A Specialized Flood Potential Index for Impact-Based Decision Support for the Texas Medical Center (21)

Amanda Lyles, StormGeo, Houston, TX

Nathan Stanford, StormGeo

 

Abstract:

Rapid onset flash flooding is one of the most dangerous weather phenomena for both personal safety and property protection. In the Greater Houston area, which can see very high rainfall rates, this can lead to rapid rises in water, particularly among the many bayous in the region, which serve as the primary drainage method for rainfall across the city. The Texas Medical Center, one of the largest medical centers in the world, is located along one of the major bayous in Houston, and is very susceptible to flooding in high precipitation events. The Medical Center has physical mitigation they can undertake to protect their facility, such as closure of flood doors to underground tunnels connecting the campus buildings. However, knowledge of when to activate this protection is critical, both in terms of facility protection and the safety of patients and doctors using these tunnels.

Through research and experimentation with meteorological parameters and archived hydrographs from Rice University, and in collaboration with the Medical Center, a Flood Potential Index has been developed to help the Medical Center better understand the potential of significant bayou flooding. This index provides them with an objective assessment of the flood risk to their facilities, helping them better plan and manage the threat for their doctors, patients and visitors.