Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

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Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#1 Postby Houstonia » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:01 pm

http://www.houstonpress.com/2012-07-19/news/addicks-barker-dams/

...the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the dams, [...] located near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Beltway 8, slapped Addicks and Barker with an "extremely high risk of catastrophic failure" label. The dams are currently two of the country's six most dangerous, according to the Corps.
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#2 Postby JenBayles » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:41 am

Great article Houstonia. Thanks for posting. Since I'm right next to the northern reaches of Addicks Reservoir I pay close attention to what's happening with both Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. The dams will certainly fail one day. That's the nature of any man-made structure. It all boils down to Congress funding the repairs. I wouldn't count on funding any time soon. The country is broke. FEMA and NFIP are also broke so I wouldn't count on help cleaning up after a dam failure either.

The way Harris County gets around permitting new building in the upstream "sponge" of the ever-shrinking Katy Prairie is to require the building of retention ponds. Riiiight. That's going to help.

I figure it's up to me to stay informed and prepared to evacuate with as many assets as possible if the worst happens. Those who wait on government to tell them what to do or bail them out stand a good chance of losing everything - including their lives. That applies to any disaster, not just an Addicks/ Barker dam failure.

And now for my broken-record PSA: If you live in southeast Texas, you're a fool if you don't purchase flood insurance! Most structures are not in flood zones and coverage is very inexpensive. Read the fine print: you need more coverage than you think for both the structure and your possessions.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#3 Postby vbhoutex » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:42 pm

Yikes!! I do think the article is slightly inaccurate in some areas, mainly due to some "minor" repairs that have been done since the 2009 event. As far as I know they have filled the voids around the pipes with some sort of silica material which should help a lot. However, long story short the article isn't putting out a lot of misinformation and that is what makes it scary. Some of it seems sensational to me, but we really do have a problem that needs addressing and the answer to that is FUNDING. Good luck on that in this economy. I fear we may have to wait for that till there is a major problem caused by one of the reservoirs partially failing or something like that. NOT a good thought!!
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#4 Postby Alyono » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:17 pm

they probably would have failed had the round of flooding that hit Beaumont hit Houston as initially forecast. We would have had an additional 25 inches in a few hours on top of the 30 to 50 that the city received over the previous 3 days

A Claudette over the dams also would probably cause at least an overtopping if not a failure. I'd be surprised if the dams could withstand 40+ inches in 24 hours
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#5 Postby Alyono » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:56 pm

One other thing, the worst case in that article is NOT the worst case. We nearly had THE worst case during Harvey. People would not have been able to evacuate as the roads were under water. We could add at least one zero to the worst case death toll
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#6 Postby Alyono » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:35 pm

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinio ... 243517.php

This is another good article on what would have happened. As I said earlier, had the dams have failed, due to the fact that evacuations would have been impossible as the areas along Buffalo Bayou would have been flooded, add at least a 0 to the 7,000 projected deaths from a dam failure
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#7 Postby vbhoutex » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:24 am

Alyono wrote:https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Dam-failure-would-doom-Houston-to-a-week-of-12243517.php

This is another good article on what would have happened. As I said earlier, had the dams have failed, due to the fact that evacuations would have been impossible as the areas along Buffalo Bayou would have been flooded, add at least a 0 to the 7,000 projected deaths from a dam failure

Sadly and scarily I and my wife would probably have been included in the 7,000+ mentioned in the article as we live about 2.5 miles East of the Addicks dam. As far as 7,000 being a low number, I am not sure only because I think some of it would depend on how fast and how big the breach was. If it happens and it is a sudden and catastrophic breach, yes that is definitely a low number because we are talking an inland tsunami full of debris sweeping East through some of the most heavily populated areas of Houston heading straight to downtown which is about 18 miles ESE of the Addicks dam.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#8 Postby Alyono » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:10 am

vbhoutex wrote:
Alyono wrote:https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Dam-failure-would-doom-Houston-to-a-week-of-12243517.php

This is another good article on what would have happened. As I said earlier, had the dams have failed, due to the fact that evacuations would have been impossible as the areas along Buffalo Bayou would have been flooded, add at least a 0 to the 7,000 projected deaths from a dam failure

