Currently — August 22nd, 2022

The weather, currently.

After the hottest start to summer for Texas in recorded history, this week will feature heavy rains.

The remnants of Potential Tropical Cyclone Four, which made landfall near the Texas/Mexico border late last week will merge with a stalled frontal boundary over north Texas early this week, bringing torrential rains to drought-stricken fields and neighborhoods.

Flash flooding could be severe at times, with rainfall rates of up to 3 inches (75 mm) per hour across central and north Texas early this week. Overall, total rainfall this week could reach 10 inches (250 mm) in some spots.

As we ease into peak hurricane season, soggy soils could worsen future flooding potential throughout the month of September, should at least one tropical system make landfall along the Gulf Coast.

On average, freshwater flooding from heavy rainfall is the most deadly part of any tropical system, especially along the Gulf of Mexico where water temperatures have been near record levels this year due to the influence of climate change driven by fossil fuel burning.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

Houston is using nature to reduce flooding.

And now that hurricane season is well underway, the city’s green solutions are more important than ever.

Exploration Green in Clear Lake was once an abandoned golf course. Now, it is both a public greenspace and a flood detention project. The project first started in 2005 and is a collaboration between the conservancy and the Clear Lake City Water Authority.

The fifth and final retention pond will be finished around next year. During storms, these five ponds can each hold 100 million gallons of floodwater that would otherwise be rushing into the local bayous and causing flash flooding. One the ponds are full, the water will drain into the bayous. When it’s not raining or storming, the ponds hold water to support native plant and animal life.

Exploration Green works with nature, rather than against it, mimicking natural life to absorb and slow down rain water. In fact, when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, the first pond was almost complete filled with stormwater, saving around 150 homes from flooding, according to reporting by Houston Public Media.

Along with mitigating flood risk, green infrastructure is also known to improve water and air quality, minimize erosion and reduce urban heat.

—Aarohi Sheth