Houston isn't out of the woods yet as Harvey is poised to drop more rain between now and the end of the week. Two crucial dams that are supposed to assist Houston with flood control are needing to be opened periodically as the water levels behind them are threatening to breach the dams. Water was released early Monday from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs however they both were letting water out slower than water was coming in meaning future releases may be necessary. Some parts of Houston have already seen upwards of 40" of rain, and according to The Weather Channel is estimating that rain accumulation may surpass 50" by the time the remnants of Hurricane Harvey move offshore.
Houston, which is the 4th most populous city in America, is prone to flooding due to its low lying topography, with the highest point only 50 feet over sea level with not much elevation change through out most of the city. This leads to the pooling and build up of water from torrential rains that are slow to drain out of the Houston area. As Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coast at the end of last week and communities began to evacuate along the coast, there was no call for Houston to evacuate, voluntarily or otherwise. There will continue to be much debate over whether or not Houston should of been evacuated.
The last time Houston was under an evacuation order was ahead of Hurricane Rita in 2005. Hurricane Rita came ashore much weaker and further east than anticipated and not nearly with the force that was expected. However, that evacuation order created gridlock through out the city and most of the 100 deaths were related to heat stroke and dehydration and were not storm related.
To evacuate or to not evacuate is of little matter now as Houston residents continue to see water rise. Many residents are taking to social media to request help after failing to get through to the Coast Guard and 911 operators or are left feeling that their calls to local emergency officials are going unanswered. Both local officials and the Coast Guard are waring residents that posting on social media is not likely to lead to their rescue and they need to dial the Coast Guard or 911 directly.
As the need for assistance continues to rise with the rising water local groups and individuals are mobilizing to help in Houston. Local boaters are putting boats in the water to help those in need. CNN Reporter, Doug Criss came across two men putting their boat in the water on flooded highway heading to assist in the rescue efforts.
The Louisiana "Cajun Navy," has been organizing and sending members and volunteers from Louisiana and surrounding areas to assist with boat rescues. The "Cajun Navy" is an online grassroots movement that arose after Hurricane Katrina to assist others in need during large scale floods. The group has no actual head count of members. Even as officials tried earlier this year to get members to register and get training, the "Cajun Navy," is really motivated citizens with access to boats that help neighbors in need. Utilizing an app called Zello, which as a walkie talkie of sorts, officials and volunteers are working hand in hand in a chaotic situation to help rescue those who are in need.
Tonight, rescue efforts will continue with efforts from both good Samaritans as well as local, state, and national agencies. As crews work into the night they encourage those who are still in need of rescue to hang sheets out their windows to signal rescuers. Col Steven Metze, public affairs officer, Texas military department, told CNN: "The men and women of the Texas military are working round the clock and they’re going to keep working. We’ve got to plan to keep it going 24/7. We’re still getting plenty of calls … those have not slowed down, so I know we still have a lot of work to do. The biggest issue right now is just time: getting to everyone we need to reach."