Name: Elio Alanis
PHYSICAL GEOLOGY SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: WILL MY HOUSE FLOOD?
Much of the San Jacinto College community has been impacted by Houston’s frequent flooding. Some families have lost everything more than once. Others have merely been inconvenienced by high water. San Jacinto College campuses are usually closed a few days every academic year because high water levels from heavy rains makes it unsafe for us to travel to school.
Perhaps you know the feeling of watching the water rise in your street and wondering if it’s going to rise into your home. As the hours pass and the raindrops fall—how high will it get? Will my family be the ones on the news this year—rescued in a helicopter or boat?
This project will introduce you to some of the free, online resources that can help you understand the risk of a flood at your home or a property you are interested in purchasing. You will choose a property to investigate and then ultimately create a quick-reference infographic about what you learned.
Transparency Statement: This project is the Signature Assignment for GEOL 1303: Physical Geology. San Jacinto College assesses your responses to measure if you are learning essential skills in this class. Please answer each question fully and to the best of your ability. Pay attention to instructions and consult your team members if you run into trouble—your professor is not able to help you complete this assignment. This assignment was designed to be of practical use for all residents of Houston; flooding is a constant issue that we face—a little research and planning can go a long way to help you in avoiding headache and heartache!
1. In 150 words or more, explain the history of flooding in Houston from your perspective. Have you or someone you know been impacted by flooding? Why is it a good idea to do a little research before a storm to avoid being flooded? Be sure to include your word count. [153 words]; rubric alignment CT/Explanation of Issues
I moved to Houston five years ago, when I was barely an eighth grader. From my five years of living in Houston I have never experienced anything like Harvey. Not even in my home town. Harvey impacted not just me but my whole community. From leaving in helicopters, to getting on boats, and even getting on big eighteen wheelers picking everyone up. One of my very first friends that I had when I got to Houston had a tragic event that happen to him. His mother had cancer, and during Harvey , water had got into her tube. Couple weeks later, she passed away. It is always good to do research before natural disasters like this, so you can be more prepared in every way possible. Many people like me was they're first facing something like this, so you wouldn’t really know how to prepare other than buying a pack of water bottles.
2. Choose a location within Harris County to investigate (hereafter we will refer to this location as “the site” or “your site”). This could be your home, a place around Houston you are interested in moving to, or San Jacinto College. If you choose your home address, for privacy purposes please write only the street name below.
Type the site address here: 5800 Uvalde Rd, Houston, TX 77049
3. Open the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map Service tool: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search. Type in the site address. Look beneath the map viewer to see the map legend; conduct an Internet search for terms you do not understand. The blue shading indicates the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)), which is defined by FEMA as the “land ara covered by the floodwaters of the base flood” (https://www.fema.gov/special-flood-hazard-area). The orange indicates the area flooded by a 500-year flood (1/500 or 0.2% chance of happening in any given year). Homeowners within the Special Flood Hazard Area (blue shading) are required to purchase flood insurance. In 100 words or more, explain the site’s proximity to a flood zone. [104 words]; rubric alignment CT/Explanation of Issues
The address 5800 Uvalde Rd, shows the center of San Jac Campus. What I spectated when the map open was that, the whole campus is surrounded by orange shades. Meaning that there is .2% annual chance of hazard flooding and .1 % of normal flooding. Not bringing a lot of concerns for the campus to really worry about getting flood. Unless Harvey part 2 decides to kick in . The orange shading also means that there is one in five hundred chance that San Jac will be flooded. But like we could tell last year, anything can happen, and San Jac could go flooded.
4. A study conducted one month after Hurricane Harvey found that 58% of FEMA’s flood maps were inaccurate or out of date. FEMA is required to update its maps every 5 years, but this does not ensure accuracy. In 100 words or more, consider the factors that could cause a FEMA map to be inaccurate. [105 words]; rubric alignment QE&R/Assumptions
Some factors that could cause and causes the FEMA map to be inaccurate, are land changes, and structures being made. Since The map updates every five years, It wouldn't be as accurate as if it was updated every year. Many things happen through out the year, there is a lot of construction, buildings, roads, being made. There is climate change impacts, any weather like heavy rains, storms , high sea level. I think FEMA should be sued for this, having so much inaccurate information. Either that or they should stop doing it every five years, and at least cut it down to every other year.
