Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Miscellaneous reports from Houston

Houston flood: Dams begin overflowing amid record rainfall

BBC,
29 August, 2017
Two major dams outside Houston have begun overflowing as Storm Harvey pushes reservoirs past capacity.
Flood control official Jeff Lindner said nearby communities could face further flooding as a result.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are in Texas to see the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm.
Record rainfall has caused huge floods and is starting to affect Louisiana.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in the Houston area while rescuers are trying to reach others that remain stranded.
At least nine people are reported to have died, including six members of the same family whose van was swept away by rising floodwater, and a man in his 60s who apparently drowned while trying to swim to safety.
Engineers have been releasing water to try to ease pressure on the Addicks and Barker dams, which control the amount of water in the Buffalo Bayou - the main river into Houston.
But the water level in the Addicks reservoir west of Houston exceeded 108ft (32.9m) on Tuesday, geological data shows, causing it to flow over the top of defences.
Meanwhile flood gauges on the Barker dam have themselves been put out of action by the deluge.
President Donald Trump waves next to First Lady Melania Trump upon arrival in Corpus Christi, Texas, 29 August 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPresident Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump touched down in Texas on Tuesday and headed to a briefing on the storm
Officials said the overspill could cause further flooding in areas close to the Buffalo Bayou, but the exact impact was unknown.
"This is something we've never faced before, so we're trying our best to wrap around what exactly this water is going to do," said Jeff Lindner, meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District.
Meanwhile, officials in Brazoria County, south of Houston, said a levee at Columbia Lakes had been breached, tweeting: "Get out now!"
Map showing Addicks and Barker reservoirs and dams near Houston
Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years when it made landfall on Friday near Corpus Christi, 220 miles (354km) south-west of Houston.
The slow-moving storm - currently over the Gulf of Mexico - is expected to continue dumping huge amounts of rain in the coming days over already flood-hit areas.
Forecasts suggest that some areas in and around Houston could see up to 12in (30cm) of further rain on Tuesday.
One neighbourhood in south Houston has seen the heaviest total rainfall from a tropical storm in the US since records began in the 1950s, the National Weather Service says.
A total of 49.2in has fallen at Mary's Creek at Winding Road, beating the previous record of 48in.
Map of rainfall in Texas and Louisiana
Harvey is expected to make landfall again on Wednesday morning, probably in south-western Louisiana.


Residents of the city of New Orleans, which marked the 12th anniversary of devastating Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday, are bracing for heavy rain and flash floods over the next two days.

BREAKING: Horrific Explosion Rocks Downtown Houston; Massive Fire Erupts (VIDEO)



An explosion just shocked the residents and disaster relief workers in downtown Houston, TX. A video released on Twitter from ABC13 Houston shows a large building on fire:
This is clearly devastating as disaster relief efforts are currently underway in the hard hit city. More posts from Twitter beginning to pour in.
Check back here for more on this breaking story.

Unsubstantiated right now

1000 Foot Tall JP Morgan Tower in Houston Being Evacuated; "FOUNDATION ISSUES" MAY FALL OVER 

 

So much rain has fallen in and around Houston, and the ground has become so saturated, so deep, that skyscrapers are now in danger of FALLING OVER!  The one-thousand foot tall JP MORGAN Building in downtown Houston is being evacuated right now due to "foundation issues."
This means the ground beneath the skyscraper may no longer be firm enough to support the building!
If this is correct - and local authorities believe it is -- the thousand-foot-tall building could literally fall over ! ! ! ! 
Bear in mind that skyscrapers are designed to "sway" in heavy winds.  Normally, that's a good thing; it prevents the buildings from snapping."  But in a case like this, where the foundation is compromised due to moist soil, that same "swaying" could very well lead to "tipping over."  And also bear in mind that wind in and around Houston is STILL being affected by the remnants of Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey returned to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and is strengthening again right now.  At 4:00 PM EDT, Hurricane Hunter Aircraft flew through the "eye" of the former hurricane and found wind has increased today from 45 MPH to 50 MPH and the central barometric pressure had dropped from 1006mb to 994 mb.
As central pressure drops, wind speeds pick-up.  If those winds start hitting this building, it could very well fall right over.
No one is sure how this will turn out, but authorities in Houston are erring on the side of caution and evacuating the building.
Here's another view:






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