Tag Archives: Texas Floods

More on Dam Problems for Harris County

The Barker and Addicks Reservoirs are reaching historical levels after the recent rains in Harris County.   For the first time ever, the National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for both reservoirs.  The Army Corps of Engineers also released a statement warning residents living behind the reservoir to be ready for flooding.

The water level in the Addicks Reservoir was measured Wednesday night at 101.4 feet and is expected to crest at 103.2 feet, surpassing the previous record for the reservoir of 97.46 feet set in March 1992. The Barker Reservoir was 93.8 feet and expected to crest at 97.7 feet, also exceeding the March 1992 record of 93.6 feet.

Officials say the dams are not expected to reach 100 percent capacity.  However, part of the reservoirs are on private property.  If the water levels rise more than anticipated, area roadways and some subdivisions will be flooded.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said officials are considering acquiring sandbags for deployment on “non-governmental land” behind the Addicks and Barker reservoirs due to the potential flooding of homes.

High Water Shuts Down Texas-Louisiana Border

Texas Department of Transportation announced that Interstate 10 at the Sabine River has been closed due to high water.

Due to continued flooding from excessive rainfall along the Texas-Louisiana state line, the Texas Department of Transportation has closed Interstate 10 near the state line.

The closure is needed because the Sabine River is  cresting above flood stage and dumping water into the low-lying eastbound mainlanes of the interstate near Orange.  Louisiana is expected to block westbound traffic as well.

If you are travelling to Louisiana there are not a lot of alternatives.  TXDOT is telling drivers leaving Houston to avoid the area entirely by crossing the Sabine on Interstate 20 which would be an approximately 250 mile detour.

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ – Though the Streams are Swollen

The recent flooding resurrected the practice of a real life cattle drive for some modern day cowboys in Liberty County.  Approximately 500 head of cattle had to be rescued from a small dry island of land.  The drive took the herd straight through downtown Dayton to the amusement and fascination of local residents.  The Houston Chronicle reports on the step back in time.

It was a scene lifted straight from the sepia-tinged film of an old Western – a harrowing rescue of hundreds of cattle through floodwaters, herded onto dry land and through town to safety.

But there were cars and boats here to carry the calves too small to tread water. And in town there were people – hundreds of them – snapping enough pictures and video on smartphones to stir up a viral sensation.

It was a distinctly Texan success story after a hard week in Liberty County, where road flooding along the Trinity River trapped residents in at least 600 homes last week. On Sunday, downtown was full for the show.

“Oh my goodness – you couldn’t even park a car all the way through Dayton,” Liberty County sheriff’s Capt. Ken DeFoor said of the crowded streets in the town of about 7,400 northeast of Houston. “It’s not every day you see a cattle drive going through a major highway going through downtown. You see that in the movies, but you don’t see that in real life any more.”

Ted Cruz Against All Spending – Except When it Might Cost Him Votes

Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) will apparently support federal funding to help Texans affected by the recent disastrous flooding.  When the good citizens of New Jersey and New York needed such funds after Hurricane Sandy, the good Senator was not so understanding.  He claimed that the relief bill was loaded with pork (a dubious claim in light of the history of such measures) and voted against it.  But when it comes to protecting his base in Texas, Cruz will apparently have no qualms about federal money pouring into our fair state.  That evil federal money will soon start to flow and you can bet Cruz will be claiming credit.  The Washington Post reports on Cruz’s hypocrisy.

Sen. Ted Cruz showed his support for federal disaster relief in the wake of devastating floods in Texas last week — two and a half years after voting against a disaster relief bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast in 2012.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Cruz said that it appears as though the disaster money will come through due to the magnitude of the floods, which killed 15 people in Texas.

“The governor has entered a disaster declaration, which is the first step in federal emergency relief,” Cruz said. “There are a series of federal statutory thresholds that have to be satisfied initially. It appears that those thresholds will be satisfied by the magnitude of the flooding.”

Though April Showers May Come Your Way – They Bring Even More Rain in May

May 2015 is officially the wettest month ever recorded in Texas.  Texas A&M Today reports that the current deluge has broken all records for precipitation in a single month.

Figures from the Office of the State Climatologist at Texas A&M University show that the month of May has been the wettest month ever in the state’s history, averaging 7.54 inches, besting the previous record of 6.66 inches in June of 2004.

“Many parts of the state have set records for the most rainfall ever,” says John Nielsen-Gammon, professor of atmospheric sciences who also has served as State Climatologist since 2000. He says the reason is a combination of factors: an active El Niño in the Pacific Ocean which tends to bring the jet stream over Texas, a steady flow of moist air from the south that becomes unstable when it undercuts the jet stream, and a stubborn weather pattern “that just won’t go away.

“It has been one continuous storm after another for the past week to 10 days in several regions of the state.  It has rained so much that the ground just can’t soak any more moisture into it, and many creeks and rivers are above flood stage.”

The good news: Nielsen-Gammon says the stubborn pattern should begin to change in a few days, “and after this weekend, we should enter a period of more normal conditions.  Spring is usually wet, but not this wet.”

The state’s wettest area has been from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to the Red River, parts of which have received more than 20 inches of rain this month.

The Houston area was not hit “that hard until the past few days, but then heavy rains came in waves and areas around Sugarland have received more than 17.50 inches of rain.  The area around San Marcos has received heavy flooding, with more than 18 inches of rain this month,” Nielsen-Gammon adds.

 

The Dam Will Hold – For Now

A dam near Midlothian appeared to be on the edge of failure, but WFAA reports that it will hold for the time being.

Engineers and builders at Padera Lake in Midlothian say it was a close call, but an earthen dam won’t breach after all. They are still waiting on official word from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The National Weather Service expected the levee to break Wednesday morning. U.S. Highway 287 was being prepared to close near Kimble Road in case the road became flooded. Up to 15 feet of water was possible.

Stephanie Parker with the Ellis County Emergency Management Agency told News 8 that people living near the dam were notified of the potential break, and livestock was moved to higher ground.

Officials had been trying to slow down the process for several days, as rain added more water to the small lake. They were draining it from the bottom of the dam Monday morning, as soil was seen eroding and water was spilling over the top.

Houston Hammered

Red will confirm that Houston was indeed hammered last night and into the early morning.   CNN can fill in the details.  When woken by Mrs. Red this morning at 3 am, Casa Rojo was completely surrounded by water.  Around 5:30 Red was pretty sure it was going to flood, but the rain stopped.

“We got hammered,” Houston Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Flanagan told CNN’s “New Day,” echoing sentiments by many others in the region in recent days. “We had cars that were stranded, mobility was stopped … signals didn’t work. It was just a madhouse.”

It still is. While the sun appeared Tuesday, more rain remains possible. And even though some parts of Houston were “high and dry,” others were not, Mayor Annise Parker said.

 

“The sun is shining out here right now and the city is slowly getting back to normal, but this is a little bit of a situation of a tale of two cities. Much of Houston was unaffected by the weather, but the parts that were affected by the weather were very severely hit,” she told reporters.

Underpasses, patches of highways and areas near waterways such as the San Jacinto River, Cypress Creek and Buffalo Bayou, already strained by weeks of heavy rain, remain inundated.

“The defining feature of Houston is the small rivers that run through the city,” Parker said. “Many of them went over their banks and began to flood neighborhoods.”

The result of the flash floods and river overruns is “lots and lots of abandoned cars” and large pools of standing water, making for a logistical and traffic nightmare in the United States fourth most populated city.

The mayor said that as many as 4,000 properties in Houston may have suffered “significant damage,” although the assessment is complicated by all the water.

Image of worst high-water spots from http://www.chron.com.