Dam overflows as Houston copes with historic rain

Voluntary Emergency Evacuation Order (Houston)

With both the Addicks and Barker reservoirs rising more than half a foot per hour, Zetterstrom said the goal is to give the water the most direct path to nearby Buffalo Bayou.

The Addicks Dam is still releasing the maximum planned amount of almost 4,000 cubic feet per second downstream, the Corps of Engineers said. "The dams that created the reservoirs are rated among the most unsafe in the country".

Record rainfall levels have drenched Houston over the past four days.

Even worse, officials now worry that the worst may be yet to come.

Late Sunday night, local officials issued voluntary evacuation notices for residents around the reservoirs - but urged them to wait until daylight to leave the area, if they chose to do so. The weather service said the amount of rain falling in the Houston area would be 2 to 3 inches, perhaps a little less in Houston proper, as the storm moved east.

As Houston prepares for flooding from the two reservoirs, the city is also bracing for natural flooding from more rainfall in the coming days.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed that police Sgt. Steve Perez has died after he became trapped in his patrol auto as he was driving to work. This could also include downtown Houston, reports Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.

The American Red Cross says there are more than 17,000 people in Texas seeking refuge in shelters. The spillway's elevation is 108 feet; the water was measured at 108.7 feet early Tuesday afternoon.

He said some homes would be inundated "for up to a month". "We have uncertainty in how the water is going to react", when releases from the reservoirs hit overflowing drainage.

Responding to criticism of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's decision not to evacuate the city, Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters this is an unprecedented catastrophic event.

The release is expected to start flooding homes around the Addicks and Barker reservoirs on Monday morning, the Harris County Flood Control District said.

"We've made some really good progress, but there's a lot more we can do in the future with time, funding, and commitment to make things happen", Brody said.

As the storm heads east toward southwest Louisiana, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said 13 of that city's 120 critical drainage pumps are not operational.

The news comes in the same week the city marks the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

And before the rains fell, when it might otherwise have been possible for Houston residents to evacuate, the more imminent threat was still to the coast, where many mandatory evacuations had been ordered, so the roads needed to be kept clear for those people.

"Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches over the upper Texas coast, including the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area", the NHC says.

But southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana still would see "relentless torrential rains", with another 6 to 12 inches of rain across the upper Texas coast through Friday as Harvey continues to move slowly east over the Gulf of Mexico maintaining tropical storm force winds of 45 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.

It's the water and the inland flooding rather than the wind from a hurricane that's deadly. Houston could receive 15 to 20 inches of rain before this is over.

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