Houston Levee Failures: Reports Indicate that Reservoirs are Being Strained Past the Spillover Point

DEVELOPING STORY:

News reports Monday night from Houston KTRK indicated that water levels at Addicks and Barker Reservoirs were continuing to rise sharply despite controlled releases starting at 1 AM on Monday. According to these reports, the reservoirs had received upwards of 25 inches of rainfall. The National Weather Service indicated that another 25 inches may be on the way in total. And despite the controlled release, reservoir levels were continuing to rise at a rate of 4 inches per hour.

(Addicks and Barker Reservoirs spill into Buffalo Bayou, which then flows into downtown Houston. Earlier today controlled releases were begun in an attempt to slow water rise in the reservoirs. This release is failing to prevent rapid water rise within and around these reservoirs. Movement of flood waters into the reservoirs is pushing waters into subdivisions near the reservoirs even as risk of levee failure is rising. Image source: Harris County Flood Control District and Weather Underground.)

Such unprecedented rainfall totals caused city officials to warn that: “This event has the potential to exceed a 1,000 year flood plain threshold.” It’s worth noting that the Levees in Fort Bend County were designed only to manage a 100 year flood event and that the expected 59 foot crest of the Brazos River represented an 800 year flood event.

But by evening, very heavy thunderstorms were running in to Houston across Galveston Bay. These storms again pummeled the city with extraordinary rainfall amounts — pushing flood thresholds still higher.

As a result, concern about the communities surrounding these reservoirs is hitting a fever pitch. Flooding is now expected in all of the 41 city subdivisions surrounding Barker and also in all of the 52 subdivisions surrounding Addicks. In addition, three other neighborhoods could see flooding if water flanks the Addicks spillway.

More concerning, however, is this statement from KTRK:

In addition to these neighborhoods, officials have called for a mandatory evacuation of Inverness Forest on Cypress Creek and Northwood Pines on Spring Creek as a result of potential levee failures.

Throughout the day, there have been numerous indications that these reservoirs were under serious stress as more and more water rushed downstream. As of late afternoon, water levels had risen to 105 feet in the Addicks reservoir. And observers of various levees at the time had already noted that water was near overtopping in some places. This tweet from Jeff Linder shows water very close to the top of the Inverness Levee.

By evening, Addicks had topped 106 feet and Barker was at 101 feet with the water still rapidly rising. Meanwhile, a dam upstream in Brazos County burst at 9 PM — further adding to the torrent heading toward Houston. With imminent danger of worse floods approaching, the National Weather Service subsequently issued a very clear warning that residents in the impacted neighborhoods should evacuate before 11 PM (CDT) or risk being stranded. Such a clear warning was an indication that disaster officials expected a high risk that at least some of the impacted levees would be breached or spill over.

Uncontrolled Releases and Failures Begin Tuesday Morning

By Tuesday morning, reports were coming in that the Addicks reservoir had topped 108 feet and that parts of the dam section of that reservoir near Buffalo Bayou was flowing out through the emergency spillway. This spillover is adding more water to Buffalo Bayou — a main river running through Houston and a significant source of flooding thus far. The Addicks Dam, as of 11 AM CDT remained structurally sound and the main issue with the levee at that time was due to uncontrolled spill out through the emergency spillway. As of early Tuesday, officials expected levels at Addicks Dam to peak at more than 110 feet this week. Risk of dam breakage at this time, according to officials, is said to remain low.

Officials, as of late Tuesday morning, were increasingly concerned about a Barker Dam overflow due to rising waters in the Barker reservoir as well. Water gauges at Barker had been put out of commission by the rising waters as of last night. So it is difficult to clarify the situation at the Barker Dam at this time. However, Barker is expected to exceed the 101 foot level in which uncontrolled overflow occurs, ultimately peaking at 104 feet. As with Addick, Barker Dam presently remains structurally sound with no major risk of imminent breakage, according to officials.

Meanwhile, a levee failure has been reported Tuesday morning in Brazoria County, south of Houston, at Columbia Lakes. Emergency officials in the area were very concerned about residents sheltering in their homes in this region — urging all Columbia Lakes residents to “get out!”

(UPDATED — UPDATES TO FOLLOW)

RELATED REPORTS AND INFORMATION:

Links:

Addicks Dam Begins Overflowing

KTRK

KBXT

Harris County Flood Control District

Weather Underground

Hat tip to wili

Hat tip to eleggua

Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

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99 Comments

  1. Tina

     /  August 29, 2017

    I have been listening to you for a long time via Ecoshock. Will be get the message and start a war effort against climate disruption now. I pray so.

