The Legend of Jeff Lindner

Jeff Lindner Reporting


I never thought I’d have a favorite meteorologist, but I do now. Amidst the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, many heroic servants emerged. I’d like you to meet one—the guy Houstonians fell in love with this past week.

Jeff Lindner looks like the guy you don’t remember. Nothing really stands out about him, even after watching him on TV for days on end. But in crisis? I can’t imagine anyone better.

For a week straight, this meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District monitored, reported, and projected the relentless flooding throughout our region. Halfway through, he partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers as they turned their attention to the fast-filling Addicks and Barker reservoirs surrounding our church. Lindner read gauges, monitored levels and conditions, explained maps, announced dam release rates, projected spillovers, corrected rumors, advised mandatory and voluntary evacuations, informed reporters, led news conferences, answered questions, and provided calm leadership throughout a dramatic crisis.

Most of all, Jeff Lindner served as a spokesman for one of the most difficult decisions made throughout Harvey’s rain-spitting rage: the decision to open the reservoir’s dams and send more water into the already-flooded Buffalo Bayou and its surrounding neighborhoods (including our church). In short, this decision flooded one area to protect others, sacrificing a large swath of homes and businesses in order to control water flow and protect the integrity of the strained dams and reservoirs themselves.

Our church is in the neighborhood that’s still badly flooded due to this necessary decision, and I still love Jeff Lindner. Why? The same reasons everyone else in Houston now loves him.

Somehow, he was intelligent without being condescending; he was professional without being sterile; he was nuanced without being verbose; he was simple without being simplistic; he was businesslike without being uncaring; he was factual without being cold; he was exhausted without being irritable; he was besieged with difficult questions without getting frustrated; and he served relentlessly without losing focus. He manned his post, he did his job, and our city knows we were served well. He earned our trust, and our respect.

With little sleep, never leaving the office, with waves of crisis cascading through our city hour by hour, Jeff never wavered. He was professional, respectful, informed, concise, unassuming. We all know that combination’s not easy, and because it’s not easy, it’s rare.

Finally, between Friday, August 25th and Thursday, August 31st—a full week—this public servant slept for a grand total of 7 hours.

Long live the legend of Jeff Lindner, and may his tribe increase.


Below are tweets about Jeff after someone said he was “winning Twitter” and Jeff responded that his surge in followers was “crazy.”

We know we can trust him. He gives researched, accurate information to the best of his ability. He cares about #HoUSton

—Tara Rollins

@JeffLindner1 you’ve kept me sane in Katy / MOST reliable source & leader throughout! You deserve whatever award you are eligible for!

—@dsledge

@JeffLindner1 is rock star! Who’s going to miss his briefings once Houston recovers?

—Sarah Davis

Jeff, write a book about this situation and your experience. Seriously. I’d buy the audiobook.

—Carlos Cantu

He is winning! People are now asking me “How do I apply for FEMA?” Followed by “Do you know Jeff Lindner?”

—Sarah Davis

You’re seriously doing a fantastic job, both here and on TV.

—@AdonisUnplugged

It’s because you’ve done an amazing job! Way to go! #houstonstrong

—Angela Staggs

You are a hero scientist. We appreciate all you have done to help us thru this disaster. I am thankful for your big shiny brain.

—Bronwyn Sutherland

You were the most important person in the world to me for a solid three days, and I have never even met you! Gig ‘Em Aggies!

—Nancy Mann

Youve EARNED it. Thanx for all ur updates….

—A. N. Sagar

Hard worker…eased my worries.

—@LumiCelestial

We appreciate your honest, straight talk!

—David Hageman

I wish his responsibilities grow and he can hire more people like himself to spread news out. One day future POTUS!

—@SofiaNadeem62

Not crazy. You have helped us all by keeping us informed. THANK YOU!

—Party Josefina

This is amazing. You are affectionately known as The Map Guy, and lots of people hung on your every word. Thanks!! #Harvey #MapGuy

—Julie

You deserve all the props. You’re doing a great job. I actually quoted you earlier today. “Well, Jeff said…”

—Penny Tacker

Not crazy man, you have been so succinct in your explanations and forecasts! Much respect

—Brandon Cary

Thank you! You became must see tv – brightest guy in Houston

—Chris Earnest

Without folks like you, it would’ve been MORE scary

—@KingKelty

Fantastic job. You have been direct and honest during this whole process. Thank you to you and your family.

—Jamie Gualy

As a scientist living by Buffalo Bayou, your briefings and tweets have been incredibly helpful. A testament to what science is, should be.

