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New Houston Law Requires Elevated Homes

April 18th, 2018 Hurricane Harvey
Houston Flood Insurance Attorney

A recent study by the Houston Public Works organization found that more than 80% of Houston homes could have avoided serious flood damage if they had been elevated. They concluded homes should be built at least a foot above the estimated water level of a 100-year storm—meaning total rainfall has a 1% chance of occurring in any year. To compare, Hurricane Harvey was a 1-in-1,000-year storm—with total rainfall having a 0.1% chance of occurring.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has proposed homes should be built two feet above the estimated level of a 500-year storm—where total rainfall has a 0.2% chance of occurring.  Recently, Houston city council members determined that new homes and buildings in 100-year to 500-year flood zones must be elevated two feet above the ground.

While elevation is important, it fails to address the definition of floodplains or the creation of flood maps. The root of the issue is confusion surrounding flood prediction. Naming “100-year” or “500-year” storms misleads the public into thinking they’re safe in areas that only flood once a century, as the term simply means a flood has certain chance of occurring.

Flood maps use historical flood data to help determine the areas at risk, but the overall lack of data makes them unreliable. For instance, certain areas in Houston only have access to stream gauge data that is less than 50 years old.

Issues with the current system to draw floodplain maps—and considerations regarding climate change—require a change in approach, as basing elevation on 100-year storms may not keep structures safe. Predicting flooding is a challenge, but Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms mean scientists must align their methods with current issues to better inform the public.

If your home suffered severe damage during Hurricane Harvey and you have flood insurance, we can handle your entire Houston flood insurance claim for you. Contact the Harvey Flood Property Loss Attorneys at Long & Long at 713-863-0333.

The attorneys at Long & Long have successfully handled over 7,500 property loss claims to secure the insurance benefits our clients deserve. Our attorneys fight on the front lines against unfair insurance payments and have dedicated their practice to fighting both FEMA and private insurance companies. We have been up against their adjusters, their lawyers, and their underpayment tactics time and time again. Let us help you get the recovery you deserve.

Our experienced Harvey Flood Insurance Claims Attorneys will fight to get you paid fully. Call Long & Long Property Loss Attorneys today at 713-863-0333. One of our experienced Houston Flood Insurance Lawyers is standing by to help.