Renters and Flood Plains

The catastrophic flooding in Houston brings back terrible memories of  the flood I experienced during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 26, 2015 when my apartment in the Meyerland area of Houston took on three feet of water and I lost most of my belongings including my car.  There was no warning that the Brays Bayou would leave its banks that night.  My Meyergrove apartment has flooded again twice since I left Houston in September 2015: once on April 18, 2016, and again this weekend.  This frequency of flooding is unprecedented in that area of Houston.

Flood scene from 2nd floor balcony of my apartment building during morning twilight, May 26, 2015.

Everyone with a ground floor apartment lost most of their belongings in my apartment complex during the Memorial Day Weekend 2015 flood.  No one I talked to had flood insurance, and everyone had renter’s insurance that did not cover their flood damage, so they lost a lot.

Brays Bayou from the 2nd floor balcony of my apartment building, morning of May 26, 2015.

Which brings up an important point.  Why are there not laws to require lessors to disclose to renters when the apartment or house they are renting sits in a flood plain?  If the lessor has flood insurance on their property, then they should be required to inform their tenants of that fact and clearly communicate that the tenant should purchase flood insurance in addition to their renter’s insurance.  After all, when you are buying a house, you cannot get a home loan unless you purchase flood insurance if you are living in a flood-prone area.  Why do not renters have the same protection?

Perhaps there are other areas of the country where landlords have to disclose to their renters if they will be living in a flood plain, but there appears to be no such protection for renters in the state of Texas.

 

 

Yellow LED Astronomy Flashlights

Back when I had my astronomy-friendly outdoor lighting business, I used to sell yellow-LED flashlights that I bought from Robert D. Mantell in North Hollywood, California, under the trademark Lo-Glo™.

The Houston flood Memorial Day weekend 2015 wiped out the remaining inventory I had and, sadly, these wonderful flashlights are no longer available.

It is not rocket science.  You need to start with a well-made flashlight, replace the regular bulb with a yellow LED and the appropriate current-limiting resistor, and voila!

Yellow may be better than red.  See the article by Robert Dick, “Is Red Light Really Best?”, in the June 2016 issue of Sky & Telescope.

There’s a great business opportunity here.  It wouldn’t take much to make a better astronomy flashlight than what Orion and others sell.  Besides, I have found these yellow-LED flashlights to be most useful for moving around the house after bedtime (such as a bathroom trip) to avoid being exposed to any bright light at night which would affect your night vision and even your circadian rhythm.

If you know of any astronomy-friendly yellow LED flashlights or would like to manufacture some, please post a comment here or contact me directly.

Bob Mantell’s wonderful yellow LED / amber LED astronomy flashlight
These flashlights are also perfect for getting around the house at night without having to turn lights on, the glove box of your car, reading at night, and many other uses as well.