    Reply
  2. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    LIST: Evacuation orders for Fort Bend Co. neighborhoods within levees
    9:29 PM. CDT August 28, 2017

    http://www.khou.com/news/list-evacuation-orders-for-fort-bend-co-neighborhoods-within-levees/468540701

    Reply
  3. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    Hurricane Harvey Coverage LIVE on CBSN

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Hospital rescue finished; all safe. Boats brought them to overpass to ambulances. Rescuers loading boats back onto rigs on overpass and now on to the next place.
      Lots of “good ole boys” from all over Texas out there; kudos.

      Old woman with broken leg: “Would you please put your hand on me and comfort me?”
      Good ole boy awed by the opportunity to help and comfort. Over 100 rescued from the hospital. Bless them all, rescued and rescuers.

      “The way we’re finding people, we holler out and people yell for “help” and that’s how we found the hospital.
      We’re looking for lights and people in windows.”

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  August 29, 2017

        ^ Hospital at 249 in the Chasewood area.

        Thursday night, Dallas at Houston, preseason football, moved to Dallas. “We need the distraction.”

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “At this point we just want Houston to stay safe.”

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Reporter downtown: “been stuck for here for daze; roads flooded; can’t get out.”

      Storm back over water, and meteorologist just declared it’s strengthing.
      Memphis, maybe 4+ inches coming Thursday.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  August 29, 2017

        Storm only ~100 miles from where it was on Friday at first (and second) landfall.

        Climate change; anchor person asks if it’s a cause.
        Meteorologist says, “…however it’s safe to say , warmer air, more vapor.
        Air temps have gone up since 1900; water temps up since 1950.”

        He wouldn’t commit but basically said, yes, it’s a factor.

        Rescuer from Louisiana; “they come for us; we come for them.”

        Reply
        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          ‘Cajun Navy brings boats from Louisiana to help flood-ravaged Houston’
          1:52 AM ET, Tue August 29, 2017

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/us/harvey-cajun-navy/index.html

          “The boat turned onto a Houston waterway that used to be a street, and the three volunteers from Louisiana’s Cajun Navy saw what they first thought was debris, caught in the rapid current of rushing floodwaters.
          They quickly realized that what they were looking at was a person, an elderly woman, floating face down as the current swept her away.
          “Donnie jumped from the vessel (and) brought her up out of the water,” Cajun Navy volunteer Joshua Lincoln told CNN’s John Berman on “AC 360” Monday night.

          “Ricky was manning the boat. He jumped in immediately also. I was at the front of the boat, leaving us in a serious current with nobody manning the motor in the back,” Lincoln said, referring to his colleagues by their first names only. The New Orleans Times-Picayune identified them as Donnie Davenport and Ricky Berrigan.
          “So they quickly grabbed her, started to resuscitate her, and were able to get her to breathing slowly, and then we were able to control the boat. We got her back to safety, and that’s that.”

          The rescue of the Houston woman on Monday was one of several credited to volunteers from the Cajun Navy, a grassroots citizens’ organization that came together in the aftermath of another hurricane in another state more than a decade ago.
          In the devastation and deep water left by Hurricane Katrina, Louisianans took to their boats to help each other, and the Cajun Navy was born. Now, they are helping their Texas neighbors.

          A flotilla of some 20 boats, hauled on trucks and trailers, came to Houston over the weekend to join the rescue effort, according to Cajun Navy organizer Clyde Cain.
          “We started deploying people (Monday) morning at 3 a.m.,” Cain told CNN. “Our goal is to help people get out if they are trapped in their homes or apartments, get them to safety.”

          …with Harvey, now a drenching tropical storm, heading toward Louisiana, there is the looming possibility the Cajun Navy might be needed back in its home state.
          Lincoln explained their presence in Houston in personal terms of getting help, then giving it in return.

          “In my life I’ve been through a lot of storms including Katrina,” he said. “Seeing how people in Texas responded and helped us in a disaster kind of tugged at my heart. My house was flooded and I lost all kinds of things during Katrina.”

          When he heard about the disastrous situation in Houston and the people desperate for aid and assistance, he decided, “I’m not going to work. I’m just going to head that way and meet up with somebody and do what I can do. That’s what every man in the Cajun Navy has done, (every) man and woman.”

          Lincoln said the elderly woman pulled from Houston’s waters was “doing fine” Monday night and was reunited with relatives.
          “We found three family members — the family members thought she was safe at a high ground, (at) a school. They were misinformed. A gentleman through the Cajun Navy in Baton Rouge was able to locate the relatives and have them get back over to her.””

    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      ‘Tropical Storm Harvey Brings Flood, Tornado Threats to Louisiana, Including Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans’
      Aug 28 2017 11:00 PM EDT

      https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-harvey-louisiana-forecast-new-orleans-baton-rouge-lake-charles

      “Tropical Storm Harvey will continue to soak much of Louisiana into midweek, raising the risk of additional flooding, while also spawning a few tornadoes.

