The hurricane in Houston is an unbelievable tragedy and our hearts go out to the many residents involved. There are at least two factors affecting Houston which made the effects of the storm worse. Both of these factors also effect St. Louis.
The first factor is climate change. I am not a scientist but it is sufficient to say that the consistently warm water in the gulf made the storm worse. Scientists are predicting an increase in bad storms due to climate change.
Second, the utter lack of zoning in Houston made the situation significantly worse. The rapid growth in the area with no allowance for open space or other plans for water runoff is common. Houston is now the fourth largest city in the United States and it is largely build upon swampland that is prone to flooding. I have not seen much discussion about this second factor in the national media.
The implications for St. Louis are significant. While we do have zoning, in our wisdoms, communities have chosen to ignore it. Just look at all the development in the Chesterfield Valley which is extremely flood prone. Second we are affected like everywhere in the world by climate change.
Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster made far worse by human practices. Written by Paul Dribin