As Tropical Storm Harvey heads back inland, slamming southwest Texas with another 15-25 inches of rain, Houston officials are reporting that the city’s critical infrastructure is starting to fail under the weight of the floodwaters, and may soon collapse.
According to Reuters, roads and bridges in Houston have started to buckle under the impact of the catastrophic flooding in parts of the city. According to Jeff Linder of the Harris County Flood Control District, one bridge had collapsed and some roads had been damaged by the torrential rains.
Worse, the damage is far from over. As reported yesterday, the water levels at two reservoirs to the west of the city, where more than 3,000 homes have been flooded, continue to rise.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bayou, the primary drainage system that runs through the city, is holding steady and may not recede for days, said Edmond Russo, deputy engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers. According to USGS data, the Buffalo Bayou has recorded a record 33 inches of rain, and another 20 is expected in the coming 48 hours.
Linder said the level of the Houston Ship Channel, which opens out into Galveston Bay was “at levels we’ve never seen before”, slowing the bayou’s ability to drain. Two major dams outside Houston have also begun to overflow, according to the BBC.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed that one police officer has been killed since the flooding began. The Houston police chief says the officer’s body was recovered Tuesday morning. He apparently died when floodwaters overcame his vehicle as he tried to get to his post.
Perez "died in trying." RIP, sergeant. Houston thanks you and mourns all who have died in #HarveyFlood.
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 29, 2017
Meanwhile, the Port of Houston is reporting that all facilities will remain closed on Wednesday, leaving oil tankers carrying an estimated 17 million barrels of crude oil stranded off shore with their cargo.
All Port Houston facilities will remain closed on Wednesday, August 30th due to the weather impact accross Houston. pic.twitter.com/6V3CKSYHSy
— Port Houston (@Port_Houston) August 29, 2017
At least nine people have died as a result of the flooding, including six members of one family.
Floodwaters have swept away some of the concrete barrier at the San Jacinto Bridge.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 29, 2017
Finally, recall last night’s dire prediction by one engineer on twitter.
If he is right, the dire forecast by Imperial Capital analyst David Havens who predicted that the final Harvey cost would surpass $100 billion, or 3 times more than what most believe the Harvey damages will amount to, will prove to be pleasantly optimistic in retrospect.