Finally, after the Tax Day floods, the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs have emptied

Nearly three months have come and gone since the Tax Day Floods ravaged the Houston area in April. As you may recall, during these storms rain fell at rates as high as 1 inch in just 5 minutes over parts of Harris County, with a maximum hourly rate of 4.7 inches. The rain topped out at 16.7 inches in just 12 hours over western Harris County. All told, Harris County averaged 7.75″ of rainfall for the event— equivalent to 240 billion gallons of water falling on the area.

One of the most memorable aspects of those floods came when both the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs filled up, and flooded the adjacent Highway 6. These watersheds located upstream of Houston provide flood damage reduction along Buffalo Bayou downstream of the reservoirs and through the center of the city.

A view of the flooded Addicks Reservoir. (John Chandler/Flickr)
A view of the flooded Addicks Reservoir. (John Chandler/Flickr)

Now, finally, those two large drainage basins have emptied. KUHF 88.7 spoke with Richard Long, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the dams.

“Well the reservoirs are in real good condition right now. Addicks Reservoir emptied out overnight, actually, just last night, and Barker Reservoir will empty in the next couple of days. So we will be basically through with all the Tax Day floodwater and all the rains that have occurred since then,” Long said.

After the reservoirs empty out completely the Corps plans to inspect the facilities to determine if any damage was done by the high water. The Corps also plans a $75 million renovation of the facilities built during the World War II era.

Fortunately for them, there appears to be a lot of dry weather on the horizon for Houston as we get deeper into July and then August.

8 thoughts on “Finally, after the Tax Day floods, the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs have emptied”

  1. Eric, from my perspective at my house ( just north of San Jac river at 59), we are entering a drought like period. Very dry here, leaves falling from stressed trees, yards dried up, etc. Is there any indication of drought here and statewide?
    Thank you

    • We’re not really close to a drought yet because this year’s cumulative rainfall is so far ahead of normal. We’re not even “abnormally dry,” according to the US Drought Monitor. But that can change pretty quickly during the warmest months of the year, and absent meaningful rain between now and then we probably will slide into a drought some time in August.

  2. And as the latest flood waters empty into the Gulf, Houston once again collects its federal flood insurance dole and fails to take measures to mitigate future flood damage. Growth is good, but careless overdevelopment unaccompanied by better stormwater management is foolish and threatens the city’s long term health.

  3. Eric, how worried should Houstonians be about an MJO pulse that’s supposedly going to park itself in the West Gulf? Should we get ready for a hurricane? I can’t seem to get any data or opinions from my fellow wx. hobbyists, so I hope you can help me out.

    • I expect conditions to become more favorable for storms to form over the Atlantic during the latter half of July and into August, but it’s not something I’d be overly concerned about. The MJO is one factor that affects activity, but it is not the end all and be all, and it is not going to simply park over the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Eric, I have a friend that is building a software that will be helping Houstonians or the cities to predict what areas will flood to let clients be aware where to live. How can they connect with you?

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