      Localized street flooding has already occurred in the state since Sunday from Harvey’s bands of rain sweeping across the lower Mississippi Valley. One location southwest of Lake Charles has seen almost 10 inches of rain as of Monday evening, and another location southeast of Hackberry has picked up over 12 inches….

      The National Weather Service has posted flash flood watches for all of southern Louisiana through Thursday.

      Rainfall totals of 5 inches or more are possible throughout southern Louisiana. The heaviest totals are expected to be in southwest Louisiana where as much as 15 to 20 inches of rain are not out of the question.

      Although the flood threat is the greatest concern, a tropical storm warning has also been issued for the southwest Louisiana coast.”

      Reply
      • wpNSAlito

         /  August 29, 2017

        Some things are better. In the 1927 flood blacks were forced by white officials to work to repair levees:

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Addicks to overflow today thru the 31st, according to live report right now.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “Nobody wants Superdome 2.0.”

      Discussion of future re: refugees.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Reports of looter arrests.
      Ft. Bend, reports of ooters pretending to be rescuers.

      Reply
  4. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Fox 26 Houston Live Local News – Hurricane Harvey – Houston Flooding Live Stream’

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      Rescue boats being launched from on-ramps/off-ramps. Waters over freeways.

      Reply
  5. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘LIVE VIDEO: Evacuations underway as water released from levees’

    http://www.khou.com/weather/houston-weather-forecast/62951506

    Reply
  6. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    Reply
  7. Sheri

     /  August 29, 2017

    Thank you again for your response.

    I think Phoenix may have broken the record for the most 110 degree days this summer. We’ve had terrible heat the last 2 months.

    Sheri

    Reply
    • Thanks Sheri. It’s flood on one side, heat and drought and fire on the other. Joe Romm promised hell and high water. Well, we’ve got a little taste of that this year.

      Reply
  8. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    FM 159 closed between Millican and Navasota due to damage from breached dam.

    BRAZOS COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) – 9:00 p.m. update – FM 159 is now closed between Millican and Highway 105 near Navasota due to damage on the road following the breach of the dam. It may not be repaired until Tuesday.
    ========================

    A breach of the Clifty Creek Lake Dam near FM 159 is sending more water down stream.

    Brazos County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Transportation is currently on scene assessing the situation. Officials on the scene tell KBTX there aren’t any homes being threatened at the moment.

    Crews on the scene tell KBTX that FM 159 might have been damaged by the initial dam burst and that trees were knocked down.

    Officials say that if you leave near Barbara T Ranch and FM 159, you should monitor the creek for rising water. If you feel you need to be evacuated or are having an immediate emergency contact 911.

    They are also asking motorists to avoid FM 159 area.

    http://www.kbtx.com/content/news/Breached-dam-threatening-homes-off-FM-159-442020823.html

    Reply
  9. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017
    Reply
  10. utoutback

     /  August 29, 2017

    Cognitive bias is an unfortunate human psychological characteristic; such as confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, denial, etc.
    With the poles melting, massive forest fires, increasingly extreme rain events, droughts, crop failures…. and the now inevitable climate/flood refugees…..
    It must be getting awfully difficult to maintain the denial stance.
    And, it’s getting pretty late in the game.
    It will be interesting to see how the Repugs deal with disaster funding for yet another “red state” mess. They didn’t want to send money to the Northeast after Sandy, but now it’s “their people”.
    Hummm?

    Reply
    • Exactly. I wonder if tit for tat is still seen as the most optimal social response.

      FWIW, the destruction of Houston via ‘act of God’ would serve the greater good. It is ground zero for the petroleum industry in the petroleum industry’s state. With the refineries damaged or destroyed, it would force serious conservation and maybe hold GHG levels down a bit.

      Hitting rock bottom is always hard.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  August 29, 2017

        Refineries seemed to weather storm ok, from reports earlier today.

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “It must be getting awfully difficult to maintain the denial stance.”

      Bingo.

      “And, it’s getting pretty late in the game.”

      The game’s barely begun and we ain’t even batted yet.
      We’ll win; play hard and play together; cannot lose: not an option.

      Reply
  11. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    Recorded is tracking forecast on this river. Looks like the peak will be around 59 ft.

    Those 1st responders must be dead tired by now.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this Andy. Found a reference and added above.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “Those 1st responders must be dead tired by now.”

      Some are; some have been going for daze now.

      Those good ole boys I saw out on the overpass after rescuing over 100 people from a hospital below, whom they’d found by going around and calling out, looking for folks that needed evac, those fellas didn’t seem tired. They were pumped, ready to get the boat back in the water, continue searching and on to the next rescue.

      In crisis, adrenelin, etc gets going; energy seems to come from nowhere; surprising how little tired one gets, when fully engaged in that sort of circumstance.

