Electrical Tower Accident Brings Boats Back to the Old Port of Houston

Boats of the Houston Yacht Club stranded at Allen's Landing as a Houston Metro train crosses the Main Street Bridge.

Though the original Port of Houston was in downtown Houston, near Main and Commerce Streets, it’s a rarity to see many, if any, boats in that area on Buffalo Bayou.  However because of three barges’ hitting a huge power tower near the banks of the Houston Ship Channel many miles downstream, a number of boats from the Houston Yacht Club are now docked at Allen’s Landing.

Members of the Yacht Club take an annual excursion up Buffalo Bayou to celebrate the group’s founding.  The party usually is a several-hour long shindig, but the barge-tower accident occurred while the group of boats was going upstream, causing the entire ship channel to be shutdown.  Now the boats are sitting pretty until major repairs are made on the power line.

Read more about the Houston Ship Channel and the old Port of Houston in a previous post.

Monday Musings: Black Friday and Moving

As of yesterday, I finally finished moving my “stuff”.  Weeding out and tossing away wasn’t as easy or probably as successful as I had hoped it would be, although I did take one good carload of donations to the Salvation Army on Saturday morning.

Even though I thought that the movers had taken a lot of my smaller items along with the furniture and other big pieces almost two weeks ago, the quantity of “the rest” was–though not more than I had anticipated–time-consuming to gather, box, carry, load, and haul.  Even with the items given away and thrown away, a lot of what I have–when it comes to moving it–is just “stuff”.

Good enough reason–that while I was finishing up lugging all this personal “stuff” over these last few days–not to be in the least bit attracted by Black Friday and other holiday sales.  It’s a little like over-indulging in Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, and then not wanting to have anything to do leftovers the next day.  There’s no temptation for me to go out and buy anything–sale or no sale–just to add to the stuff that I already have.

Of course, I have many unpacked boxes.  I was asked to take some pictures of my house, and post some on here, but, alas, I have no idea where the USB cord for my camera is.

So here I am at work, taking a break.  It’s actually a chilly fall day here in Houston.  I love the view of downtown Houston from my office (even though because a lot of the buildings near the bayou are older,  it may not be a shot the Houston Chamber of Commerce would use for marketing).  And, yes, though not as long, nor as dramatic as many other parts of the country, a change in seasons, when some of the trees show their vibrant colors, does come to the Bayou City.

Heavy Rains Roll Through Houston Area Overnight, Some Missing in Flood Waters, White Oak and Buffalo Bayous Very High Downtown

Buffalo Bayou and Allen Parkway near downtown Houston

Buffalo Bayou and Allen Parkway near downtown Houston (KHOU weather cam)

After leaving home late this morning, when the rain seemed to finally have stopped (It was dry enough that I finally got Annie outside to pee; an earlier, unsuccessful attempt at the usual time only got us both wet), I made it to work without any problems, except for slow traffic.  Although the major ramps into and out of downtown on I-45N and I-10E are flooded, I was able to get to work by taking the McKee Street Exit.  Milam and Travis are definitely flooded right now, and Buffalo Bayou has already covered the lower parking lot behind  the Spaghetti Warehouse and the water has risen even more in the last 10 minutes.

Thank goodness, the rain seems to have stopped, but it is still very grey outside.  I brought my camera with me this morning and have taken some amazing pictures (well, the high water is amazing; I don’t know about the pictures), but I didn’t bring the USB cord.  I’ll post some pics later.  I saw a rescue boat going up the Milam ramp just a few minutes ago; alas, I didn’t get a photo.

There are some views from the TranStar traffic cams that show some of the high water, though.  Look at I-45N at I-10 (submerged cars), 59 Southwest at West Loop (high water), and I-10 Katy at Gessner (deep water under 1-10).

If you know Houston, the heaviest rains were in the Katy, Bear Creek, and Spring Branch areas–the west and northwest areas.   In these areas, up to a foot of rain was reported to have fallen in the past 24 hours.  When I was getting ready for work, the TV said they were evacuating people from houses in the Bear Creek area.  Both Buffalo and White Oak Bayous are watersheds for that area, so I don’t expect these bayous to go down soon.  (Buffalo Bayou is actually the waterway that eventually becomes the Houston Ship Channel a few miles further down from Main Street.)

The Houston Chronicle reports some drivers were swept away in the rushing waters and are still missing and that homes were flooded in several areas.

About the Bayous in the Houston Area and the Houston Ship Channel

The Port of Houston Turning Basin near the 610 Loop Bridge that crosses the Channel.  Beyond the basin, the ship channel becomes more of its original self--Buffalo Bayou with downtown Houston in the background.

The Port of Houston Turning Basin near the 610 Loop Bridge that crosses the Channel. Beyond the basin, the ship channel becomes more of its original self–Buffalo Bayou with downtown Houston in the background.

About Bayous in Southeast Texas and Houston Area

During Hurricane Ike, local officials and residents were worried about the surge from the storm pushing water up into the area bayous and flooding low-lying parts of the city. (For people out of the area, Houstonians call the area’s streams that flow into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico “bayous”.) The primary bayou, which also flows through a large part of the city and finally down through downtown Houston, is Buffalo Bayou.

In the early days of the city, Buffalo Bayou once was the site of a port in what is now downtown Houston. Later, there was a major dredging of Buffalo Bayou from Galveston Bay, and this is what is now known as the Houston Ship Channel and is the site of the current Port of Houston. However, the Houston Ship Channel ends at the Turning Basin, which is in a part of Houston known as Harrisburg (which, in the early days of Texas, was a separate settlement), several miles down Buffalo Bayou from that old Houston port. Very close to the Houston Ship Channel are some of the primary refineries and chemical plants of the entire Gulf Coast area.

Bayous are a bit different than regular rivers or streams because the water can flow in both directions, moving backwards, or upstream, when the tide is high.

The old port of Houston on Buffalo Bayou that was used from the early days of the city until 1914 when what is now the Port of Houston was started about six miles further downstream.

The old port of Houston on Buffalo Bayou that was used from the early days of the city until 1914, when what is now the Port of Houston was started about six miles further downstream.