Officials Keep Wary Eye on ‘High Risk’ Dams During Texas Floods

Two aging dams deemed “extremely high risk” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are at record pooling levels in Houston’s west side after this week’s torrential rainfall, but are working well and have undergone improvements in recent years, authorities said Wednesday.

The dams — at 50 percent capacity — are classified as high risk only because they’re about two decades beyond their life expectancy and in a populated area, said Corps spokeswoman Sandra Arnold.

However, a Corps report issued on the dams in 2012 offered more worrying criteria for the classification, noting that such structures are “critically near failure or at extremely high risk under normal operations.”

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings Wednesday evening for the fast-growing neighborhoods around the reservoirs behind the Addicks and Barker dams. The warnings were effective through Saturday afternoon. Water levels in the reservoirs are expected to crest this weekend