Tropical Storm Imelda
Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Wednesday, September 18 and made its way north with winds at 40 mph. Over the course of three days, Imelda dumped as much as 43 inches of rain in parts of Southeast Texas, becoming one of the wettest tropical cyclones in U.S. history, just 17 inches shy of the 60 inches of rain from Hurricane Harvey. The tropical storm flooded thousands of homes and vehicles and left at least five people dead – including Texas areas still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Governor Abbott declared the state of emergency Thursday morning, September 19th.
During a stop at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, President Trump vowed to make the federal government available for relief efforts to Southeast Texas. On October 1, Governor Abbott sent a letter to President Trump requesting federal assistance to six counties that were severely damaged by Imelda. President Trump granted the Governor’s request, allowing residents to apply for up to $35,500 per household in assistance.
Texas Cities Draft Climate Change Action Plans
Due to the alarming IPCC report released last fall stating that nations across the globe have delayed curbing their greenhouse gas emissions and the warming of the planet of 1.5 deg. Celsius (2.7 deg. F) is inevitable. The change in our climate’s temperature could mean life-threatening heat waves, water shortages, and severe, more frequent storms. In response, four major cities in Texas have released their climate action plans.
- Austin’s Community Climate Plan 2015
- A recent city council passed resolution directs the city manager to develop a stakeholder engagement process and a regular reporting structure to update the climate plan by October 1, 2019.
- Dallas’ Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan (CECAP)
- Houston’s Climate Action Plan
- San Antonio’s Climate Ready: A Pathway for Climate Action and Adaption (CAAP)
These climate action plans enact changes to construct energy-efficient buildings, strive for a net-zero waste community, switch fully to renewable energy systems, and protect water resources. However, these initiatives will impact the affordable housing industry in terms of energy system optimization and stricter building design and practices and materials management – which may increase the cost of construction and labor. Over the long-term, each plan assumes the overall costs will balance out with energy and water use savings for both landlords and tenants.