Evacuation ordered as levee breached south of Houston

Jerome Frank
August 31, 2017

Officials of Brazoria County, Texas have urged residents in the Columbia Lakes area, South of Houston, to evacuate immediately following a breach of the levee at the Brazos river.

The centre already held more than 9,000 people, nearly twice the number officials originally planned to house there, said mayor Sylvester Turner.

The difficulty of controlling the release is "something we've never seen before", flood control official Jeff Lindner told reporters. A Houston hotel said one of its employees disappeared while helping about 100 guests and workers evacuate the building.

"THERE ARE NO OTHER EVACUATION ROUTES OUT OF BRAZORIA COUNTY", the statement said, adding that one state highway "WILL NOT be open indefinitely and will be unpassable with additional rains and river flooding".

Before the storm is gone, up to 20in more rain could fall, the National Weather Service said, meaning the flooding will get worse in the days ahead and the water will be slow to recede once Harvey finally moves on.

Brazoria County posted this message on Twitter on Tuesday morning: "NOTICE: The levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!"

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However, the levees were not created to handle the expected 59 foot (18 meters) crest of the Brazos River which authorities say represented an 800 year flood event.

Hurricane Harvey may not have wreaked absolute havoc as a storm, but the aftermath it left behind is disgusting for the state of Texas.

Houston emergency officials could not confirm the deaths. In 1994, a pipeline ruptured on the river near Interstate 10 and caught fire.

Rainfall from Harvey reached 49.2 inches, breaking the record for rainfall from a tropical storm in the contiguous United States.

The previous record was 48 inches (1.22 meters) set in 1978 in Medina, Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia.

The disaster is unfolding on an epic scale, with the nation's fourth-largest city mostly paralyzed by the storm that arrived as a Category 4 hurricane and then parked over the Gulf Coast.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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