The flood that hit Houston this week represented a 1-in-200-year event, according to NOAA. By some reports, an estimated 240 billion gallons of rain fell on Houston, causing flash floods and rapidly rising waters in many parts of the city.
The rain started suddenly with little warning and “came like a freight train, one thunderstorm after another,” said Vicki Hollon, CPM, Managing Senior Vice President of Management Services at the Houston-based Transwestern, AMO. Like many other businesses, Transwestern’s office was closed for a day due to flooded streets that made travel impossible, and several of its buildings suffered severe water damage. One of them took on six feet of water, shutting down the chiller, pumps, and HVAC. “Our building systems just aren't able to handle 16 inches of water in that short of a time period,” said Hollon. “Luckily, because of the business we’re in, we know what to do when something like this happens. We know who to call and what to do. We have resources.”
Many homes experienced heavy water damage, including the home of Jo D Miller, executive director of IREM’s Houston Chapter, and her family. Her first concern, however, was for a group of property managers who were scheduled to take the final step toward their CPM designation by completing their MPSA and CPM exams. With some of the students’ homes and properties affected and themselves unable to get to the course site, anxiety levels grew. A decision to delay the start of the course by one day provided relief.
CPM Capstone students and instructor Kathy Whitman, who braved the floods to complete the Capstone.
Although the course went on, students sometimes found it difficult to focus, said Kathy Whitman, CPM, the course instructor. “If I hadn't been there to experience it,” said Whitman, “I wouldn't be able to comprehend how a large city could be under three to 10 feet of water.”
If this disaster sounds familiar, that's because Houston and Central Texas were hit with major flooding in May of 2015. If your properties are hit by flooding, refer to our free checklist, What to Do After a Flood, for tips and additional resources.
About the Author
Nancye Kirk, in her role as IREM’s chief strategy officer, supports real estate management businesses, helping them address the big issues with which they are wrestling – issues related to business strategy and growth, talent management, and best practices.
Photo credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip