Tag Archive for: Fred Flickinger

Lake Conroe Release Rate at 90% of Harvey

5/2/24 at 4:30 PM – The San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) is releasing water at the rate of 69,545 cubic feet per second (CFS from Lake Conroe. That’s down a couple thousand from the 71,835 they released earlier this afternoon, the second highest release rate ever – 90% of the all-time record of 79,000 CFS during Hurricane Harvey.

At that rate, NOAA predicted the San Jacinto West Fork at US59 would peak at 62.4 feet. Since then, they’ve reduced that back a bit to 62.2.

However, the level of Lake Conroe is still rising slightly. It stands at 205.13 MSL (mean feet above sea level) as of 4:30 PM.

And local leaders including Houston Mayor John Whitmire, State Rep. Charles Cunningham and City Council Member Fred Flickinger met in Kingwood to plan emergency response with first-responders.

More Rain on Way

The level of Lake Conroe is up significantly since this morning. And another rain storm is headed our way tonight. The National Weather Service predicts a 40% chance of more thunderstorms tonight. Anything that falls will be on top of almost 7 inches of rain received in the Kingwood area earlier today.

Flood watches and warnings remain in effect at the present time. Any new rain will fall onto already saturated soils, resulting in rapid runoff.

SJRA Pushing Up Against Limit

But the SJRA is running out of room. At 207, they flood Lake Conroe homes and endanger the dam, according to Mark Micheletti, an SJRA board member who lives in Kingwood.

Micheletti has demanded that SJRA operators throttle back releases as soon as they stabilize the Lake Conroe’s level. The SJRA hopes to keep a safety margin by not letting the lake level get above 206, but nature, not engineers will make that call.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty has many Kingwood people in panic mode wondering whether they should evacuate. I’ve been deluged (pardon the pun) with requests for information.

Whitmire Visits Kingwood to Plan Flood Response

Houston Mayor John Whitmire came to Kingwood this afternoon to meet with first responders and area leaders. He wanted to personally see the situation and assess what the area needs. He met with Fire Chief Samuel Peña, first responders, State Representative Charles Cunningham and City Council Member Fred Flickinger at Fire Station 102 on West Lake Houston Parkway.

CM Fred Flickinger (center) met with Mayor Whitmire (right), Chief Samuel Peña (left) and other first responders at Fire Station 102 this afternoon on West Lake Houston Parkway.

Peña emphasized the need for vehicles to stay out of high water. The fire department had already made numerous high water rescues today.

State Representative Charles Cunningham (left) also helped plan the emergency response.

At the meeting, Whitmire also said that he had discussed evacuation orders for certain subdivisions with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. After Harvey, “communication with residents” and “warning time” were identified as two of the primary things officials needed to improve.

Current East Fork Predictions and Evacuation Orders

According to Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner, the County has issued evacuation orders for the east side of the East Fork San Jacinto from FM1485 to Lake Houston. (Lake Houston Park is on the west side.) Forecasted water levels will rise 7-8 feet higher than earlier this week. Structures on the ground will be flooded to rooftop levels. Elevated structures will be flooded.

For reference, the forecasted East Fork water level is 3 ft below Harvey.

Impacted subdivisions: 
  • Idle Wilde
  • Idle Glen
  • Cypress Point
  • River Terrace
  • Magnolia Point
  • Northwood Country Estates

Current West Fork San Jacinto Predictions and Warnings

The West Fork is rapidly rising from upstream inflows. It will reach major flood levels and will rise to near 62 ft on Saturday. Widespread low-land flooding will occur impacting the following subdivisions:

  • Belleau Woods
  • Rivercrest
  • Northshore
  • Forest Cove
  • Kings Point
  • Atasocita Shores

In Kingwood, Lindner expects flooding of streets and the lowest structures nearest the river. He also predicts backwater impacts along the tributaries. That means high river levels could force water in channels and tributaries to back up.

The following areas will be completely flooded with several feet of water: Deerwood Country Club, Deer Ridge Park, and Kingwood Country Club.

Elevated residents near the river should be prepared to be cut-off through the weekend.

I have queried HCFCD about the list of subdivisions above. It seems incomplete. But I have not yet heard back.

San Jacinto River Below Lake Houston

Major flooding is expected at all locations along the lower portions of the river.

Rio Villa will be completely inundated and cut-off. 

High velocity flows may damage vessels and barges near I-10.

Flow may approach and potentially reach I-10 on the west side of the river.

Real Time Inundation Monitoring

To monitor what’s going on around you, Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner suggests using the Real-Time Inundation Mapping Tool found in the Harris County Flood Warning System. From the home page, just click “Inundation Map” in the upper left tool bar, then zoom into the area of interest.

As of 4:22 PM on 5/2/24. Note large areas already inundated.