—Jeff

@JeffLindner1 you are my #HarveyHero Thank you for your great work! Praying for you!!

—Katie

You know your stuff my friend. Nice work!

—Victor Valencheck

Excellent professional. The light we trusted in the middle of this chaos. Thank you!!

—Aman D’avalos

Heard “the smartest man in the room” more than once when they were about to introduce you.

—Darlene Parsons

today Twitter… Tomorrow, Mayor!!!

—Sean Lacagnina

You have been nothing short of awesome. Thank you!

—A. Erickson

@JeffLindner1, your explanations are excellent

—Juan Pablo

You’ve done a great job informing us all

—Mindy

Well deserved sir, you have been a beacon of light during and after the storm.

—Greg Hattig

Your info has been incredibly helpful

—@Htown

Appreciate the concise info in time of stress. And an Aggie!

—@rswatts

Ha, I joined twitter just to talk to you! All of my years of holding out and you broke me

—Lisa

Couldn’t agree with other comments more. You’ve had the dirty end of the stick from the get-go and handled it with grace. Well done!

—Rob Hobbs

You’re going to inspire a lot of young people to go into science.

—@GreenLabel88

Been reading your updates forever on KHOU board. You have a nice calm way of getting info to the people. Much respect!

—Michelle

Go fund me already started for a vacation for Jeff! Jeff, please get some sleep.

—Christi Pramudji


Jeff Lindner


23 thoughts on “The Legend of Jeff Lindner

  1. You see this is what is called EMPATHY.something that our POTUS just does not have. Jeff, you are the kind of human=being needed in the White House, but of course you are right where you belong! I am just saying that we have to have a compassionate and intelligent person at the helm and I pray to my G-d that will happen very soon before our whole planet is consumed in floods, fires and all that happens due to global warming.

  2. The more Jeff reported the more confident we got, every single brief he showed how strong the city he represented. Thank you we needed you at that precise moment and you were there.

  3. The true example of what servant Leadership is.
    Thank you Sir, for as you put it doing your job,but doing with such pride and commitment. Everyone should take a page from your book,Thank you being patient and making us understand everything that was going on.Thank you and Thank you again

  4. Until I saw this wonderful article I thought it was just me….this guy is so calm and professional and explains everything so well. He really knows what he is talking about.

    Now, I am so happy to see all the responses. Job well done Jeff!

  5. Just yesterday did I made the exact same comments about this young man! He has truly been amazing through out this nightmare and I kept saying, this guy hasn’t slept in a week!! Living in Houston my entire life, and going through all of the catastrophic events here, we keep saying that we sure wished Jeff was alive back then to get us through those! I will definitely give money towards his well deserved vacation!! Keep up the great work Jeff!!

  6. I was so impressed with how he repeatedly answered redundant questions without irritation. Love this guy. I hope he is promoted to a position where we see him more often.

  7. I too was impressed with Jeff. He was calm and credible, and should be extremely proud of his service to the community during this crisis. Most people don’t get the “opportunity” to see if they have what it takes, to really deliver when called upon…Jeff should sleep really well going forward knowing he met the challenge and delivered under incredible stress and circumstances.

  8. Jeff was fantastic. It would be great to hear his ideas to severely reduce flooding in Houston in the future. These 500 year floods every year or so is crazy. I fully realize 50″ of rain will probably cause issues for any drainage system. The city has been collecting additional taxes for years to “fix” the issue but I don’t think much has been done. For example dig the bayous and reservoirs 20-30′ deeper?

  9. Jeff Linder you have become one of my heros. In the midst of madness you were the calm during the storm to us that have never experienced anything like this.
    You have my respect

  10. Well done Jeff. I thought it was just our common background as a fellow civil engineer from A&M that made me connect with you. I’m glad to see it is more than that. You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ve had to face public hearings and could not have done even half as well as you have done. You are very gifted. Robert McLaren PE ’85

  11. When various news voices were not on the same page, Jeff was calmly giving us the facts. And amazingly he could find a way to repeat himself for the hundredth time, in a calm and reassuring voice. Even when his monitoring stations were out of service due to storm damage the found ways to give us updated information. There were lots of news people out there trying to find unique ways to make a name for themselves. Jeff just did his job, without a break, like the professional he is.

    1. The GoFundMe was trying to raise $4,000, and it actually raised over $20,000. Unfortunately, as a county employee, Jeff is not allowed to accept gifts. :-( But he said he wanted to donate the money to hurricane relief.

      Of course he would.

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