately, the city’s expanding urban landscape and geography are why Dallas floods. Like Austin, Dallas is very susceptible to flash flooding. Therefore, it’s essential to have a flash flood forecasting system. Heavy rains are frequent in this city, resulting in many car accidents due to slippery roads and low visibility.
Orange is one of the most flood-prone towns in Texas. For example, in 2017, the town was struck by Hurricane Harvey, causing severe flooding throughout the state and the country. As a result, thousands of people lacked basic necessities, a place to live, and food. Lastly, out of the 41 Texas counties, Orange was the 3rd most impacted county in the state.
Falfurrias is the county seat of Brooks County. This town has a population of approximately 4,981 individuals. The town was named after the found Edward Cunningham Lasater. Falfurrias is very prone to flooding because of the creeks surrounding our home. For example, during or after heavy rainfall, the creeks start to overflow into this road.
Rockport sits on the western shore of the Gulf of Mexico and Aransas Bay. This town is a popular tourist destination. This town offers a variety of fun activities, like fishing, boating, and more. However, this area is at high risk for flooding due to the coastal storm surge. Therefore, if you want to move to Rockport, you must learn about flood hazards and risks and how to take care of yourself. Furthermore, Rockport has eleven significant watersheds, but they are all susceptible to the weather.
9. Port Lavaca
Port Lavaca is a town in Calhoun County, Texas. Unfortunately, this charming little town experiences severe flooding. Flooding is dependent on the waves. However, it’s not just the waves that impact the floods; it’s the tide level, too.
10. New Braunfels
New Braunfels, located close to San Antonio, is famous for the Guadalupe and Comal rivers that snake through gorgeous parks like Cypress Bend and Landa. The town features original German buildings from the 1800s, like Gruene Hall, forming part of the Gruene Historic District. The city of New Braunfels serves as a case study for several floodplain issues. In the mid-1980s, this town lowered its floodplain by more than 10 feet, putting hundreds of homes in harm’s way.
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