Flooded Houston-area Homeowners Might Have Been Spared Ruin — But Only If They Read the Fine Print

HOUSTON -- They sat tucked away in a Fort Bend county clerk's file for the past two decades: 25 words on a public document that could have spared thousands of homeowners from losing everything. If only the homeowners had seen them. In the finest of fine print, the county warned in 1997: "This subdivision is adjacent to the Barker Reservoir and is subject to extended controlled inundation under the management of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers." In other words, during a major storm, the Army Corps could choose to flood the subdivision in an effort to protect greater Houston. Which is exactly what happened during Hurricane Harvey. Now, as Houston begins a massive recovery effort projected to cost as much as $180 billion, it is increasingly clear that government officials at every level did little to warn residents in some of the hardest hit areas that they were buying into risk -- living in areas designed to flood.   Continue reading...

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