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Texas Medical Center Makes Preparations Ahead Of Possible Flooding From Harvey

After learning some hard lessons after Tropical Storm Allison 16 years ago, the Texas Medical Center has made millions of dollars in improvements. It also put some new procedures in place. We talked to one of the big hospitals about what they’re doing differently this time around.

Allison was the most expensive tropical storm in history and it certainly took its toll in the Med Center. Flood waters destroyed research projects that had been going on for years. Underground electrical systems and emergency generators were also knocked out of service. It’s estimated the Med Center suffered about $2 billion in damages.

Since that time there’s been a lot of upgrades to flood gates and subway doors designed to protect those facilities. As to when they make the call to close those gates, Roberta Schwartz with Houston Methodist Hospital says all it depends on how high the bayous rise.

“When they reach about seven feet is when we start putting up our protection,” says Schwartz.

Another big concern for Med Center hospitals is how to keep the power on during an outage. Schwartz says they’ve moved their emergency generator to higher ground.

“And we have tested and tried those generators during Ike, during other storms, and we’ve had no problem with our generators,” adds Schwartz.

And what about cars parked in underground garages?

Schwartz says they’ll make an announcement before they close any flood gates so people can get their vehicles out.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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