Drone video of in west Houston reveals the extent of the flood along the Buffalo Bayou after the city’s nearly 11-inch overnight rainfall.
Buffalo Bayou Park is just west of downtown Houston, which you can see as the drone spins to the right, and surrounds the slow-flowing Buffalo Bayou river. The bayou generally runs down the middle of the heavily-flooded areas in the footage, but even on Tuesday morning the water remained high, spilling over onto the surrounding parkways that line the recreation area.
The video was captured by Bryan Rumbaugh, and shows submerged cars on the parkways and drivers turning around as they approach the flooded roads. Though the water has begun to recede across the Houston metro, the bayous are still pushing into the surrounding neighborhoods and water continues to bubble up out of storm drains.
Buffalo Bayou Park is actually a brand new addition to the Houston landscape. The original opening day for the park was set for June 2015, but even before the Memorial Day flood the partnership behind the project decided to postpone until September.
“We have been having these continually heavy rains and the construction has been behind because of that,” Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, told the Washington Post. “And we knew there was going to be heavy rain this weekend, too, but we didn’t think anything quite this bad.”
In terms of damage, Olson isn’t expecting anything too terrible and she expects the park, which is already 90 percent complete, to be finished in mid-July. The bayou itself is part of a network that serves as flood management for the city, so the parks frequently flood and the project has taken that into account. “There will be a lot of mud and silt and debris, but everything has been constructed to withstand flooding,” said Olson. They even implemented a unique flood-proof lightning system.
Houston’s incredible overnight rainstorm began late on Monday afternoon, and reached its peak around 11 p.m. when rainfall rates climbed to as much as 4 inches per hour, prompting the National Weather Service in Houston to issue a flash flood emergency for the first time since Hurricane Ike in 2008.
The nearby river gauge on the Buffalo Bayou at Shepherd Drive, climbed from around 3 feet at 9 p.m. on Monday night to an incredible 34 feet at 5 a.m. It was the sixth highest crest on record for the location according to records kept by the USGS. At this point on the Buffalo Bayou, major flooding begins at 32 feet, inundating major parkways and homes upstream of the gauge.