Apr 29 2013

A Few Good Reads (4/29/13): Flash Floods in Houston, Continuing Inundation in the Midwest

This week: Heavy flooding in Houston, flooding in the Midwest continues, Fargo still looking for a permanent flood solution, the Colorado names most endangered in 2013, and Microsoft targeting engineers with the Surface Pro.

Drivers stranded in Houston floods by reuters

Flooding in Houston 2013: Houston flood photos (Before It’s News)

Flash flooding in Houston, Texas has caused huge power outages, local media reports. Storms caused heavy rainfall and hail on the Greater Houston area.

About six inches of rainfall has been recorded within three hours in some parts of Harris County.

Emergency: Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell declared a state of emergency as the flooding river poured into the basements of several hotels and other downtown buildings

Midwest states continue to fight record flooding (Los Angeles Times)

In Fargo, N.D., streets along the Red River were shut down so a temporary levee could be constructed to hold back rising waters. More than 1.1 million sandbags were filled, according to updates on the city’s website, and President Obama ordered that disaster relief be made available to the area.

As of late Saturday, the river water was at 26½ feet, well above the 18-foot flood stage. National Weather Service forecasters expect the river to crest at near-record highs of 38 to 39 feet as snowpack melts with warmer spring temperatures.

Earlier this week, residents in Grand Rapids, Mich., had to evacuate after the Grand River reached record-high levels. Water levels peaked Monday and have dropped about six feet since, according to the National Weather Service.

Fargo seeks permanent flood solution (Detroit News)

With the region finally thawing out from another unusually snowy winter and the river again rising, local leaders are using this year’s communitywide campaign to build support for a 36-mile canal that would steer the floodwater around Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., and finally fix the area’s nagging problem.

But the plan, which has been kicked around for a few years, has drawn strong opposition from upstream farmers, homeowners and businesses, who don’t want the diversion channel carving through their communities. They say its nearly $2 billion price tag is a waste of money, and North Dakota legislators have balked at committing any state money until the federal government gives the OK and pitches in funds.

America’s Most Endangered River of 2013: The Colorado (National Geographic)

According to the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study (December 2012), there is not enough water in the Colorado River to meet  the basin’s current water demands, let alone support future demand increases. Scientists predict climate change will reduce the Colorado River’s flow by 10 to 30 percent by 2050.

Microsoft Targets Engineers With Surface Pro (ENR)

Microsoft is wooing the construction industry with its new Surface Windows 8 Pro, a touch-screen tablet that can act as a desktop workstation for an engineer in the field or in transit. The high-resolution, lightweight device offers engineers the ability to work with computer-aided design projects or view building information modeling files while enabling other applications on the machine.

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