June 11, 2018 | Jill Boullion
After Harvey I don’t think we can ever take hurricane season lightly again! It’s important that plans are in place both at our workplaces and with our families. There are excellent resources available online to help you start the planning process. One of my favorites is the Ready.gov site, where there are all kinds of excellent resources.
However, most people overlook a key piece of information when making their Hurricane plans. Do you know what a watershed is and which watershed you live in? This is a critical thing to know in our region as our topography is very flat, prone to flooding, and flooding can be highly localized and not widespread as it was during Harvey.
A watershed, also called a catchment, is simply an area of land that drains to a common stream! So, everyplace in the world is in a watershed, and there are smaller watersheds within larger watersheds. If you live in Harris County a terrific resource to learn more is the local flood control district web site. There is a great tool to enter in your address and determine which watershed you live in. If you live outside of Harris County, Houston-Galveston Area Council has a good map to help you pinpoint your location.
So once you find your watershed you can learn all kinds of cool things about how water works here in Southeast Texas. Our watersheds flow generally from northwest to southeast and the water you are splashing around in today will be in Galveston Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, before you know it.
So, why is watershed awareness so important during a hurricane or severe rain event? Your watershed might be impacted, more or less, than others and it’s important to be armed with the most up-to-date information. One of my favorite tools to use during a storm is the Harris County Flood Watch System. I can locate the nearest stream gauge to my house and get real-time data about the amount of rain that has fallen and how high the water is within the stream.
So, along with a generator, bottled water, and extra peanut butter (crunchy is my favorite), it’s important to be prepared with some knowledge that will help you make better decisions during a storm. I’ve provided just a few, there are lots more out there. We all need to be better informed about the natural world around us, and watersheds are a key component.