This week’s show takes a closer look at Houston’s weather and flooding with two guests. Why were different parts of the city so differently impacted by Harvey and prior weather events? What will this mean for future events? First up is Historian Bob Buzzanco to discuss the political players in Houston, and Texas, and the background to recent flooding events. Our second guest is Meteorologist Eric Berger to discuss the weather conditions that created Harvey and the current “yellow blob” in the Gulf, and what we can expect from Irma.
More about this week’s guests:
Robert Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. He is a scholar of 20th Century U.S. History and Diplomatic History. Buzzanco has also contributed to national newspapers and magazines such as the Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle and Newsday magazine. He has been interviewed or cited by various international media such as the BBC, NPR, Financial times, Al-Jazeerra and the Islamic News Network. See the recent interview with him on Vimeo. He gives a breakdown of the current situation and the relevant history in Houston, including the 2001 tropical storm Allison, which deluged Houston and caused over 20 deaths. After that storm, Buzzanco notes there was widespread discussion of Houston following a different development model, only to pave over more green space. For more background see from the Texas Tribune and ProPublica “Boomtown, Flood Town,” which notes: “unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone.”
Eric Berger is the senior space editor at Ars Technica, covering everything from astronomy to private space to wonky NASA policy. Berger spent his college years at the University of Texas dreaming about the stars, which led him to an astronomy degree. But he decided studying a particular classification of stars in depth for the rest of his life seemed a little dull, and preferred meeting interesting people to the solitude of observatories. He dove into journalism, hoping to explain the complexities of science and medicine to the general public. Hoping to interact with readers, he began the SciGuy blog in early 2005, encompassing everything from nanometers to parsecs. Eric previously worked at the Houston Chronicle for 17 years, where the paper was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for his coverage of Hurricane Ike. A certified meteorologist, Eric lives in Houston.
I want to apologize for not posting show details for the last two week. Two weeks ago I was out of the country and last week I was unable to make it to the studio because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Staci Davis held the show together in my absence (thank you Staci!). Things are not quite yet back to normal but we were lucky to make it through relatively unscathed. My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky. I hope you are all doing better than you were last week.