Double Checking FEMA’s Flood Maps
5. Open Google Earth. Find the site. Place your cursor over the ground (not the roof!). Move your cursor around and note the numbers in the bottom right corner, specifically the “elev” value. Write the average elevation, in feet for the yard at the site:
_____39.6__feet above sea level
6. Access the Harris County Flood Warning System website: https://www.harriscountyfws.org/. This map shows you the locations of sensors throughout Harris County. Find the sensor closest to your site and click on it. Click “more information” to access the webpage for that sensor. This webpage automatically displays the last 24 hours of data, but you can look at longer datasets and look at historical data. The page that loads is rainfall. Click the Stream Elevation tab. Write down the following information about the sensor:
Stream Elevation Sensor Number: ______14.5____
Location (Gully or Bayou and road): _____Bayou in Wallisville______
Top of Bank (TOB): ____32_______ feet
7. Scroll down to see the Flood Frequency table. Fill it in here:
8. How does your site elevation (Question 5) compare to the 500-year flood elevation (Flood Frequency Table, Question 7)? Calculate the vertical distance, in feet, between the two values. Show your work below:
39.6 - 33 = - 6.6ft resulting in no significant change in distance.
Show your calculation here.
In 100 words or more, discuss the meaning of this calculation: what importance does it have to the site during storm events? At what stream elevation can you assume that the site will flood? [100 words]; rubric alignment QE&R/Interpretation, Representation, Calculation or Transformation, & Application/Analysis
It important to use this site during storms, to be aware of anything possible that can happen. In the calculation that I use, it was thirty nine point 6 minus thirty three, which gave me six point 6 ft of change of distance. The site will flood at around six feet. It also important to have this map because It shows you every sensor in Harris county. It also shows you the last set of data within the last twenty four hours. Which to me is very accurate, and can help you out a lot in natural disasters like Harvey.
9. Write the four highest floods at this location using the Historical Storm table:
10. Consider the Historical Storm table (Question 9). Which event had the highest stream elevation? Use the date of this event to plot the data by scrolling to the top of the page. Change the data range to: Last [7 Days] and Reported from [the date you chose]. You will see the graph below change. Remember that you are looking at the maximum elevation of the floodwaters during this event, so you really only see the first half of the flood. Adjust the date range by modifying the Reported from date. Add a few days to see if you can see the entire flood event in one 7-day graph. You may need to extend the date range to a month. When you are satisfied with your graph, paste it below by right-clicking on the image and copying or saving it and then copying it:
Paste your graph of stream elevation here.
11. In 200 words or more, discuss how the stream elevations of Historical Storms (Question 9) compare to the Flood Frequency values (Question 7). Are historical storms higher than 500-year flood values? Be sure to reference your tables and graph with language like, “As you can see in the Historical Storm Table…” [200 words]; rubric alignment QE&R/Interpretation & Communication
When I compared question nine to question seven, the number are very similar. They are all in the high twenty range to the mid thirties range of feet. For the five hundred data, the numbers were: twenty seven, thirty, thirty one and thirty three. While on the Historical storm lab, the data was twenty seven, twenty nine, twenty nine point eight and thirty two. All of these number might not be the same but they are very quite similar. It is crazy how for the five hundred year data, it is not as quite accurate, but it stills shows very similar numbers to our previous floods that happen in real life. Even though we don’t know how long it took for all the data to be gathered, and what I mean from this is that, it is unclear how long it took Harvey to reach thirty two, and it could happen in hours , while Allison couldve token up to days reaching twenty nine.
