ESD No. 48: Barker and Addicks reservoir releases can only 'help Katy'

ESD No. 48: Barker and Addicks reservoir releases can only 'help Katy'

Darren Sullivan
August 30, 2017

Northeast of downtown Houston, millions of gallons of water are coursing over the spillway of the Lake Houston Dam on the San Jacinto River - around midday Tuesday, the rate was 375,000 cubic feet per second, or "168 million gallons per minute", meteorologist Jeff Lindner of the Harris County Flood Control District says.

An official with the Harris County Flood Control District says it's the first time the Addicks Dam has spilled over the top, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

Unprecedented rainfall has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

The rescued people were treated for cuts, abrasions and mild hypothermia. The state of Rhode Island would have 931 inches of water, which is approximately 77 feet, of rainfall across the entire state if they had to deal with the same amount of flood water that fell on Texas, according to a table created on Forbes.

When the flood water from Hurricane Harvey rose up past 95 feet in the Barker reservoir and 97 feet in Addicks, the Corps put in a request to start letting water out of the reservoirs.

The twin reservoirs remain dry about 90% of the time, and are created to send runoff and rainwater coursing into the Buffalo Bayou-away from downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.

Trump has been "very gracious and very helpful", said Abbott, adding that he'd like to hear from the President that he understands the "magnitude of the damage that Texas has faced". The National Weather Service warned another 25 inches could be coming over the next several days.

That brings to almost 6,000 the number of prisoners displaced by Harvey, which made landfall Friday as a hurricane and is now a tropical storm.

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Portions of Brazoria County, due south of Houston, had been under a mandatory evacuation notice since Sunday.

Two feet of rain has fallen in Houston in just 24 hours, and it's still raining. But the sheer amount of rain from Harvey has overwhelmed both structures. Barker Reservoir is expected to reach capacity by Thursday.

Although Houston was not in the direct path of Harvey hitting it as a hurricane, it's experiencing record level rainfall. The storm is moving east-northeast at near 3 miles per hour.

The storm was expected to make a slow turn to the northeast on Tuesday, placing the center just off the middle and upper Texas Gulf coast through Tuesday night before moving inland.

One of Houston's two major reservoirs overflowed Tuesday for the first time in its history, overburdened by torrential downpours from an "historic" storm. But officials acknowledge the grim reality that fatalities linked to Harvey could soar once the devastating floodwaters recede.

USA president Donald Trump arrived Texas on Tuesday to survey the response to devastating Tropical Storm Harvey, the first major natural disaster of his White House tenure, as officials in Houston struggled to manage the record-breaking rains. The flooding was so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas.

The dams are surrounded by residential areas in the western part of the U.S.'s fourth largest city.