Tropical Storm Harvey continues to do more damage than officials can keep up with.
With up to three feet of rain already on the ground in areas around Houston, officials were forced to start releasing water from two dams overnight, earlier than they’d planned. And forecasters say another two feet of rain is possible in the area. Officials say even the controlled releases may not be enough if the rain doesn’t relent, and if the dams were to fail, half of Houston would be underwater.
The intense flooding has made it impossible to get an accurate count of fatalities, but the Houston Chronicle has confirmed at least five deaths.
About 50,000 people south and west of Houston are now under a mandatory evacuation order because of anticipated flooding from the Brazos River.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center expects Harvey to meander back over the Gulf of Mexico and undergo some minor restrengthening before coming back ashore in the middle of the week.
- The dams were built to protect the city, but because they hold back so much water, they may wind up doing the opposite if they fail.
- The grim decision officials had to make: Release some water and flood some homes, or risk the dams failing.
- This storm has overperformed at every juncture. No reason to believe it will relent now.
- At least officials seemed prepared. The nightmare of Katrina was watching people completely helpless due to the failure of officials at every level.