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Climate Adaptation

New Storm to Test Post-Harvey Houston Infrastructure

Tropical Storm Nicholas is brewing off the Texas coast, the stiffest challenge to the city’s flood planning since 2017

Flooded neighborhoods near Interstate 10 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston on Aug. 29, 2017.

Flooded neighborhoods near Interstate 10 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston on Aug. 29, 2017.

Photographer: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

On Aug. 25, the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which dumped about 50 inches of rain on Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city “is safer today as it prepares to move forward.”

Now comes Tropical Storm Nicholas as a test. Nicholas, which is strengthening and may become a hurricane, could drop as much as 20 inches in the region starting Monday night.

Since Harvey, Harris County, home to Houston, passed a $2.5 billion bond program to build and strengthen flood-control infrastructure, and the federal government authorized four major projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.