"I just don't think I can go through another flood." Many of Hansen's neighbors, who live in an area of Houston known as Memorial City, have had the same experience.
They've flooded in 2009, 20, and none of them live in any known floodplain.
(His successor shares his views.) The claim that "these magic sponges out in the prairie would have absorbed all that water is absurd," Talbott said.
He also said the flood control district has no plans to study climate change or its impacts on Harris County, the third-most-populous county in the United States.
"More people die here than anywhere else from floods," said Sam Brody, a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher who specializes in natural hazards mitigation. As millions have flocked to the metropolitan area in recent decades, local officials have largely snubbed stricter building regulations, allowing developers to pave over crucial acres of prairie land that once absorbed huge amounts of rainwater.
That has led to an excess of floodwater during storms that chokes the city's vast bayou network, drainage systems and two huge federally owned reservoirs, endangering many nearby homes — including Virginia Hammond's.
But Stephen Costello, an engineer and former city councilman and mayoral candidate, has had no budget, staff or firm timeline.On top of that, scientists say climate change is causing torrential rainfall to happen more often, meaning storms that used to be considered "once-in-a-lifetime" events are happening with greater frequency.Rare storms that have only a miniscule chance of occurring in any given year have repeatedly battered the city in the past 15 years.Current standards that govern how and where developers and residents can build are mostly sufficient, they say.And all the recent monster storms are freak occurrences — not harbingers of global warming or a sign of things to come.A month after the Tax Day flood, another mega-storm hit the city, dumping well over a foot of rain on parts of Harris County, home to Houston, in 24 hours.