Historic Flooding in Harris County
In April 1929, an enormous gulf storm hits Houston and the surrounding areas and lasts 14 hours.
This storm produced a reported rainfall close to 10 inches. All bayous are reported to be out of their banks.
Extensive damage was sustained to structures in almost all of Harris County.
Whilst still recovering from the last storm, another major storm hits the county right on its heels. In May 1929, the Buffalo and White Oak Bayous both left their banks after a foot of rain fell. The San Jacinto River was 30 feet above normal. Downtown suffered massive damage.
This storm caused widespread damage to crops and structures, along with heavy street flooding.
The estimated property damage in 1929 was $1.4 million, an astounding sum at the time.
Many structures had just been rebuilt after the 1929 storms when another flood devastated downtown in December of 1935.
The bayous rose over 50 feet above normal levels leading to damage to 40% of buildings and destroying almost all bridges beyond repair. Property damage doubled that of the 1929 floods and the Port of Houston was clogged with debris.
After experiencing several extremely destructive floods, essentially back-to-back, the citizens of Harris County decided it was time for a flood control system. The Harris County Flood Control District was created in 1937.
After 1937, the Harris County Flood Control District worked with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to construct Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs to prevent the flooding of Buffalo Bayou into downtown. But, unfortunately, flooding in the area has continued.
In October 1949 a Category 4 hurricane hits Freeport with 135 mph winds (90 mph at Houston).
Heavy precipitation from the storm caused flooding, particularly in southwest Houston and surrounding areas.
The 1949 Texas hurricane totaled some $6.7 million in damages.