TMC Stood Ready When Hurricane Harvey Hit
Walter P Moore Director of Civil Engineering Charlie Penland lends expertise as BuildingGreen explores how the biggest medical complex in the world took hard-won lessons learned from Tropical Storm Allison and utilized them to keep Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters at bay.
"In October 2003, the TMC published a hazard mitigation plan. It analyzed a number of risks—including floods—how to avoid them, and the cost of doing so. The plan met the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) increased standards for critical facilities that required protecting hospitals up to the 500-year flood elevation. It also made the TMC eligible for federal disaster mitigation grants and other funding.
The goal, according to Charles Penland, senior principal and director of civil engineering with Walter P Moore Associates, was “not just to put back what’s there, but actually put something better back.”
When Tropical Storm Allison hit, Penland’s team was in the midst of studying and designing flood protection systems for the medical center and some of the hospitals, along with researching drainage at Harris Gully, which runs through the TMC. The engineers used data from Tropical Storm Allison to strengthen their models, which contributed to the TMC’s hazard mitigation plan."