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Flood Control, Weather Service Review Work During Harvey

Harris County meteorologist Jeff Lindner thinks too much focus was placed on the release of water at the Barker and Addick’s reservoirs, and the San Jacinto River. Focus he believes should have been on the neighboring flood gauges

Harris County bayous.

Harris County Flood Control and the National Weather Service are reviewing their effectiveness in providing information during Hurricane Harvey. Meeting with local media and meteorologist, they’re looking for ways that they can improve communication with the public during a storm.

Overall, the agencies feel like they did a good job of keeping the public informed during the historic hurricane. According to Harris County meteorologist Jeff Lindner, ensuring the media is providing accurate information is also very important. “The most important thing with all this, is that we’re all saying the same thing at the same time. You don’t want people getting mixed messages,” he said.

With 22 different watersheds in Harris County, Lindner said it’s also important that people understand what causes flooding in your neighborhood.

“Know where your water is coming from. If you live at your house right here, what’s upstream of you? If it rains up here, if it rains ten or fifteen miles in some direction does that water come to you or not? And so this is some education responsibility of the local residents,” said Lindner.

If there’s one area of need of improvement in the communication between the media, the weather services and the public, Lindner thinks it’s the focus of some information.

He thinks too much focus was placed on the release of water at the Barker and Addick’s reservoirs, and the San Jacinto River. Focus he believes should have been on the neighboring flood gauges.

“For example on the west fork of the San Jacinto River, Lake Conroe water, the 80-thousand c-f-s that was released out of the lake at the peak was only about 40% of the total water coming down the river. And so it’s really important for the citizens and residents in this particular area of Kingwood and Humble to focus on that river gauge at US 59. Because that’s telling you the whole story.”

With 154 gauges in Harris County, Lindner thinks they are a more accurate indicator of possible flooding near your home.

Both the National Weather Service and County Flood Control believe that Harvey is far from the last flooding incident Houston will deal with.

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