(Google; NOAA)

As the first request for billions of dollars of Hurricane Harvey federal relief are being discussed, the early damage estimates hang on which properties are most likely to be flooded. But a look at two neighborhoods by Barker Reservoir and the Buffalo Bayou drainage canal shows that flooding went far beyond the boundaries of even the projected 500-year flood plain.

100-year floodplain:

mandatory flood insurance

500-year floodplain:

voluntary flood insurance

HOUSTON

Addicks

Reservoir

Detail

10

Downtown

Barker

 

Reservoir

610

10 MILES

100-year floodplain:

mandatory flood insurance

500-year floodplain:

voluntary flood insurance

Addicks

Reservoir

HOUSTON

10

Detail

Downtown

Barker

 

Reservoir

5 MILES

610

100-year floodplain: mandatory flood insurance

500-year floodplain: voluntary flood insurance

HOUSTON

Addicks

Reservoir

Detail

10

Downtown

610

Barker

 

Reservoir

5 MILES

610

These areas of Fleetwood and Briar Hills neighborhoods along the Bayou include some portions of the flood risk area. Some of the first aerial images of flooding — which are likely showing waters already receding from the highest levels — show hundreds of affected properties worth millions of dollars that were not in the expected flood area.

500-year flood plain as delineated by FEMA’s Flood Insurance Program

Extent of flooding from Harvey

observed from aerial imagery

Barker Reservoir

NORTH

500 FEET

Buffalo Bayou dam

Fleetwood

Briarhills

500-year flood plain as delineated by FEMA’s Flood Insurance Program

Extent of flooding from Harvey

observed from aerial imagery

Barker Reservoir

500 FEET

NORTH

Buffalo Bayou dam

Fleetwood

Briarhills

500-year flood plain as delineated

by FEMA’s Flood Insurance Program

Extent of flooding from Harvey

observed from aerial imagery

Barker Reservoir

NORTH

500 FEET

Buffalo Bayou dam

Fleetwood

Briarhills

There’s no way to know detailed damage from the images, because water depth is not visible. Homes may have suffered almost no damage or extensive damage. Preliminary models of damage by FEMA show only 11 homes destroyed and another 71 with some damage. But at this point those models are focused on the areas that were expected to flood. The images show much wider water areas. The water area encompasses 636 single-family homes in just this small area. They have a total assessed value of $264 million. There is also a $10 million multi-family property and a $10 million commercial property along the bayou.

Property market values

$380k

$700k

$3Million

Preliminary FEMA assessment of destroyed home

Fleetwood

Briarhills

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About this story

Aerial imagery from NOAA. Flood risk areas are from the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program. Property data from Harris County Appraisal District. FEMA provided the preliminary flood damage asseessment.

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