      Reply
    • 29°36’10.92″ N 95°36’18.27″ W Google earth for Brazos River many neighborhoods dense surrounding

      Reply
  12. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ”Flash flood alley:’ Colorado River jumps banks, floods central Texas towns’
    3 hrs ago

    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/weather/2017/08/28/flash-flood-alley-colorado-river-jumps-banks-floods-central-texas-towns

    The Colorado River jumped its banks Monday, after rising to near-record levels and dumping massive amounts of water into the small Texas towns that line its banks.

    Parts of Central Texas are called “flash flood alley” for a reason. High rain, steep terrain and shallow soil combine, the ideal equation for quickly-forming, fast-moving floods. In the last century, storms have deluged the dozens of tiny communities that dot the riverbanks here dozens of times.

    But Tropical Storm Harvey was unlike anything anyone has seen in more than a hundred years.

    “It never had been this bad in Fayette County. We done got some floods, but never at this level. Never,” Kevin “Fishbone” Henderson, 44, told The Dallas Morning News. “My neighbor’s trailer is underwater. My trailer is about to be underwater.”

    “Some of these crests are higher than they’ve been in 100 years,” Clara Tuma, spokesperson for the Lower Colorado River Authority, said. “And in some places, longer than that.”

    The last time the Colorado River reached these heights in Smithville, about an hour south of Austin, was almost 20 years ago, when 25 people were killed in massive flooding. In Bastrop, the river topped flood levels by nearly 3 feet on Monday.

    But La Grange got it the worst. The town — beloved for its annual Fayette County Fair, immortalized by the eponymous ZZ Top song and whose Chicken Ranch inspired The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas — nearly saw its beautiful Main Street swept away by the river.

    The flooding came within two blocks of La Grange’s town square, drowning several homes and businesses. It stopped at North Water Street.

    The last time the river crested this high in La Grange was in 1913, when the Colorado topped 56 feet. On Monday, that record was missed by about 24 inches.

    “When they said it was going to be 48 [feet] or some damn thing, I thought, ‘This has got to be joke,'” Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka told The News. “This is a 100-year storm, basically, is what it amounts to. I’ve been through five of them, and this is the worst one.

    Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who represents a large swath of central Texas, said there’s a “cumulative stress” that comes with living in a region that’s constantly ravaged by wildfires, flood and other disasters. Smithville, one county commissioner jokes, is “the mecca of natural disasters.”

    “There is this strong sense of community that comes out of it and strong sense of almost familial love,” Watson said. Communal loss like this builds “a feeling of resilience that is hard to describe,” he added. “It’s humanity in its purest form.”

    “But it’s a stressful thing to go through this time and time again.”

    Reply
    • Paul

       /  August 29, 2017

      Been through 5 100 year storms?
      They’re going to have to recalibrate.

      Reply
      • wpNSAlito

         /  August 29, 2017

        Which entity defines 100/500 year floods?

        Reply
        • eleggua

           /  August 29, 2017

          Last night some ‘expert’ – cannot recall who/where – declared it an “800 year event”.
          This morn, someone else labeled it a “1000 year event”.

          Those time definitions distract from the “now” of climate change. Those numbers no longer matter.

        • Jim Cantori.

        • There’s a specific probability distribution definition. It’s pretty clear that those definitions are changing. Problem is, these definitions are based on past history, primarily. So they’ll only change in hindsight.

        • eleggua

           /  August 30, 2017

          Weather Channel hurricane guy.

          The timeline on hindsight will shorten in some proportion to the increasing frequency of mega-events, too.

  13. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    La Grange

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      ‘More than 500 homes underwater in La Grange’
      Posted: Aug 28 2017 10:41PM CDT
      Updated: Aug 28 2017 11:07PM CDT

      http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/277005657-story

      One of the hardest hits from Harvey in Central Texas was in Fayette County where hundreds of homes were underwater as the Colorado hit major flooding levels.

      The Colorado River in La Grange crested at just over 54-feet Monday afternoon – making it the worst flooding the town has seen more than a century. Sky fox drone got a first look at the massive flooding as the river broke it’s banks submerging more than 500 homes, partially flooding many other homes and businesses. Sherri Cervantez has lived in La Grange her whole life, “I never thought I would live to see or witness flooding like this where people lost their homes.” Cervantes and her son Joshua were two of many who made their way to Water Street about a 1/2 block away from Town Square, “Worst I’ve ever seen La Grange take a hit like that,” Joshua said.

      Furniture could be seen floating down the river, animals were trying to escape the raging water, people watched as homes were literally taken by the river, “He watched an 80-foot trailer go down and he’s probably said it’s going to end up in Matagorda.”

      Highway 71 the road you would normally take to get to La Grange from Austin was closed in both directions as the highway has became part of the Colorado River.

