Researchers are determined to explain what caused Houston’s Harvey floods with science

SUGAR LAND, TX - AUGUST 31: Oscar Peru of U.S. Customs and Border Protection searches for flood victims from a helicopter after torrential rains pounded the area following Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on August 31, 2017 near Sugar Land, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi August 25, has dumped nearly 50 inches of rain in and around areas Houston. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey are reportedly examining the causes behind the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

According to reports, the research team, led by hydrologist Jeff East of the Texas Water Science Center, took over 1,500 measurements of the high-water marks from the floodwaters, which included debris, seeds and other detritus left over from the receding waters.

The team found several hundred of them broke decades-old records, surpassing previously-marked levels at more than 20 rivers, streams and bayous.

East told an interviewer with National Public Radio some of the markers are “the highest that it’s been since we’ve been gauging the site since the 1940s.”

RELATED: Should Homes In Houston’s Flood Plains Be Razed Or Rebuilt?

Sam Brody, a professor at Texas A&M University and the Director of the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores, is also reportedly examining the issues surrounding the devastating floods.

In an interview with NPR, Brody described the repeated flooding in Houston an “urban, human development, built-environment problem.”

“We’re piling in people with roads and rooftops and parking lots into these low-lying coastal areas and exacerbating these problems,” he said in the interview.

Brody said he is also leading a team of researchers tasked with finding solutions to Houston’s flooding problems, suggesting city officials vote to build a third reservoir to go with the Addicks and Barker reservoirs on the city’s west side.

He said he further advised builders put their homes three-feet above the current flood levels.

RELATED: Study: Houston FEMA Map Missed 75 Percent of Damaged Areas

Richard Hyde, a retired petroleum geologist, who survived several floods in his Meyerland home, said Harvey caused him severe damage this time around.

While he said he agrees with the idea of building a third reservoir, during an interview, like many of the records shattered during Harvey, he pointed out the proposal for a third reservoir is decades-old.

“They did not build the third reservoir, which was so badly needed,” Hyde said. “Instead, they built houses. Houses (generate) tax money and reservoirs don’t.”

Stay tuned, Houston.

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