Houston dam spills over for first time

Deluged Texas braces for years of recovery; One of the largest disasters America has ever faced: Gov. Abbott
Houston
As one of the most destructive storms in the nation’s history pummeled southeast Texas for a fourth day, forecasts on Tuesday morning called for still more rain, making clear that catastrophic flooding that had turned neighborhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome. A vital dam in suburban Houston that protects the central city began overspilling on Tuesday, and officials said the rainfall from Harvey is so unprecedented they do not know what the impact on surrounding communities will be.Water levels in the Addicks reservoir have reached 108ft, said Jeff Lindner, a Harris County flood control district meteorologist. He warned that neighbourhoods in the spillway zone would begin to see street and possibly structural flooding.“We have never faced this before. We have uncertainty in how the water is going to react as it moves out of the spillway and into the surrounding area,” Lindner told a news conference on Tuesday. “We are trying to wrap our heads around what this water will do.”Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it.Across a region that is home to millions of people and includes Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, no one has a clear idea how many people are missing, how many evacuated, how many hunkered down or were trapped in their waterlogged homes, or how many inundated houses and vehicles are beyond saving.It is “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, warning against expecting anything resembling recovery any time soon, or a return to the way things were. “We need to recognize it will be a new normal, a new and different normal for this entire region.” Local officials reported 10 deaths possibly related to the storm, six of them in Harris County, which includes Houston. But the painstaking and heartbreaking work of clearing streets, going door to door, assessing damage — and finding victims — has not yet begun.Scenes of people and pets being rescued from the roofs and upper floors of houses revived memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when early estimates vastly understated both the material devastation and the death toll, and recovery efforts lasted years. The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said on Monday that he expected more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance. “We’re going to be here for several years helping you guys recover,” he said. “The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery housing missions the nation has ever seen.”— Agencies

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