      Residents were quick to find light in the time of darkness. Jimmy Dwigans, lives in La Grange, “It will bring everybody together for sure that’s one good thing,” he said.

      They were also getting prepared to help those that have lost everything. “This community is a good community to be in, we are helpful. We are all going to help them and do the best we can to help them out,” Joshua said

      The Colorado River was finally trending down Monday night, but the National Weather Services said it wouldn’t be below flood stage until Thursday afternoon that week.

      Reply
  14. The 3 hour precipitation indicator on Earth Null School is starting to intensify over Houston & Galveston. I have a feeling things are going to be beyond anything comparable in the next couple days.

    Reply
  15. wili

     /  August 29, 2017

    If I get any more hat tips, I’ll have to open a millinery! ‘-)

    But really thanks to rs and to all for sharing obsessions with this unfolding nightmare. I’m gonna post this and then go to sleep:

    Forian Times just posted this on Cat6: “The meteorologist for Harris County Flood Control is being interviewed on KHOU right now. He related that COE said there would be uncontrolled flow over the north Addicks spillway beginning tomorrow morning.”

    So lots of conflicting info going around. But basically, if uncontrolled spill hasn’t already started, it will start soon. As I understand it, this is kind of a last ditch effort to avoid having the thing overtop, which would likely be disastrous. But as we saw recently in CA, it carries its own risks.

    Scary times. Wishing all well. And good night.

    Reply
  16. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Recently repaired pump fails during latest storm in New Orleans’
    Updated: 7:43 PM CDT Aug 28, 2017

    http://www.wdsu.com/article/recently-repaired-pump-fails-during-latest-storm-in-new-orleans/12108255

    “Mayor Mitch Landrieu said a recently repaired pump that is part of the city’s intricate drainage system failed Monday during heavy rains from Tropical Storm Harvey that are spreading into the state.

    Landrieu said most of the Sewerage and Water Board’s pumps were working, and the city is continuing efforts to improve the pumping system. Monday’s pump failure underscores the possible flood threat to the city as Harvey continues to dump rain across the region while remaining in the area of Texas where it first made landfall.

    Some streets in New Orleans flooded Monday as a rainband dumped between 2-4 inches of rain. But there were no immediate reports of flooded buildings.

    Earlier this month, heavy rains caused widespread flooding in New Orleans and revealed that the city’s pump and drainage system wasn’t operating at full capacity.

    City officials have been holding news conferences ahead of Harvey and after the storm made landfall in Texas. City leaders are concerned that the city’s pumping system cannot handle significant rainfall.”

    Reply
  17. wili

     /  August 29, 2017

    omg

    Reply
  18. 29°46’21.54″ N 95°37’34.00″ W on Google earth… house upon house. many dry pictures of area.

    Reply
  19. wili

     /  August 29, 2017

    Addicks now: 106.88′ (1:20 am central time)

    Lord, I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

    Reply
  20. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘Why Harvey will hit Hoosiers in the wallet’
    Aug. 28, 2017

    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2017/08/28/harvey-hit-hoosiers-wallet-economist-says/607891001/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

    “A Ball State University economist expects Hoosiers will have to pay more for gas, natural gas and building supplies in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

    Texas Gulf Coast refineries have shuttered, and once the floodwaters recede, vast reconstruction from the catastrophic storm will boost demand for drywall, lumber, plumbing, electrical supplies and other materials, said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State.

    “If you have a home-improvement project you wanted to start on, go buy your stuff right now,” Hicks said….”

    Reply
  21. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘How farmers convinced scientists to take climate change seriously’
    ‘Rural Americans once led the fight to link extreme weather like Hurricane Harvey and human activity. What changed?’
    By Justin McBrien August 27
    Justin McBrien is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Virginia. He is currently completing his dissertation on the historical relationship between climate change, nuclear weapons and the concept of the Anthropocene.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/08/27/how-farmers-convinced-scientists-to-take-climate-change-seriously/

    The path of Harvey’s destruction cut through some of the rural communities least likely to believe in human-caused climate change. But not long ago, these very same rural communities contained the most fervent believers of the link between human activity and extreme weather. What happened?

    Scientists have long struggled to understand the complex relationship between extreme weather, climate change and human activity. But in the 1950s, rural communities across the country demanded they do just that.

    Their concern, however, was not the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. It was the effects of atmospheric testing of atomic weapons. Over the course of the 1950s, thousands of letters deluged government offices accusing them of ignoring the possibility of “atom weather.” Worried citizens feared the explosions were triggering torrential rains and hailstorms, intensifying hurricanes and tornados, prolonging one of the worst droughts in American history, even altering the earth’s radiation balance and changing the global climate.

    Almost immediately after the U.S. started atmospheric nuclear testing on the continent in 1951, farmers began to blame the bombs for triggering unseasonable cold snaps and hailstorms that damaged their crops. In March 1952, Golconda, Nev., became the first of many towns to petition the government to cease testing because of atom weather.

