With Harvey Heading Away, Downtown Is Drying Out

The heart of Houston is cleaning itself up and preparing to house more hurricane victims.

By Katharine Shilcutt August 30, 2017

Img 1464 c6ha9h

Buffalo Bayou is swiftly emptying into the Ship Channel underneath the Mosbacher Bridge.

Yesterday evening, the Toyota Center opened its doors to families hit by Hurricane Harvey, as the adjacent George R. Brown Convention Center saw its own evacuee population peak at around 10,000 displaced Houstonians.

Unlike past floods in 1929 and 1935, downtown didn't see itself completely inundated—thanks in large part to the Barker and Addicks Dams out west, where both reservoirs filled to capacity while preventing devastating downstream flooding.

This made it possible for downtown to serve as a central staging point, not just for evacuations but also for those looking to help: Phoenicia Foods and Pappa Charlie's BBQ prepared food for first responders, while volunteers lined up around Avenida de las Americas to donate supplies or help out inside the temporary shelters.

Img 1459 dnrdbm

A truck of Houstonians is driving the downtown streets, delivering food to workers cleaning up the debris.

As of today, however, downtown is still recovering from the flooding it received on the edge closest to Buffalo Bayou. Traffic lights are still out in many places and layers of loamy sand cover the roads in others, making driving a bit of a dodge.

"After reaching a peak on Sunday, Buffalo Bayou water levels in downtown continue to decrease," said Angie Bertinot with the Downtown District. "High waters were primarily in the northern and western areas of Downtown (Warehouse, Historic and Theater Districts). Flooding in the Downtown tunnels was isolated to sections adjacent to the Theater District and Civic Center garages."

Img 1460 tihmb1

Memorial Drive, along with I-10 and other routes in and out of downtown, remains closed.

Meanwhile, METRO is still not in service today, though it may resume limited service later this week. Bertinot also sent along this list of other affected businesses in the area, writing: "Based on observation and reports to date, the following properties have been affected, primarily water in first level/basement spaces; detailed by property assessments are not available at this time."

  • Img 1443 a2kzjm

    A recently reopened I-45 leads past downtown.

    Spaghetti Warehouse, 901 Commerce
  • Sunset Coffee Building, 1019 Commerce
  • 800 Commerce, law offices
  • AIA Houston (u/c), 900 Commerce
  • Dakota Lofts, 711 William
  • mArchitects, 1206 Nance
  • Cotton Exchange Bldg, 202 Travis
  • Bayou Lofts, 915 Franklin
  • The Rice, 909 Texas
  • Market Square Tower
  • Hogg Palace, 401 Louisiana
  • Chase Motor Bank, 212 Milam
  • Magnolia Ballroom, 715 Franklin
  • Theater District and Tranquillity Garages
  • Bayou Place
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston
  • Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas 
  • Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana
  • Alley Theatre, 615 Texas
  • Hobby Center, 800 Bagby
  • City Hall and City Hall Annex
  • Sam Houston Park/Historic Homes
  • 1415 Fannin (fire damage)
  • One Main and Student Life Buildings, University of Houston Downtown
  • Willow Street Pump Station, University of Houston Downtown

The Theater District has already released its own information about affected structures and upcoming performances; we'll keep you posted on the rest of these affected businesses as we learn more. Meanwhile, a bright note: Incarnate Word Academy, South Texas College of Law, and University of Houston Downtown will all resume classes on Tuesday, September 5.

Show Comments