Record and near-record rainfall this weekend in conjunction with Hurricane Harvey has led to unprecedented rises in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in west Harris and Fort Bend counties.
Record and near-record rainfall this weekend in conjunction with Hurricane Harvey has led to unprecedented rises in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in west Harris and Fort Bend counties. Reservoir outlet gates have been closed since August 25 as a routine precaution in advance of expected heavy rain. Roadways that run through the federal reservoirs are going underwater as stormwater levels approach the limits of government-owned land. House flooding in some neighborhoods on Addicks Reservoir's western and northern boundaries could begin as early as Monday morning.
Residents immediately adjacent to the Addicks and Barker reservoirs are urged to remain alert and take precautionary measures.
- Avoid driving, if possible, especially into water of unknown depth
- Remain in your home unless advised to evacuate by local officials
- Restrict children from playing in flooded areas
- Secure valuables
Harris County Flood Control District and Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management are asking residents near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs to voluntarily evacuate their homes if they feel they are in danger. This is only a precautionary measure. Should residents decide to evacuate, please visit http://readyharris.org/News-Information/Ready-Harris-News for a list of open shelters. Please do NOT evacuate tonight; wait until daylight when it is safe to do so. Residents are urged to closely monitor reliable emergency management and local media sources for weather and road condition updates. If evacuation notices are determined to be necessary, information will be provided by the Harris and/or Fort Bend counties’ Office of Emergency Management.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the reservoirs, which were built in the 1940s to protect against flooding in downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel. Outlet gates were later added as a further safety measure so that stormwater releases could be controlled to minimize downstream flooding risks. Already 10 to 18 inches of rain has fallen within most areas that drain into the reservoirs along Mason Creek, South Mayde Creek, Langham Creek, Bear Creek, Horsepen Creek, and Upper Buffalo Bayou. The National Weather Service is predicting widespread 6 to 8 inches of additional rainfall.
Corps officials expect the reservoir pool levels to continue to rise throughout the week, despite plans to begin controlled releases from Addicks and Barker reservoirs in the early morning hours on Monday, August 28. These elevated pool levels could impact surrounding areas behind the dams for several weeks to months.
The Flood Control District urges all residents to monitor rainfall and bayou water levels on its Harris County Flood Warning System website at www.harriscountyfws.org. It is important for Harris County residents to be aware of conditions near their workplaces, schools and homes. Stay tuned to messages from emergency officials-- distributed through the various media outlets. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @HCFCD for live updates.
CURRENT CONDITIONS – NEIGHBORHOODS
As of Sunday August 27, stormwater levels are predicted to rise outside of government-owned land at the Addicks Reservoir in the early hours of Monday, August 28. Stormwater levels are predicted to rise outside of government-owned land at the Barker Reservoir on or about Wednesday, August 30.
The Harris County Flood Control District has created maps (available at the Flood Control District website https://www.hcfcd.org/Activity/Active-Projects/Addicks-Reservoir), that show ground elevations of lands adjacent to the reservoirs. Information found on these maps can be used in conjunction with information about current reservoir pool elevations to determine possible impacts to areas outside reservoir boundaries.
CURRENT CONDITIONS - ROADS
Roadways that run through both reservoirs are underwater and will remain impassable for several weeks to several months. Those include:
- State Highway 6
- North Eldridge Parkway
- Barker-Cypress Road
- Clay Road
- All internal and park roads in the reservoir, including Patterson Road, Bear Creek Drive and War Memorial Street
- Westheimer Parkway
- South Barker-Cypress Road
The Corps is monitoring the Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs around-the-clock to ensure continued operations and integrity of the structures, which have protected greater Houston area residents against loss of life and property over the last 70 years. Both dams continue to perform as designed and at this time there are no indications of any structural issues with the dams. The Corps expects to begin higher-than-normal releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs Monday morning and to continue those releases in coming days. This step is primarily intended to maintain controlled releases of the reservoirs and to reduce additional flooding risks.
To learn more about the Addicks and Barker Dam Safety Program, visit http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/DamSafetyProgram.aspx. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.
About the Harris County Flood Control District
The Harris County Flood Control District provides flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure.