Controlled release from Addicks, Barker reservoirs begin

- Harris County Flood Control District meteorologist Jeff Lindner announced during a news conference on Sunday night that a controlled release will be conducted for the Addicks Reservoir. The process will likely add more water to already-flooded roads, but is intended to prevent flooding into residential neighborhoods. The same process is likely to take place for the Barker Reservoir. 

The district released maps that show the following:

  • the reservoir
  • the boundary of the reservoir's "government-owned" land, which indicates the boundary between land within the reservoir owned by  the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the adjoining land that is privately owned
  • five levels of ground elevations (color-coded) in neighborhoods located on the perimeter of the reservoir – ranging from 44.9 to 107 feet
  • streets and roadways in and near the reservoir
  • building footprints
  • bayous, creeks and tributaries in and near the reservoir

Ahead of the release from the Addicks Reservoir, a precautionary voluntary evacuation was issued for all streets north of Kingsbridge Road, including east and west Greenbrook Drive and Kenchester Drive, in the Inverness Forest subdivision. Water levels on Cypress Creek near Interstate 45 will possibly top the levee by Monday morning. Residents are encouraged to seek higher ground.

HCFCD released the following statement on Sunday regarding how the releases will affect residents:

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/flooding-floodplains/addicks-and-barker-reservoirs/), 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:

ADDICKS RESERVOIR
• 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

BARKER RESERVOIR
• Westheimer Parkway
• South Barker-Cypress Road

CURRENT CONDITION - DAM STRUCTURES
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.

Following heavy rainfall from the Harvey storm system on Friday and Saturday, the City of Baytown reported runoff filling manholes and producing overflows in the sanitary sewer system.

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, Cedar Bayou had 13 manholes overflow for a total of 249,575 gallons, Black Duck Bay had 9 manholes overflow for a total of 252,525 gallons and Burnett Bay had 6 manholes overflow for a total of 166,550 gallons.

All appropriate local government officials and the TCEQ regional office have been notified and the appropriate documentation/records supplied. Clean-up activities of the overflow area are underway and will be continued until the affected area is clean and completely disinfected. 

The overflows did not affect the fresh water supply for the City of Baytown.
 

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