Brays Flooding History

Brays Flooding History

Flooding in the Brays Bayou watershed has been a challenge for area citizens from the early days of settlement to present day. Although nature will always pose a threat, the work from Project Brays will significantly reduce that risk. The massive storms that have been recorded in Harris County and along Brays Bayou serve as a terrible reminder that nature can prevail, at any time, against the struggle to reduce flood damages. The work being done for Project Brays is significant, and it will remove the mapped 1% (100-year) floodplain from thousands of homes and businesses. While flood damage reduction projects can greatly reduce the risk of flooding, flood insurance is the very best protection against damages incurred from flooding.

Since the early days of settlement in Houston, residents, businesses, schools and other institutions have had to contend with flooding along Brays Bayou and many other Harris County waterways. Over the years, we have improved our abilities to cope with and reduce flood damages. In the end, Nature will always have its way, given the right circumstances. After all, flooding IS Harris County’s natural disaster. Here’s a look at some of the flooding history within the Brays Bayou watershed.

October 1843

Major flooding along Brays Bayou. The local flooding results in all bridges leading into the city being under water.

December 1913

Storm causes Brays Bayou to spill out of its banks. Hundreds of area citizens are evacuated from their homes.

September 1919

A storm causes flooding along Brays Bayou. Canoes and small boats are primary transport near Rice Institute.

April 1929

9.5 inches of rainfall along Brays Bayou causes extreme damage to many residences and businesses.

August 1932

Rainfall from a hurricane causes extensive flooding along Brays Bayou and many other Harris County bayous.

October 1943

Brays Bayou overflows due to intense rain. Bellaire and southeast Houston under water. 11,500 homes flooded.

August 1945

Major flooding recorded along Brays Bayou. Heaviest rainfall recorded in Harris County to date. Widespread evacuations are reported.

May 1946

Intense rainstorm floods many areas along Brays Bayou. Over four inches of rain is recorded in just two hours.

October 1949

Heavy rains inundate areas of Brays Bayou. Over ten inches of rain is recorded in 24 hours. Damages estimated at $5 million.

October 1959

Major thunderstorm causes flooding along Brays Bayou. Damages estimated at $1 million. More than 100 homes are flooded.

June 1976

Extreme flooding is recorded along Brays Bayou. Rainfall in excess of 13 inches occurs in lower portions of the watershed. Texas Medical Center sustains heavy damages.

November 1978

Major thunderstorm causes flooding along Brays and several other bayous across Harris County. Minor damage to homes is reported.

August 1981

Brays Bayou rises out of its banks in some areas. Many homes are flooded in the upper portions of the watershed.

September 1983

Record flood levels are recorded in mid-to-lower Brays Bayou. Approximately 1,000 homes and other structures are flooded.

March 1992

Record flood levels are recorded in upper Brays Bayou. Over 300 homes are flooded.

October 1994

Moderate flooding is recorded in the mid-to-lower portions of the Brays Bayou watershed. About 100 homes are flooded.

June 2001

Tropical Storm Allison brings record rainfall and devastation to Harris County. Damages exceed $5 billion countywide. The Texas Medical Center, located in the Brays Bayou watershed, sustains $2 billion in damages. Some five-day rainfall amounts exceed 20 inches within the Brays watershed and over 38” in one area. More than 6,000 residences are flooded near Brays Bayou. Allison is the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.