    The controversy hit front pages nationwide in June of 1953 when one of the most lethal tornado outbreaks in history smashed into Flint, Mich., and Worcester, Mass, right on the heels of the spring nuclear test series. This outbreak capped an especially deadly season that saw an F-5 tornado in Waco, Tex., kill 114 people in a single day. A Gallup survey two weeks later indicated that nearly a third of the public believed that the testing had caused the outbreak, with another third unsure. Congressmen pressed the White House for answers, dragging all branches of the military, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission and Weather Bureau, to testify in hearings.

    The Worcester tornado was a wake-up call. It launched a national debate over the power of new technologies and their culpability in natural disasters. It also suggested that the earth was perhaps not as resilient to human activity as scientists had previously believed. People started pondering whether humanity had become more powerful than even the greatest forces of nature.

    In the early 1950s, meteorologists working with the Atomic Energy Commission had dismissed these claims, arguing that the bomb was “puny” when held up to even a regular thunderstorm, much less a hurricane. As the Weather Bureau Chief quipped, the weather was “usually unusual.”

    But after the tornado, the Weather Bureau finally took public hysteria seriously and directed their scientists to investigate the issue. In 1955, they published a series of reports that all reached the same agnostic conclusion — it was “unlikely” the bomb could affect the weather, much less climate. But no one could know for sure.

    Farmers responded with outrage over their inability to prevent the AEC from risking environmental catastrophe. Local farmers’ collectives such as the Cherry Growers Association of Beaumont, Calif., began to fund their own studies. And it was not just organizations that produced studies. Individuals — from a sportsman in rural Pennsylvania to a high school student in suburban Pasadena — became citizen-scientists, concerned about climate change and its consequences on their lives.

    By the end of the decade, the farmers had won the war of public opinion. City-dwellers were just as likely as rural folk to believe in “atom weather.”

    What effects the bomb may have had on the weather remained a mystery. When atmospheric nuclear weapons testing ended in 1963, so too did public fixation on anthropogenic extreme weather.

    Just when the public forgot about the issue, the very scientists who had previously denied its possibility became obsessed with it. By the end of the decade, these scientists were writing articles about “inadvertent weather and climate modification” by industrial pollutants like greenhouse gases, CFCs and aerosols.

    In the late 1970s, a scientific consensus emerged that Americans were on the “brink of a pronounced global warming” due to their use of fossil fuels. These conclusions could not have come at a worse time for those who hoped to address the problem. The country was reeling from stagflation, oil shocks, rapid de-industrialization and several deep recessions. An economy of scarcity allowed politicians to argue that the choice between jobs and the environment was a zero-sum game.

    With the dawn of the conservative Reagan administration in 1981, companies no longer feared new regulations. Exxon, a leader in human-caused climate change research during the 1970s, now became a leader in casting doubt on its very existence. The oil company knew that some day acknowledging the material impacts of climate change would be unavoidable — unless one could make people doubt that any “fact” could ever be factual at all.

    When faith in the New Deal collapsed, so too did faith in the scientific experts who staffed its agencies. In the 1980s, scientists became public enemy number one for the newly ascendent conservative coalition. Executives, evangelicals and neoconservatives all took issues with scientific consensus — they battled over everything from BPA levels and anti-ballistic missile systems to elementary school textbooks and what constituted a vegetable.

    By the time NASA scientist Jim Hansen testified before Congress in 1988 that the “greenhouse effect is here,” the political environment had become toxic. Exxon and its ilk had successfully painted scientists as out of touch elitists, ignorant of the everyday needs of red-blooded Americans. Scientific debates no longer had anything to do with science at all — science had become just another word for “culture.” The conservatives’ success was astonishing — in the early 2000s, this coalition of the doubtful prevented the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

    Then Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and with it, speculations about human-caused extreme weather reentered popular discourse. Katrina galvanized a new generation of “climate justice” activists who began to use specific examples of extreme weather to persuade the public of the direct impact of climate change on their lives, and to unmask the racial and economic inequity that undergirded climate vulnerabilities.

    Climate scientists, however, remained conservative about the connection. Public confusion over the difference between weather and climate gave deniers an opening to “prove” their own case using weather events, like when Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) infamously brandished a snowball on the Senate floor (in February) as “evidence” that climate change was a hoax.

    But heat waves cannot be explained away by changing terminologies. And propaganda, no matter how well-funded, can never stop a storm surge. Sen. Inhofe can drag Frosty the Snowman down to the Senate floor and that won’t change.

    The farce of climate denial is also its tragedy. It is particularly tragic that people who had once warned the world of the potential catastrophic effects of human influence on the atmosphere are now the ones helping to ensure the actual catastrophic results of this influence continue unabated.

