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

Jerome Frank
August 30, 2017

At Forest Garden Drive, water rushed waist-high as volunteers in boats, canoes and kayaks rescued residents carrying children, dogs and belongings thrown into gym bags or plastic bags.

Two Houston reservoirs are overflowing, despite a controlled water release that aimed to prevent flooding downtown.

The overflow happened one day after officials chose to allow emergency releases at the dam and the Barker Reservoir to thwart potential failures, staving off feared flooding in Houston's downtown area, but jeopardizing thousands of nearby homes.

President Trump is planning to visit Texas on Tuesday to review the disaster's impact and emergency response, the White House says.

Zetterstrom did not say exactly how many residents would be impacted by the move, but officials said the release could affect "thousands" of homes located along the reservoirs.

These large reservoirs are the considered the largest municipal park reservoirs in the United States, and were engineered to help protect downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel (includes Galveston) from flooding.

The centre already held more than 9,000 people, nearly twice the number officials originally planned to house there, said mayor Sylvester Turner. "The goal is to reach release rates of 4,000 cfs at both dams for a combined discharge down Buffalo Bayou of about 8,000 cfs".

The 911 system in Houston has been at capacity throughout the night as rainfall has intensified from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Calls for rescue have so overwhelmed emergency teams that they have had little time to search for bodies, and officials acknowledge that fatalities could soar once the floodwaters start to recede from one of America's most sprawling metropolitan centres.

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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.

"That area is under mandatory evacuation", said Sharon Trower, spokeswoman for Brazoria County.

The Addicks Dam is still releasing the maximum planned amount of almost 4,000 cubic feet per second downstream, the Corps of Engineers said.

Local authorities of Houston and Rockport have reportedly confirmed the two deaths.

One neighbourhood in south Houston has seen the heaviest total rainfall from a tropical storm in the U.S. since records began in the 1950s, the National Weather Service says.

The National Hurricane Center has said heavy rain from Harvey is forecast to worsen flooding in Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

Rescue crews have been overwhelmed by thousands of calls for help during one of the heaviest downpours in USA history and have had little time to search for potential victims.

Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years when it made landfall on Friday near Corpus Christi, 220 miles (354km) south-west of Houston.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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