Sept. 24, 2005, 6:14PM
Dam damage forces evacuation on Trinity
By ALLAN TURNER and ZEKE MINAYA
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Trinity River Authority began releasing massive amounts of water from Lake Livingston northeast of Houston today in a frantic effort to lower the lake level after Hurricane Rita's winds and tropical waves dislodged part of the earthen dam's protective shield of boulders.
Riverside residents from Polk County to the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated from their homes because of flooding expected to occur in the river's flood plain. While river authority emergency management director Spencer Karr said the dam did not appear in immediate danger of failing, he said engineers thus far have not been able to determine the severity of the damage.
The release of 80,000 cubic feet of water per second, a process that should continue through Monday, will allow a thorough examination of the damaged structure, Karr said.
The emergency release of water was the first in the 85,000-acre lake's history.