    While no individual weather event, including Harvey, can be directly attributed to climate change, models are now capable of showing how climate change can exacerbate storm surges. Instead of picking apart every individual event, we should remember how the science of anthropogenic climate change been refined over a half-century of research and debate, and that, if anything, scientists have long been far too conservative in their predictions and timelines.

    The history of “atom weather” reveals how a belief in human-caused climate change once cut across ideological lines. There is no reason this cannot happen again.

    In fact, we must hope this can happen again, before hurricanes like Harvey become so commonplace they warrant no discussion at all — just the silence of resignation and regret.”

    Reply
  22. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    In Russian politics, Kompromat (short for компрометирующий материал, literally “compromising material”) is compromising materials about a politician or other public figure used to create negative publicity, for blackmail, or for ensuring loyalty.

    ‘Trump declines to say Russia is a security threat
    August 28, 2017

    “President Donald Trump declined Monday to tag Russia as a security threat, saying he would put “many countries” in that category instead.

    “I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what’s going on in the world today,” Trump said after a Finnish broadcaster asked specifically about Russia and whether the president would consider it a threat to security.

    Trump’s response was in keeping with a general reluctance to take a tough line against Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies say interfered in last year’s presidential election to try to benefit Trump. The Justice Department and congressional committees are investigating possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian government officials….

    … “Finland is respected by Russia. Finland has been free of Russia, really — just about one of the few countries in the region that has been — for 100 years,” Trump said. The Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939.

    “And Russia has a lot of respect for Finland, so that’s always good,” Trump continued. “But I think Finland is doing fine with Russia, and I hope that the United States will someday be able to have a very good relationship with Russia also.”

    “I think that’s very good for world peace and for other things,” Trump added.”

    Reply
  23. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    ‘ Week 14: The Trump Dossier Resurfaces
    And with it come still unanswered questions about who paid for the dirt and why.’
    By JACK SHAFER August 26, 2017

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/26/trump-russia-dossier-manafort-swamp-diary-215542

    “…The dossier, reportedly commissioned in September 2015 by a Republican and then bought like a used car by a Democrat in the summer of 2016 after Trump destroyed the other Republican contestants for president, lies at the origin of what we call the no-name scandal. Shared with the government and top journalists, the dossier was first teased into public view by Mother Jones’ David Corn in late October after multiple outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News and the New Yorker, viewed it but did not go with it because they could not confirm all of its claims. Sen. John McCain passed it to then-FBI Director James Comey in December, and it was finally published by BuzzFeed in January before the inauguration. Written by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the dossier asserted that the Russian government had cultivated Trump for several years, garnering compromising information about him in the process. Some of the dossier’s claims have been verified, others disproved. Steele himself has said the package itself needs additional verification and has told the FBI the names of his sources.

    Trump has called the dossier a fabrication, but from this founding document the no-name scandal has spread to encompass its own universe of subterfuge and stealth. In the words of the official U.S. intelligence report on the Russian influence campaign in the 2016 campaign, published in January, Moscow followed a “messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls.’”

    When digesting the no-name scandal, it’s only rational that we might suffer a little heartburn as the conflicting information passes through our mental gullets. If the Russians so favored Trump that they (allegedly) pinched and released emails that damaged his opponent, Clinton, and fed the disinformation machine with stories that helped his campaign, why would it also assemble kompromat on him that might be discovered by the press and backfire on them, crippling their purported “asset”? Why stage such a visible operation as the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a gaggle of suspicious Russians and top Trump aides Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. if the Russian intention was to keep its effort on the down low? As one observer has noted, the Trump Tower meeting was so public it looks like it was meant to be discovered. If the Russians are such wizards, why did they leave such obvious crumbs all over the email hacks that led U.S. investigators back to them?

    If the Russian operations don’t add up to a single rational number, that’s to be expected. The Russian playbook teaches its operatives to “create so much confusion and uncertainty and mystery that no one knows what the truth is,” British journalist Ben Macintyre told novelist John le Carré in a recent conversation. “It’s called maskirovka—little masquerade.”…”

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “‘He has told family and friends he knows he and POTUS are going to prison,’”

      “For several weeks there have been rumours that Sater is ready to rat again, agreeing to help Mueller. ‘He has told family and friends he knows he and POTUS are going to prison,’ someone talking to Mueller’s investigators informed me. Sater himself added fuel to this fire when he told New York magazine: ‘In about the next 30 to 35 days, I will be the most colourful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.’”

