Remembering Houston’s 2015 ‘Memorial Day Flood’

Floodwaters envelope a neighborhood in Houston during the Memorial Day floods of 2015. (File/KPRC)

HOUSTON – As is typical for Memorial Day, people in Houston spent their 2015 holiday enjoying barbecues and time on nearby beaches. That downtime, however, became a distant memory for many when they woke up the next day.

Within a nine-hour span from the night of May 25, 2015, to the morning of May 26, as much as 11 inches of rain fell on parts of the region.

Nearly 10 inches of rain fell in Stafford, while the White Oak Bayou and Spring Valley picked up nearly 8 inches of rain.

The average rainfall in Harris County during the storm was 5.3 inches, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. That works out to about 162 billion gallons of water.

Rainfall amounts from May 25-26, 2015, are plotted on a map from the Harris County Flood Control District.

The results were catastrophic flooding and the deaths of eight people.

Members of the Edwards family, who live along Brays Bayou in the Meyerland area, which was hit particularly hard, said they were still cleaning up from a flood two years earlier when the Memorial Day flood hit.

“It’s been a long two years of being under constant construction," said Davis Edwards. "‘This was the first time in 50 years that this house had flooded and it didn’t flood because we’re lower, it’s because (of) Brays Bayou."

Pictures showed water rising in the Downtown area and dozens of drivers stranded on highways when the water started to rise.

From snakes and deer to crawfish and alligators, the waters forced animals into people’s yards or near their homes.

A total of 3,015 homes and more than 3,500 multifamily units were flooded.

In the days that followed, leaders said they spent more than $120 million on improvements to the stormwater system. However, they said, one can never predict where the rain will fall.

Houston is no stranger to flooding. In recent years, there have been several major floods, including Halloween 2015, Tax Day 2016, Memorial Day 2016 and, most recently, the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.