Release from Addicks, Barker reservoirs slowly reduced

Mandatory evacuation issued for west Houston residents in flooded homes near Buf

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor , Click2Houston.com Staff

HOUSTON - A mandatory evacuation has been issued for west Houston residents who live along Buffalo Bayou and have water in their homes. Mayor Sylvester Turner urged those residents to leave by 7 a.m. Sunday.

Turner said engineers believe water releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in west Harris County will continue for at least 10 days but could last as long as 15 days. He said personal safety and the strain on first responders are the primary reasons for the evacuation request.

The Army Corps of Engineers began a gradual reduction in releases from the Addicks and Barker on Sunday night. These reductions are expected to continue through Sept. 15. The plan of release is based on the forecasted rainfall over the next seven days, which is less than an inch, officials said. 

VIDEO: Reservoir forecast through Sept. 18 

The reduction in water release means that people living along Buffalo Bayou around Highway 6 and Interstate 10 might get some relief from the high water.

Homeowners who live downstream, particularly homeowners in west Houston who live south of Interstate 10, will begin to slowly see water levels go down as the releases are reduced.

VIDEO: Army Corps of Engineers updates reservoir releases 

If the projected rainfall increases, more water will be released from the reservoirs.

Officials said that once the water has receded, engineers can inspect the dams for damage that might have been caused by rapid outflow of water, and make any repairs.  

The mandatory evacuation of homes and apartments is for the area west of Gessner, east of Highway 6, south of I-10 Katy Freeway and north of Briar Forest.

VIDEO: Mayor Turner discuss flooding in West Houston area 

Houston fire Chief Sam Pena said most people in the affected area west of Gessner Road have already evacuated, but there are pockets where people have remained.

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo assured homeowners who have not left their home that officers will protect the neighborhoods that have been flooded.

VIDEO: Power being turned off in some areas 

Turner said emergency crews will shuttle residents to a shelter if needed.

Peak release for both reservoirs happened over the weekend.

20,000-year flooding event

Jeff Linder, a meteorologist at the Harris County Flood Control District, said an average of between 35 and 45 inches of rain fell across the entire county. That rainfall amount constitutes an event that only happens once every 10,000 to 20,000 years, Linder said.

VIDEO: Aerials of west Houston flooding

Linder also said that the 47 inches of rain that fell in Clear Creek in a four-day period constitutes an event that happens once every 40,000 years.

“So, an extraordinarily rare event has occurred,” Linder said.

Linder said pool levels in both reservoirs are beginning to fall, but the release from the dams is necessary to allow the reservoirs to absorb any other rainfall that the region might receive.

Engineers said if there is another significant rain event, the gates would have to be closed to allow the basins to collect the water.

PHOTOS: SE Texas before and after Harvey

Holliday family finds relief after visit to neighborhood

With the Briarforest community practically underwater in most places, many can only sit around and wonder how bad their home may have been damaged by several feet of flood waters.

"Coming back and seeing how bad it is now is something I cannot comprehend. It's too much to take in," Suzanne Holliday said. "It's just hard to put into words what my heart is like. It's going to beat out of my chest because when we left it was drier."

The Holliday family evacuated Wednesday and caught a boat ride Friday to get important medications and documents.

Jay Punnakal was the captain of the boat trip. He came from San Angelo because he had a boat and the resources.

"A lot of these people are desperate to see their homes. Maybe pets or supplies or medications in there and we're just trying to help people out," Punnakal said.

Although they couldn't make it past the strong current of Buffalo Bayou, the Hollidays were able to wade the last few hundred yards.

By the time they came back, the family shared the pleasant surprise around the bend.

"Amazingly enough our neighborhood is dry. None of the homes took on water," Holliday said. "To open the door and see the floor and through the great room and not see water was so overwhelming of a feeling."

One family's story of relief and new friends made along the way to help them make that discovery.

"It's amazing to see such heartfelt people out here. People helping people. That's what Texas is all about," Holliday said.

MAPS: Barker Reservoir Elevations | Addicks Reservoir Elevations

List of neighborhoods near reservoirs

The following neighborhoods are located within the watershed of either the Addicks Reservoir, or the Barker Reservoir. Evacuations have been issued in these locations.

Subdivisions in Barker Reservoir watershed:

  • Arcadia
  • Arcadia Court
  • Cinco Ranch Equestrian Village
  • Estates of Barker Lake
  • Flagstone Estates
  • Green Trails
  • Green Trails Crossing
  • Green Trails Forest
  • Green Trails Oaks
  • Green Trails Park
  • Green Trails Village
  • Highland Trails
  • Kelliwood
  • Kelliwood Enclave
  • Kelliwood Gardens
  • Kelliwood in Nottingham Country
  • Kelliwood Lakes
  • Kelliwood Place
  • Kelliwood Trails
  • Kingsland Acres
  • Kingsland Estates
  • Lakeforest of Kelliwood
  • Lakes of Buckingham
  • Lakes of Buckingham Kelliwood
  • Memorial Parkway
  • Memorial Parkway Village
  • Nottingham Country
  • Oak Park Trails
  • Parklake Village
  • Parkview at Barker Cypress
  • Ricefield Village
  • Stonelodge
  • University Park West
  • Westgreen Park
  • Willow Park Greens
  • Windsor Park Estates
  • Windsor Park Lakes

Subdivisions in Addicks Reservoir watershed:

  • Barker Addition
  • Barker Crossing
  • Barkers Branch
  • Barkers Crossing
  • Bear Creek Central
  • Bear Creek Estates
  • Bear Creek Farms
  • Bear Creek Trails
  • Bear Creek Village
  • Bear Creek West
  • Charlestown Colony
  • Clay Hill Park
  • Clay Hills Plaza
  • Clay Meadows
  • Concord Bridge
  • Concord Colony
  • Cypress Parke
  • Eldridge Park
  • Estates at Cullen Park
  • Feste Park at Bear Creek Village
  • Forresta Village
  • Georgetown Colony
  • Glencairn
  • Glencairn Park
  • Glencairn South
  • Hearthstone Place
  • Jamestown Colony
  • Lake Harbor
  • Lakes of Eldridge North
  • Lakes of Pine Forest
  • Lakes on Eldridge
  • Lakes on Eldridge North
  • Landing at Park Harbor
  • Langham Creek Colony
  • Mayde Creek Farms
  • Park Harbor
  • Park Harbor Estates
  • Park Harbor Oaks
  • Park Place Center
  • Pine Forest Green
  • Pine Forest Landing
  • Pine Forest Village
  • Ranch at Barker Cypress
  • Savannah Estates
  • Timber Creek Place
  • Twin Lakes
  • Villages at Lakepoint
  • Westlake
  • Westlake Forest
  • Westlake Place
  • Yorktown Crossing
  • Westside Business Park

For more information about this situation, go to ReadyHarris.org.

Download the Click2Houston news app in your app store to stay up-to-date with the latest news while you're on the go.

Sign up for KPRC 2 newsletters to get breaking news, sports, entertainment, contests and more delivered straight to your email inbox.

Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.