Houston has been hit with its fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms. The most recent hurricane causing major damage was Hurricane Harvey in 2017. During Hurricane Harvey, the rainfall got as high as 56 inches, causing major flooding in many neighborhoods in the Houston area. Many residents had to evacuate their homes and even abandon them permanently due to the flooding. 

While hurricanes of this magnitude are not common, Houston does receive quite a bit of rainfall throughout the year. This makes certain neighborhoods more prone to flooding than others, even during moderate storms. 

The best way to avoid all of these issues is to checkout rainfall stats in various areas of the city and suburbs. Here’s your inside scoop on the most frequently flooded neighborhoods in Houston:

Bellaire

Bellaire is located in Harris County and has a population of about 17,000. It is known as the “City of Homes” because it is a primarily residential area. 

About the Neighborhood

A high-end suburban town, Bellaire residents are mostly families who own their homes. There are many activities, such as shopping and dining, in and near the city center that keep residents entertained. The homes in Bellaire are moderately to highly priced and are larger-than-average. Bellaire is considered a very family-oriented area with excellent schools and great safety ratings. 

Flooding Data

Bellaire has a flat coastal plain topography, which makes it more susceptible to flooding. Brays Bayou is the designated watershed for the city of Bellaire. This means that most rainfall drains into the Bayou. Bellaire has had 30 instances of major flooding in the last 100 years. The city of Bellaire lists out precautions and flood insurance recommendations on the Flood Protection Information page on their website.

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Clear Lake City

Clear Lake City is a master-planned community in the Bay Area. Within Harris County and located near the NASA Johnson Space Center, it is a unique neighborhood. 

About the Neighborhood

Clear Lake City is so unique because many of the residents are actually employed at the Johnson Space Center and other airspace centers. The city also has a rich arts culture with ballet, theater, symphony and arts shows put on monthly, if not weekly. Residents enjoy the close proximity to the bay and the area’s incredible parks.

Flooding Data

Clear Lake City, and the surrounding bay area, is highly susceptible to flooding because it is so close to the bay. The topography of Clear Lake City is coastal floodplain. However, to combat the flat elevation, newer homes are being developed at an incline above sea level. This is most commonly achieved by building up the home site itself, although in some cases homes are built on elevated foundations. In Clear Lake City, the drainage watersheds are Horsepen Bayou, Armand Bayou and Cow Bayou. Clear Lake City has information on stormwater flooding and how residents can report it.

Shoreacres

With a population of almost 1,500, Shore Acres is a small neighborhood outside of Houston. Shore Acres is located in Harris County in the East Houston area, close to the water.

About the Neighborhood

The city of Shoreacres is a very small residential community, with many residents living close to the water. Shoreacres is known for its beautiful waterfront views, beaches and historic homes. Close to the Johnson Space Center, Kemah Boardwalk and neighboring La Porte, residents can enjoy nearby attractions and big cities without sacrificing small town feel. 

Flooding Data

Shoreacres was among the hardest hit during Hurricane Ike in 2008. 88% of the homes in Shoreacres were flooded. The city has been designated a Special Flood Hazard Area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The topography of Shoreacres is that of a floodplain and the drainage watersheds include the bay and various canals throughout the city.

Kingwood

This master-planned community is located in Harris and Montgomery counties. Kingwood has a population of about 81,700 and is a census designated place. 

About the Neighborhood

Kingwood, or the “livable forest”, is a suburban neighborhood that is great for families. The community has 25 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own recreational facilities such as public pools or playgrounds. The city center of Kingwood has plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options for residents to enjoy. 

Flooding Data

The results of Hurricane Harvey were devastating in the Kingwood community. Over 3,650 homes in Kingwood were flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Damage was widespread and the area has seen some other minor flooding incidents since then. Some areas of Kingwood have been labeled “special flood hazard areas” and some areas have been labeled as “other flood hazard areas”. This is because Kingwood is a floodplain and is close to Lake Houston and other bodies of water.

Spring Branch

Spring Branch has a population of 134,225 and is located within Harris County. It is in northwest Houston and has large Korean and Hispanic populations.

About the Neighborhood

Spring Branch is a residential neighborhood with excellent schools and many recreational activities. The city has many parks, trails, pools and sports complexes for residents to use. Its close proximity to downtown Houston makes it attractive to those who work in the area but still want a suburban lifestyle. 

Flooding Data

Spring Branch has experienced flooding during every hurricane that has hit Houston. The most recent damaging hurricanes were Imelda in 2019 and Harvey in 2017. Spring Branch had among the highest reports of flooding in Houston during Hurricane Imelda. There are many bayous that run through Spring Branch including Spring Branch Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. Some areas of Spring Branch are classified as “special flood hazard areas” and some areas are classified as “0.2% chance annual flood hazard” by FEMA.

Baytown

One of the largest cities in Houston, Baytown has a population of about 71,800. It is located in the Bay Area of East Houston and its counties are Harris and Chambers. 

About the Neighborhood

Because the city is close to the water, residents enjoy boating, swimming and participating in water sports. The city is both industrial and residential, with many residents working in the city. The industrial parks in Baytown are some of the largest in the world and have distribution and manufacturing facilities for Walmart and Home Depot. Downtown Baytown has many options for residents to enjoy some entertainment. From theater to ballet, Baytown has a great arts and culture scene. 

Flooding Data

The city of Baytown is a coastal plain bordered by water on three sides: Galveston Bay on the south and west and Cedar Bayou on the east. Being so close to the water, the area easily floods. Most of the area is classified as “0.2% chance annual flood hazard” by FEMA. Only the areas closest to the water are classified as special flood hazards. During Hurricane Harvey, the city retained 40 inches of rain in some areas and almost $200 billion in damage.

Braeswood Place

Braeswood Place is a small residential neighborhood with less than 2,500 homes and a population of 21,800 outside of West University. It is located in the Inner Loop and is part of Harris County.

About the Neighborhood

This residential area is known for its beautiful neighborhoods and parks. Its largest park, Karl Young Park, has tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, playgrounds and more. Many of the residents in Braeswood Place work at the Texas Medical Center, which is one of Houston’s largest employers. 

Flooding Data

Braeswood Place is located in a floodplain and the closest watershed is Brays Bayou after which it is named. The most common issues that Braeswood Place encounters when it comes to flooding is in streets rather than homes. This is due to the flat topography and poor drainage. In May of 2015, records show that more than 29 homes flooded after heavy rains. Much of the area is considered to be a special flood hazard.

Flooding in Houston

Houston is no stranger to flooding mostly due to its coastal plain topography. The hurricanes and heavy rainfall make it more likely for homes to experience flooding. It is highly recommended that homeowners purchase flood insurance if they are in a high risk area. Houston residents can use the FEMA flood risk map to find out if they are in a flood hazard area. Those considering moving to Houston should also do this before purchasing a home. 
While flooding may be common in Houston, the city is working tirelessly to help to improve drainage, build dams and put other safety measures in place to help reduce the number of floods that occur. Take a look at the Houston flood safety webpage to learn more.

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