Message from Commissioner Vincent Morales
Hello, I hope this message today finds you well! I wanted to provide an update on some existing information, and some new information as well. As I have said, I will let you know- what I know- when I know it!
First. Statistical Rain Data for Fort Bend County
In a recent memo to County Commissioners from Drainage District Director Mark Vogler, Mr. Vogler responded to an article that recently appeared in the Houston Chronicle that indicated the County was still using 1961 precipitation data in its drainage operations. Seeking the opinion of a 3rd party, independent expert, an investigation was conducted to determine whether the rainfall data contained in the Drainage Criteria Manual is representative of updated information. The expert wrote, “a review of the latest update of the FBCDD criteria manual confirms that the rainfall depth duration frequency information provided in the manual is derived from a National Weather Service Technical Paper (TP-40) prepared in the 1960s. HOWEVER, the consultant goes on to say, “It was further confirmed that the reason why FBCDD did not revise its rainfall depth duration frequency with the more up to date 2004 rainfall data available from the USGS was that the updated and more recent data showed LOWER amounts of rainfall for virtually every duration and frequency that what had been developed in the 1960’s.
Mark Vogler went on to comment that “the National Weather Service is working on a project NOAA Atlas 14, which is updating rainfall rate standards for the entire Country. This report is expected to supersede the TP 40 we presently use. The Atlas 14 has been completed for a number of states, but the results for Texas are still in the works. When the report is release for Texas we will review the information and make appropriate decisions at that time.”
Second. Drainage Study/ Congressional Action
Per Judge Hebert and Commissioners Court: Fort Bend County will engage in an exhaustive, top to bottom analysis of the entire drainage system as a whole. This comprehensive watershed study will be coordinated and conducted between the County Engineering Dept. and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Judge has further charged the engineers in his request to Congress to develop a consensus set of findings and recommendations. In addition to this Judge Hebert has sought relief in the form of an exemption for drainage ditch maintenance in the Clean Water Act. Specifically it is our intent to clarify the language and remove the disagreement among federal agencies that ultimately add years to what are otherwise routine maintenance operations.
Third. Letter from General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush
Recently the Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush wrote to FBC Judge Hebert. In the letter the Commissioner stated that he was working directly with the Governor, Members of Congress, HUD as well as Homeland Security to ensure our state gets every dollar possible for this disaster. He went on to elaborate that Governor Abbott announced that the General Land Office (GLO) will take on the role of administering short term housing recovery in partnership with FEMA. Further he stated, “Over the next 18 months the GLO will coordinate an unprecedented recovery that is locally run, state supported and federally funded. This housing recovery will consist of FEMA funded programs that have never been combined before.”
FEMA has extended the time for qualifying Harvey survivors to stay in hotels for transitional sheltering. See the notice at the link below.
FEMA Request for Public Assistance (RPA) Forms DUE - October 31, 2017.
The form is available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1505397829631-758807d2f22ea320a71a74ade429675d/FEMA_Form_009-0-49_RPA_508_FINAL.pdf
I hope you find this information useful. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.
Vincent Morales, Jr.
Fort Bend County Commissioner, Precinct 1