Flood stage levels expected to exceed record highs
Updated Aug. 30, 2017
Tropical Storm Harvey made second landfall early Wednesday morning in Louisiana, marking six days of rainfall that has inundated parts of Houston by 50 in.
According to a report from the New York Times, the death toll from the storm has risen to 30 people. Much like the rivers in the Houston area, shelters are overflowing as people seek aid and confirmation their loved ones are safe. Some evacuees have taken to a local furniture gallery that has opened its doors to provide beds to around 300 people.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District began controlled releases of water from the Addicks and Barker dams Monday, and made a second release Wednesday morning following additional rainfall. According to a press release from USACE, "The current discharge rates are approximately 7,000 cu ft per second and 6,000 cu ft per second, respectively."
"The decision to make the increased controlled releases was a difficult, but necessary one that we did not take lightly," said Edmond Russo, Galveston District deputy engineer. "We made them quicker than we would have preferred because the Addicks pool rose faster overnight than we had forecast and the pool threatened our structures."
Additionally, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an overnight curfew beginning at midnight Tuesday following increasing reports of looting, armed robberies and police impersonators. The curfew is also said to help rescue crews work through the night without being impeded.
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Spring Creek, located north of Houston, is projected to exceed its highest recorded flood level this week after a relentless onslaught of rain from Hurricane Harvey.
The National Weather Service described the hurricane-turned-tropical-storm as “epic and catastrophic." The National Guard has deployed 4,000 members to aid the Houston area during the flood as the Category 4 hurricane resulted in at least three deaths and displaced hundreds of families, many of whom took shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center.
According to a press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, USACE began releasing water from two reservoirs, Addicks and Barker Dams, Monday morning. Although the move was likely to flood more homes, USACE said it would limit damage to a greater number of homes by flowing into the Buffalo Bayou.
“If we don’t begin releasing now, the volume of uncontrolled water around the dams will be higher and have a greater impact on the surrounding communities,” said Col. Lars Zetterstrom, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District in the press release. “We are coordinating floodwater releases from Addicks and Barker with the Harris County Flood Control District so they can make informed decisions for the communities they support.”
According to data from the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, the flooding is unlikely to recede until Thursday, almost one week since Harvey struck the Texas coast. Inland, river levels are projected to climb through Wednesday as officials expect more rainfall. Zetterstrom urged the public to listen to local emergency management officials as public safety is the greatest concern.