Still Homeless Six Months After Harvey: A Look Back at Those Damned Dams

Water was being released from Addicks at approximately 7,000 cubic feet per second and from Barker at approximately 6,300 cubic feet per second.

While Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster, this flooding was manmade. Now the lawsuits over inverse condemnation are piling up in the courts.

While Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster, this flooding was manmade. Now the lawsuits over inverse condemnation are piling up in the courts.
Graphic courtesy of Harris County Flood Control District

It’s only with 20/20 hindsight that we can ever truly know what should have been the right decision, but six months after Hurricane Harvey, it seems that the decision to flood multi-family dwellings especially has come at a tremendous price.

Once the controlled releases were initiated, the waters rose so fast that residents had to evacuate by boat. Cathy Harling Montgomery, a 71-year-old resident of The Pines on Memorial Drive near Beltway 8, drowned in her first-floor condominium unit; another Memorial-area resident, Robert Arthur Haines, also drowned.

The Pines on Memorial Drive near Beltway 8, drowned in her first-floor condominium unit; another Memorial-area resident, Robert Arthur Haines, also drowned.

The Harris County Flood Control District knew that streets and homes downstream of the reservoirs flood when the release rate exceeds 4,000 cubic feet per second; they sent approximately 13,300 cubic feet per second.

The Harris County Flood Control District knew that streets and homes downstream of the reservoirs flood when the release rate exceeds 4,000 cubic feet per second; they sent approximately 13,300 cubic feet per second.
Google Earth screenshot of Memorial Drive near Beltway 8 in early September, 2017.

Owners of units in The Pines, as well as nearby Memorial Drive Townhomes and Somerset Place, took another hit after the waters finally receded. After being submerged under four feet of sewage-tainted water for ten days, the mold was growing rapidly and wicking up the walls, endangering second story units if not gutted quickly.

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