Emergency officials working to minimize flooding ahead of storms

Area emergency officials are working to try to minimize flooding as much as possible, but in some areas high water seems to be getting ahead them. 

Staying a step ahead of flooding isn’t only difficult, it also takes enormous planning and strategy, which is why several things are occurring on Lake Houston. 

"This will be the eighth time we’ve lowered the level of Lake Houston. It sits on a daily basis at 42.5 feet above sea level. We’re trying to get it down to 41 feet above sea level,” explains Houston City Councilman Dave Martin.

In addition to the horrible hit residents have already taken, the Houston area is at risk of being hammered by heavy rain over the next several days. So, area leaders are trying to keep communities from flooding. 

"Reducing the level of the lake is a little difficult right now because of the water we’re receiving from Mother Nature,” Martin admits.

"We don’t do any lowering of water. We don’t have any water to lower. Any of our creeks and bayous they drain by gravity,” explains Meteorologist Jeff Lindner with the Harris County Flood Control District. 

Lindner says the county is working to ensure its water ways are draining correctly and aren't backed up.

"We’re always checking for debris and clearing debris,” Lindner adds.

As for Lake Houston, “The Lake Houston Dam is a spillway dam. We have four very small gates. We don’t have the ability to release that much water. It takes us about a day with no rain and no inflow coming in to reduce it by a foot,” explains Martin, who says some of the communities they are attempting to protect by lowering the water level in Lake Houston are Forest Cove, Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita, Huffman and Conroe.

The city is also working on a long term remedy. 

"We’re presently dredging the river, we’re going to dredge the lake. We’re going to build additional gates on the existing Lake Houston Dam. That’s going to take a couple of years on the additional gates, at least three to five years," he said.

Lindner says most of the county can only handle another 2 to 3 inches of rain in a one to three hour time span.  If flooding does become a widespread problem, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is testing every bit of its high water rescue equipment to make sure it’s working properly.