Monthly Archives: May 2015

May 2015 Houston flood

I’m posting to share a hydrograph from a channel in Houston to show how fast this flood happened, and why I think it may have left so many drivers stranded in the roads. Below is a hydrograph and rain data from Buffalo Bayou in Houston, from before the major rain to this evening (the day after). Buffalo Bayou is a largely engineered channel which means it conveys water much faster than a natural channel — this explains the really abrupt rise in the hydrograph. But why did it leave so many drivers stranded? Simple!

The Rockets Conference finals game began at 8:00pm, just before the rain started. Everyone ignored warnings to stay home and watched the game (I don’t blame them) and then when the game ended ~11:30pm, all the rain had flooded the streets (not yet into the bayou) and stranded drivers. The bayou overtopped its banks at about 2:00am this morning, and continued to rise through the morning. This led to vehicles remaining stuck and becoming even deeper submerged. Luckily, the water has began to recede.


Flood hydrograph and precipitation plot. note: x-axes do not line up.

Field Work — Mississippi Delta field trip

Well it’s been a while since I got back from Louisiana and our trip along the Mississippi River and delta so I figured I’d better post something. It’s been a busy few weeks getting ready for our summer campaign in China (international shipping of research equipment is an absolute nightmare I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies) so I got nostalgic for our time on the delta. Below is one of my favorite pictures of the group, showing us all sunk into our knees in mud just after we tried catching methane bubbles in a bucket to light them on fire. The photo was taken down on the distributary channels of Cubit’s Gap, a diversion on the Mississippi delta that was blasted ~100 years ago.

The group on the Mississippi delta trip, taken down one of the distributary channels of Cubit's Gap.

The group on the Mississippi delta trip, taken down one of the distributary channels of Cubit’s Gap.