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Environment

Texas Is Paying the Price for Its Lack of Flood Infrastructure

While cities along its rivers are growing the most dramatically, the state continues to forego any and all central planning for floods.
Gabby Aviles carries her daughter Audrey through floodwaters outside their apartment in Houston on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.
Gabby Aviles carries her daughter Audrey through floodwaters outside their apartment in Houston on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.David J. Phillip/AP

Houston is buckling down as a major storm sweeps east in Texas. Between Austin and San Antonio, that system has led to the worst flooding in more than 30 years. Aerial footage captured by a drone shows the bucolic waters of Barton Creek in downtown Austin rushing like a raging river.  

Central Texas hasn’t suffered a storm this severe since the Memorial Day Flood of 1981, when severe storms in Austin claimed 13 lives and caused tens of millions of dollars in property damage. That year, Shoal Creek surged from a flow of 90 gallons per minute to more than 6 million gallons per minute—one of many rivers that flooded dramatically, as the Austin American-Statesman recalls.