Rays of hope in the darkness
Dry spell forecast, but city is sopping
Waters start a slow pullback in Houston; paramedics battle exhaustion
The news about Houston’s waterways is mostly good: The water levels of many of the region’s rain-swollen bayous, rivers and creeks have crested and were dropping as of Wednesday afternoon after catastrophic flooding from Harvey.
Most of the area waterways should drop below flood stage by the weekend, said Gregory Wel- lers, a hydrologist at the West Gulf River Forecast Center in Fort Worth.
“Houston is catching a break,” Wellers said. The forecast was for prolonged dry weather.
A quick review of the Houston area’s flood gauges Wednesday afternoon found that most were dropping.
However, the city’s main waterway, the Buffalo Bayou, which stretches through the downtown area, could stay at flood stage for weeks, perhaps longer, Wellers said. Two of the city’s reservoirs — the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs — are full and will slowly have to be drained into the Buffalo Bayou over the next several weeks, he said.
“Higher-than-normal controlled releases will continue from the reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to lower water levels in both flood control facilities in west Harris County,” the Harris County Flood Control District said in a statement. Reservoir releases are a common post-storm step, the district said.
When it comes to flooding in Houston, though, Hurricane Harvey was unique: “You can’t compare it to any other storm,” Waller said of Harvey’s floods.
“The recovery process though, once that starts, we’re talking years,” he said.
Traffic goes around flooding on the I-10 freeway Wednesday in Houston. The waters were receding, but Buffalo Bayou could stay at flood stage for weeks.
Residents return to their homes in Houston as floodwaters begin to retreat. The city will get a chance to dry out a little.