Easy Way to Find the Elevation of Your Home

Don’t know the elevation of your home? Consult this post about how to find it in the USGS National Map.

More updates later. SJRA may issue another statement at 8PM.

Posted by Bob Rehak at 4:30 PM, Thursday, May 2, 2024

2438 Days since Hurricane Harvey

City Mobilizing for More West Fork Dredging

Mobilization for the next phase of San Jacinto West Fork dredging is underway. The City of Houston and its contractor DRC (a subsidiary of Callan Marine) are already staging equipment in two places on the West Fork.

The program, funded by FEMA, will remove an estimated 800,000 cubic yards of silt and sediment between the original location of the West Fork Mouth Bar and FM1960. The contractor will use primarily hydraulic dredging and the program will take approximately two years, according to District E City Council Member Fred Flickinger.

West Fork Dredging Project Dates Back to Dave Martin Era

Flickinger credits his predecessor, former Council Member Dave Martin, and Chief Recovery Officer Stephen Costello’s tireless efforts in protesting the initial amount proposed for dredging by FEMA back in 2019. FEMA’s initial proposal, based on a four-page, table-top study produced by the Army Corps, called for dredging 283,000 cubic yards.

Martin strongly disagreed with the Corps’ report and appealed it while the City produced its own 94-page technical report. It showed a much higher volume deposited by Harvey. Remember: Harvey funds could not be used to address sediment deposited before Harvey. The City report produced by Tetra Tech relied extensively on core samples. Tetra Tech proved that Harvey laid down the sand in the mouth bar and that the dredging volume should be closer to a million cubic yards.

In August 2020, FEMA and the Corps finally concurred with the City, after extensive discussions and a massive assist from U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw. Crenshaw and others had been pushing FEMA for years for the additional dredging.

Current Status

The new West Fork dredging program should be ready to go within weeks. DRC is currently bringing in the equipment that they will need.

DRC plans to use primarily hydraulic dredging. They will attack the area between where the mouth bar was (south of Scenic Shores in Kings Point) and the FM1960 Bridge. See map below.

Map from City study showing area of focus.
Hydraulic dredge being assembled at old Army Corps mobilization site south of Forest Cove pool. Photo taken 4/1/24.
DRC is also starting to stockpile mechanical dredging equipment such as these pontoons on Berry Madden’s property south of River Grove Park (top center).

This is good news. The new West Fork dredging will help ensure that water doesn’t back up like it did before. It’s not a guarantee against flooding. Dredging is only one part of a multi-faceted mitigation program that also includes more upstream detention and new floodgates on the Lake Houston dam. More news on those topics to follow.

Posted by Bob Rehak

2407 Days since Hurricane Harvey

City Will Lower Lake Houston Sunday in Advance of Heavy Rainfall

Houston District E City Council Member Fred Flickinger announced today that Houston Public Works will lower Lake Houston beginning Sunday afternoon. They expect to complete the lowering before rain starts on Monday. Houston Public Works is actively monitoring weather forecasts.

The National Weather Service has predicted 3-5+ inches of rainfall in our watershed beginning Monday through the coming week. A forecast of 3+ inches of rain triggers the opening of the Lake Houston Spillway Gates. 

Gates on Lake Houston. File photo of 2019 release.

Flickinger advises property owners along the lake secure their property, including patio and outdoor furniture.

The Gates will remain open to manage storm inflows until the inclement weather has moved out of our region.

Lake Houston is currently at 42.22 ft (normal pool is 42.4) and Lake Conroe is at 200.64 ft (normal pool is 201.

The City put the lake-lowering policy in place after Hurricane Harvey. It has saved many homes and businesses from flooding during many events since then. The City is even planning on adding additional floodgates to Lake Houston to lower water faster.

Monitor Current Weather Events

To monitor current Lake Houston water levels, visit www.coastalwaterauthority.org.

To see current levels for Lake Conroe you can visit www.sjra.net.

For up-to-the-second weather for your zip code, visit the National Weather Service. NWS published the warnings below on Sunday, 1/20/24.

From Weather.gov on 1/20/24. As of 9:45am.
From Weather.gov as of 1/20/24 at 3:30pm. Updated frequently.

More than the Lake Could Flood, So…

Please keep in mind that flash flooding, affecting roadways and inland neighborhoods, is also possible in this storm. That’s a separate issue. Most storm drains are designed to handle only an inch of rainfall per hour.

Stay weather aware and avoid roadways if possible during rain events. It only takes 6 inches of water to move a car. If you see rising water near a stream, bayou or underpass, always turn around, don’t drown.

For more information, please contact the District E office at (832) 393-3008 or via email at districte@houstontx.gov.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/20/24

2335 Days since Hurricane Harvey