      Full article.

      https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/08/forget-charlottesville-russia-is-still-the-true-trump-scandal/

      Reply
  24. Suzanne

     /  August 29, 2017

    An April 2017 lecture..”How do Hurricanes Respond to Climate Change?” Dr. Kerry Emanuel

    Reply
  25. Reply
  26. Barbara Burnett

     /  August 29, 2017

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41081629

    Houston flood: Addicks dam begins overspilling
    8 minutes ago

    A major dam outside Houston has begun overspilling as Storm Harvey pushes the reservoir past capacity, a Texas official says.
    Engineers have tried to prevent nearby communities from being inundated by releasing some of the water held by the Addicks dam.
    But flood control official Jeff Lindner says water levels are now over the height of the reservoir edge.
    Harvey has brought huge floods to Texas and is starting to affect Louisiana.
    Unprecendented rainfall has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. At least nine people are reported to have died in the Houston area.
    While spillover would not cause the Addicks dam to fail, it would add more water to the Buffalo Bayou, the main river into the fourth largest city in the US.

    Reply
  27. Barbara Burnett

     /  August 29, 2017

    The chatter on Cat6 at wunderground.com is terrifying:

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/harvey-moves-back-over-water-historic-rainfall-will-continue

    Robert • 6 minutes ago
    Guys i cannot keep up…. They are painting a Very Grim picture right now…

    Robert • 8 minutes ago
    They Said Barker monitoring sensor is damaged and no longer working as of yesterday Addicks Gauge will also be lost they are pretty certain..
    3
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Robert • 10 minutes ago
    They are also talking about Subs on the opposite side Barker that may need to be evacuated… They have never had to deal with this before and they do not know what to expect..
    5
    •Reply•Share ›
    One other person is typing…Show 1 new reply
    Avatar
    Robert • 12 minutes ago
    Listening Live on KHOU regarding Addicks.. They are now naming Subdivisions that are going to be flooded.

    Charles Wachal • 12 minutes ago
    Why is the Army Corp of Engineers watching their words so much instead of saying they are expecting home flooding.
    2
    •Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    Chris Farmer Charles Wachal • 6 minutes ago
    They don’t want panic to ensue. What can they do at this point? How could you even begin to evacuate evacuation centers in the path of any potential dam failure?

    Reply
    • wili

       /  August 29, 2017

      Yes, chilling. Reminds me of…

      “They have taken the bridge…
      We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark.
      We cannot get out.
      They are coming!…”

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  August 29, 2017

      “They don’t want panic to ensue”

      People are too battered from daze of rain and flood, trapped wherever they may be, to be “panic sticken”.
      “Terrified” is the word hearing over and over again, spoken by rescuees. They’re worn thin; panic is not an option.

      Reply
  28. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    12th anniversary of the levee failures, Katrina, New Orleans.

    http://abc7.com/weather/12-years-later-photos-of-hurricane-katrina/2353745/

    “August 29 marks the anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans.

    The powerful hurricane hit Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005. It forced a storm surge that breached a system of levees built to protect New Orleans.

    The storm would go on to cause significant damage to the Gulf Coast from Texas to central Florida. It would ravage New Orleans while displacing countless residents.

    This year the anniversary comes just days after Hurricane Harvey became the strongest storm to hit Texas in decades, leaving behind historic flooding in Houston. See photos of the 2005 storm in the gallery above.”

    Reply
  29. eleggua

     /  August 29, 2017

    Houston Traffic Webcams. Many choices from all over Houston, Galveston Ferry,
    http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/cctv/transtar/by_roadway.aspx

    Select between ‘Freeways’, ‘Streets’, ‘Ferry’, etc.
    Select a specific area in one of those categories from the submenu that will appear.
    Use your up and down arrows to scroll through cameras in the selection box on the left.

    Here’s I-10 East, flooding visible on just about every cam.
    http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/cctv/txdot/txdot_regional_cameras.aspx?rd=IH-10_East

    Reply
  30. wili

     /  August 29, 2017

    per cnn…levees now breached south of Houston

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/us/texas-harvey-latest/%5Dhttp://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/us/texas-harvey-latest/

    The levee at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County have been breached. Brazoria County is just south of Houston.

    The county’s official Twitter account sent this message: “GET OUT NOW!!”

    Reply
  31. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    Addicks overspilling

    Reply
  32. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    Reply
  33. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    Levee @ Columbia Lakes breached. Emergency Evac. now.

    Reply
  34. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 29, 2017

    For anyone /everyone looking for river info in the region.

    http://www.weather.gov/wgrfc/

    Reply
  35. As the rain falls in the U S, the trees continue to burn in B C . Destroying the record books with dozens of out of control fires still raging …http://globalnews.ca/news/3585284/b-c-wildfires-map-2017-current-location-of-wildfires-around-the-province/ . Vancouver B C 17 degrees and clear skies . Rain in B C has been so scarce , Best thoughts to all species affected by these events that will become more and more frequent .

    Reply
  1. Orkaan Harvey – De Geobronnen
  2. About Harvey | All things environmental

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