The Stream, November 15: Houston Skyscrapers Worsened Hurricane Harvey Rainfall, Study Says

The Global Rundown

A new study suggests that skyscrapers in Houston, Texas, worsened the city’s flooding during Hurricane Harvey. Analysts warn that Africa’s largest cities are at “extreme risk” from climate change. Hurricane Florence broke 28 stream and river flood records in North and South Carolina. Vapor-condensing panels provide water to a rescue center in arid northern Kenya. Experts say recent flash floods in Jordan were partly due to poor urban planning.

“Without the open areas that soaked up rainfall or the presence of modern sewer systems, heavy downpour turns into destructive flash floods.” –Abu Hammour, a civil engineer and environmental expert, in reference to recent flooding in Jordan that left 12 dead. Experts say poor urban planning and insufficient government action left the country prone to flash floods. Al Jazeera

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – November 12, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a weekly snapshot. Coverage this week includes: Last month’s water tanker strike in Chennai, India, and an environmental lawsuit in Ecuador.

HotSpots H2O, November 12: Three-Day Tanker Strike Reveals Water Tensions in Chennai, IndiaPrompted by a court ruling restricting their access to groundwater, private water tankers in Chennai went on strike in October, a move that impacted thousands of businesses and homes.

By The Numbers

28 Streams and rivers in North and South Carolina that reached record-high water levels due to Hurricane Florence. In South Carolina, the storm set a new record for precipitation from a tropical event. Post and Courier

400 liters Clean water that is produced each day by vapor-condensing “hydropanels” at the Samburu Girls Foundation in northern Kenya. Previously, girls living at the center had to travel long distances to gather water, but the panels now produce enough drinking water to meet the center’s needs. Zero Mass Water, the company that produced the panels, hopes the new technology can be utilized “across the socioeconomic spectrum.” Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Houston’s skyscrapers increased the amount of rainfall in the city during Hurricane Harvey, a new study shows. Scientists modeled the amount of rain that would have fallen if Houston was cropland, and found urbanization significantly increased precipitation from the storm. Researchers suggest that skyscrapers, pavement, and other infrastructure exacerbated rainfall and flooding. NPR

On The Radar

Analysts warn that Africa’s rapidly-growing cities are at “extreme risk” from climate change over the next several decades. Shifting weather patterns could increase the risk of flooding and natural disasters in cities. At the same time, drought could upset agriculture and push farmers into urban areas, putting immense pressure on food and water resources. Reuters

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