Sadly and scarily I and my wife would probably have been included in the 7,000+ mentioned in the article as we live about 2.5 miles East of the Addicks dam. As far as 7,000 being a low number, I am not sure only because I think some of it would depend on how fast and how big the breach was. If it happens and it is a sudden and catastrophic breach, yes that is definitely a low number because we are talking an inland tsunami full of debris sweeping East through some of the most heavily populated areas of Houston heading straight to downtown which is about 18 miles ESE of the Addicks dam.


also depends upon if there is flooding already occurring. In Harvey, there was nowhere to evacuate as the roads were under water

I'd say the ultimate nightmare would be a Claudette dropping its near 4 feet of rain in one day over the reservoirs. Cannot see them surviving that
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#9 Postby jasons » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:17 pm

Alyono wrote:they probably would have failed had the round of flooding that hit Beaumont hit Houston as initially forecast. We would have had an additional 25 inches in a few hours on top of the 30 to 50 that the city received over the previous 3 days

A Claudette over the dams also would probably cause at least an overtopping if not a failure. I'd be surprised if the dams could withstand 40+ inches in 24 hours


This often gets lost or forgotten in most of the Harvery discussions. The vast majority of folks don't realize how lucky we got when Harvey made that unexpected eastward shift. If we had that additional round of rain over Houston as forecast, it would have been a disaster. It was so, so very close.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#10 Postby vbhoutex » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:31 am

jasons wrote:
Alyono wrote:they probably would have failed had the round of flooding that hit Beaumont hit Houston as initially forecast. We would have had an additional 25 inches in a few hours on top of the 30 to 50 that the city received over the previous 3 days

A Claudette over the dams also would probably cause at least an overtopping if not a failure. I'd be surprised if the dams could withstand 40+ inches in 24 hours


This often gets lost or forgotten in most of the Harvery discussions. The vast majority of folks don't realize how lucky we got when Harvey made that unexpected eastward shift. If we had that additional round of rain over Houston as forecast, it would have been a disaster. It was so, so very close.


So very close is a gross understatement if I do say so. If I get in discussions about it my one point to people who were flooded by the dam releases is "would you rather have seen several hundred homes flooded with minimal loss of life or thousands of homes destroyed and thousands of lives lost when the dam(s) breached?". There are a few that will try to argue the fact, but not many.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#11 Postby FunNestlé » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:30 pm

jasons wrote:This often gets lost or forgotten in most of the Harvery discussions. The vast majority of folks don't realize how lucky we got when Harvey made that unexpected eastward shift. If we had that additional round of rain over Houston as forecast, it would have been a disaster. It was so, so very close.


Not to mention the stronger impact of winds from the more direct landfall.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#12 Postby Alyono » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:31 pm

FunNestlé wrote:
jasons wrote:This often gets lost or forgotten in most of the Harvery discussions. The vast majority of folks don't realize how lucky we got when Harvey made that unexpected eastward shift. If we had that additional round of rain over Houston as forecast, it would have been a disaster. It was so, so very close.


Not to mention the stronger impact of winds from the more direct landfall.


would have had 40-45 mph winds had Harvey struck Galveston on its final landfall. Wind not as issue
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#13 Postby KatDaddy » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:58 am

What if TS Claudette 1979 dumped the 43" of rain in 24 hours that Alvin got occurred in NW Harris County? An epic Houston flood event would occur.
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#14 Postby Alyono » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:46 pm

KatDaddy wrote:What if TS Claudette 1979 dumped the 43" of rain in 24 hours that Alvin got occurred in NW Harris County? An epic Houston flood event would occur.


possibly the total destruction of Houston and many of the refiners along the ship channel
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Re: Houston: If the Addicks and Barker Dams Fail

#15 Postby srainhoutx » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:54 am

Alyono wrote:
possibly the total destruction of Houston and many of the refiners along the ship channel


Back in the day of my Fire Fighting career dating back to the 80's, the greatest concern of many table top exercises/training was a CAT 5 similar to the size of Carla making landfall near San Luis Pass regarding the total destruction of our Petrochemical Infrastructure as well as flooding from storm surge in Downtown Houston. That did not include fresh water flooding from any heavy rainfall inland.
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