What’s happening in Houston right now is mind-boggling. Since August 25, parts of the City have received upwards of 32 inches of rain. That is so much rain. In our county we worry about flash floods when storms bring a few inches and here we have 32 inches with more said to come. I can’t even wrap my head around that.
With all this rain comes the floods and the flood waters are 10 feet or more above their banks in many parts of the city.
Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, large flood control structures operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (shown below and large green area on image above) almost immediately filled up with the start of the heavy rains. It’s gotten to the point where water is being released from the reservoirs in order to prevent them from being overtopped and possibly destroyed. The releases are exacerbating the flooding in the city (along Buffalo Bayou) but are ultimately necessary to protect then and prevent a catastrophic release from a failed levee or other damming surface.
Even with the releases from the reservoirs, the water levels in them continue to rise (as of 8/28 at 9:00 pm). The emergency spillway elevation on Addicks and Barker is at 114 feet which would be the next line of defense for these reservoirs, although one that may cause permanent damage to the reservoirs if used. The crazy thing about the reservoirs, and the flooding in Houston in general is that all this excess water has to pass through the city to get to Galveston bay. The city of Houston is between the water and where it wants to go. Addicks and Barker release into Buffalo Bayou which goes straight through the city before heading to the bay.
Although the area downstream of the reservoirs looks green in the above image, it is completely populated and now mostly flooded. Stream gauges along Buffalo Bayou show that it is currently two to nine feet above the banks. You can get a sense of the immensity of the flooding from the below Twitter posts.
We can only hope that the forecasted rains will stay away and that the floodwaters will recede quickly. And also that Addicks and Barker hold!