Over the past few years, Houston has been experiencing flooding throughout most part of the city including the southside of Houston, around Brays Bayou, where I lived. The most severe flood hit Houston in August of 2017 during Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane did not directly impact Houston, but there was torrential rainfall that affected the Houston Metro area.
According to Eric S. Blake and David A. Zelinsky from the National Hurricane Center, “36 to 48 inches [of rainfall was] recorded [throughout] the Houston metro area.” In most neighborhoods, the power stayed on as well as the water, so the only issue was flooding. The neighborhoods surrounding Brays Bayou received about 18 inches of water inside some homes. Many of the homes in this area are older one-story homes, and those who got trapped in the water had to find a way to escape the rising levels. In some cases, people whose houses flooded had the opportunity to go to a neighbor’s two-story home, but in other situations, people had to be rescued by boat or a helicopter. The high levels of water did not start going down until two to three days after the initial flood due to continuous rainfall.
In my research project, I would like to figure out a way to help the city of Houston approach flooding better. Hopefully, I will be able to come up with some ways to limit the amount of flooding or even prevent flooding. The idea of fixing the city’s drainage system has popped up, and some things have been done in certain portions of the city where flooding is most severe, but there are still discussions of what needs to be changed or fixed in the current system to ensure the least amount of flooding. The city has also invested in new vehicles that can withstand high levels of water, so that more teams can go out into the water and perform rescue missions, but I would still like to see if I could come up with another way to help with the evacuation process if there is ever another time when the water rises to four feet. Another thing that the city has done to prepare for upcoming floods is require new homes to be built at a certain elevation which is good for future flooding, but I believe that there should be something done to prepare houses that maybe were not completely ruined in the flood without having to tear them down. Some houses have been lifted, and maybe that should be the approached used, if the homeowner does not want to build a new house, but also over the past few years, I have seen people in my neighborhood fixing up their houses just to see them being ruined in the next flood. If I cannot find a way to protect a house from flooding, then maybe I can figure out a way to turn residential areas that are prone to flooding into something else that could somehow maintain the excess water without flooding any residential areas. I would figure out how to help my city during flooding using my personal experience and information that I will obtain from research.
In class, we have been discussing different ways to research. We have learned how to make researching things easier for us. For example, we have learned that we can use quotations to limit our search to a specific phrase which is beneficial when you do not want to waste your time going through millions of sources. We also learned about Google Scholar, a browser that only contains scholarly sources. This is very helpful, especially when it comes to writing a research paper, because by using Google Scholar, you know that the information has been reviewed by experts. These sources go through a process before they are published into journals and classified as scholarly sources; this process is called peer review. A paper is first presented to a publisher who gets at least two experts who anonymously give feedback to the author who is not named to prevent biased feedback. Once the author makes corrections to his or her work, it is then shown to the publisher a second time, then it is decided if there needs to be anymore adjustments to the work, and if it is decided that the piece needs more revisions then they go through the process of peer review until the work has been deemed publish worthy. This process makes these sources extremely reliable, however due to the process of peer review the work might be of no relevance once it is published, or due to new discoveries, the information being discussed could no longer be correct. However, if you use the CRAAP test then using a scholarly source that is no longer up to date is not an issue. The CRAAP test is a test used to validate a source; CRAAP is an acronym that stands for currency, relevance, author, accuracy, and purpose. Using these tools that we have learned in class, finding information for my research project should not be an issue.
I think that I will be using sources that contain data about all the floods in Southeast Houston since 2015. I think I would need to know about water levels throughout the city during the time of the floods, how long it took for the water to reach maximum height, and how long it took the water to drain each time. I also need to know about the city plans in order to examine the current drainage system and about any bodies of water in the area, like bayous and rivers. I will also have to find public documents about any projects, relating to the drainage system, that occurred since 2015 or any upcoming projects or any proposals.
Once I have all the information needed to complete my research paper, I will begin with the introduction of why my topic of flooding is significant to both me and Houston, and then I present some things that could be done to prevent future flooding or help the city during a flood. In the latter, I will go into detail of what has been done since the flooding happened and about possible projects related to fixing the issue of flooding, then I will come up with something that goes off any possible projects or I will come up with my own project that I can present to the city. Once I have an idea of how to help the city, I will go into thorough detail of how this will work by presenting plans that I will come up with based on the research that I will do. Once I finish discussing my plans, I will explain why my plans should be used rather than someone else’s plans. I am going to limit my research to Southeast Houston because it is the area where I lived and because Houston is a very large city, and if I talked about the whole city, then it would require much more from me if I want to be as specific as I am planning on being.
I came up with this topic based on the first blog that was assigned to us. I figured that I should come up with a topic that is personal to me because I know that a topic that is personal to me would make me more passionate about my research especially if it deals with something concerning my hometown. I hope that since I am invested in my topic that I will produce an amazing research paper that could be used in the future. I am honestly very excited to start the research because it is something that I have been interested in for a few years, but I also procrastinate pretty frequently, so my biggest concern with this paper is that I am being too ambitious. However, if I know what my biggest fear is then I will most likely overcome it, and with the blogs we are required to write each week, I will most likely use them as a way to monitor my progress on my paper.