Other Factors That Cause Flooding in Houston
12. If flooding occurs in Houston, it is likely because of high water level in the bayou or not? In 100 words or more, explain why it is reasonable to assume that the major cause of flooding in Houston is from rising waters in the bayous. Also indicate any other assumptions or beliefs you have regarding flooding in Houston. [105words]; rubric alignment CT/Influence of Context and Assumptions
If another flood happens to Houston, I think the bayous would make it flood more. Like it happens in Harvey. All the over flow of water and rain, making it to collapse, and go into the streets and houses. Heavy rain storms aren’t the only cause of these heavy floods, since Houston is full of bayous, Literally everywhere. There are many other factors that don’t help out in Houston when It comes to floods, we are a flat surface area, and our drains suck. And then we are so close to the ocean, and all these beaches, which for me, I don’t think it helps.
13. Let’s investigate what the flooding experts have to say about all of this. Search the Internet for “what causes flooding in Houston” or visit these websites:
Analyze what these experts say is the cause of flooding in Houston. These expert opinions are for Houston in general—the site you are investigating might be different in some way. In 200 words or more, describe the following: what is are the major causes of flooding in Houston, and what is the major cause or causes of flooding at the address you chose to investigate? Is your site different from “in general” in any way? Be sure to include quotes from expert sources in your response; quoted material does not count toward your minimum word count. Be sure to reference the website that you quoted. If you used information from an Internet search, make sure that the source is credible—a .gov website or a major news network. words]; rubric alignment CT/Evidence; WC/Sources and Evidence
Houston is one of the most impacted cities when it comes down to floods. Every year there is a flood. Our sweres suck, and it is our fault , we litter too much. This can be something that can change, and become something that can take stress away from the floods. The channels start too over flow , with all the rain fall and bayous, and the sewers not being back up. Causing all the water to spread in the flat surfface of houston.
Realtor For a Day
For the questions in this section, pretend that you are a realtor (someone who sells homes as a profession) who knows a lot about flooding in Houston.
14. Many old homes are located in the flood zone because they were built before scientists and builders had the knowledge not to build them there. Many newer homes are built within the 500-year flood zone because they are the last lots available within desirable neighborhoods. In 200 words or more, evaluate the following issues: Should builders be allowed to build within the 500-year flood zone? Should home buyers be warned that they are purchasing a home that will likely flood? Which party gains? Which party loses? What is your opinion on the matter? [words]; rubric alignment CT/Student’s Position; WC/Context and Purpose for Writing
Many old homes got flooded, due to where they are located . And where the bayous are at. I think every time someone buys or sell a house, they should be informed of the percentage wise of the floods. Many people would loose interest, but the truth hurts. People wont have to loose their houses later on, and even some people can live throughout another disaster. There is always a postive side from the downfall.
15. Homeowners in the Special Flood Hazard Area (blue shading from Question 3) are required by FEMA to purchase flood insurance. As a realtor, what would you tell your clients who are outside the Special Flood Hazard Area? Should everyone in Houston purchase flood insurance? Write your minimum 100-word response below. [100 words]; rubric alignment CT/Student’s Position & Conclusion and Related Outcomes; WC/Context and Purpose for Writing
If I was a relator, everyone likes a honest person. So yes I would tell the truth. I wouldn't want no one to experience what I went through or my friends. I would also recommed flood insurance. Just for the best of myself and their life
16. Create a flooding infographic for the site that you investigated throughout this project. You can easily create a fun infographic at https://piktochart.com/. Your infographic should be 6.5” x 9” or smaller. Be sure to include the following components in your infographic:
· The property location.
i. Share only information that you don’t mind others seeing. For example, if you are doing your home address, you might want to only include the street name, city, and state (exclude your house number).
· Has this property flooded before?
· Is it likely that this property could flood in the future?
· What could cause this property to flood?
· Should the property owner purchase flood insurance?
· Visual elements, like the tables or graph that you created in questions 7, 9, or 10, clipart, or images of flooding in Houston. These visual elements should be easy to read (or explained). Choose your visual elements carefully—it should enhance the text on your infographic. Intentionally integrate the infographic into your message.
rubric alignment CT/Student’s Position & Conclusion and Related Outcomes; WC/Readability of Visual Elements & Relevance, Accuracy, and Integration of Visual Elements
Paste your infographic here.
Congratulations, you are done! Share your work with your neighbors and keep it handy for the next time the raindrops start falling.