Houston Dam Spills Over After Record Rainfall

August 29, 2017

The record-breaking rains Harvey continues to pour onto Houston and the surrounding area have flooded thousands of people out of their homes, with tens of thousands potentially needing to take refuge in shelters.

On Sunday night, the US Army Corps of Engineers began a controlled release of water from the dams at the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for the first time ever. The reservoirs were built to protect downtown Houston from water that could otherwise come flooding though Buffalo Bayou, which is normally a small river running through the city.

The hope was that a controlled release would prevent Addicks and Barker — which were built in 1945 and 1948 after previous catastrophic floods devastated downtown Houston — from spilling over and causing even more uncontrolled damage.

But it was not enough.

Addicks began spilling over for the first time in history on Tuesday morning after topping the 108 ft. water-level mark. The gauge measuring water levels in Barker broke on Tuesday — some predict it will start spilling over as well.

Officials reported that water had breached a levee in Brazoria County on Tuesday as well, and told residents to evacuate immediately to escape flash flooding.

 

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