The story of the massive Houston flood disaster is about to make a scientific transition.
The good news? Rainfall tapers off in Houston over the next 24 hours. The not-so-good news? Over 40 inches of rain has fallen and all that water is still moving around trying to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
That means the flood focus going forward over the next few days changes from the rain falling from the sky, to the water flowing in watersheds around metro Houston.
— Pooja Lodhia (@PoojaOnTV) August 28, 2017
The story of the Houston flood is shifting from meteorology to hydrology.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 29, 2017
A year’s worth of rain
Several locations around Houston are now recording rainfall totals higher than 40 inches. That’s nearly a year’s worth of rain in a city that averages 50 inches a year. Harvey delivered on forecast rainfall totals.
— NWS Houston (@NWSHouston) August 29, 2017
Addicks and Barker
The hydrology of Houston is complicated. Two major reservoirs in the western part of the city are now at record highs, topping capacity. Water is now flowing from the spillway at the north end of the Addicks Reservoir.
UPDATE: Officials say pool elevation at Addicks rises to 108 feet and is flowing over the spillway https://t.co/9rdeq8ppua
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) August 29, 2017
Now the challenge for hydrologists is to accurately predict where all that water will go. Here’s a clip from the Harris County Flood Control District briefing this morning.
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) August 29, 2017
Houston area flood managers are playing a delicate game now. It’s a balancing act between releasing water from stressed reservoirs into already flooded bayous and neighborhoods in Houston. Adding insult to injury, many flood gauges have been washed away or are underwater.
Multiple water level and rain sensors are out of service due to flooding. See picture for more detailed information. pic.twitter.com/hpWHPnpO0Z
— HCFCD (@hcfcd) August 29, 2017
The magnitude of this disaster is still unfolding. Severe flooding reports are still flowing in. There’s no way the news media can cover everything that’s happening in the nation’s fourth largest city.
Harris County says there's disastrous flooding on the west fork of the San Jacinto River. Water in 2nd floor of homes or over rooftops.#khou
— The Bishop (@BillBishopKHOU) August 29, 2017
So while the rain may ease in the next 24 hours in Houston, this flood story may not yet be at peak in many areas. This slow-motion flood disaster continues.
Flood control: Streets will begin flooding in several subdivisions. Peak in Reservoir expected later this week. Receding will take weeks.
— Erika Ferrando THV11 (@ErikaFerrandoTV) August 29, 2017