A Texas dam on Lewis Creek, near the town of Willis, Texas, could be in danger of breaching or leaking due to damage caused from recent heavy rains in South Texas. The rains have caused the soil on the dam to become saturated with some parts beginning to slough off.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, officials with the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents in the area of the map below:
The evacuation order came as a precautionary measure after predictions that the Sunday morning rains would bring an additional 2-3” of rain to the area. County Judge Craig Doyal, Sheriff Tommy Gage and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador met with emergency management and decided to take the action in an “abundance of caution,” according to a statement from the County obtained by Breitbart Texas.
Crews have been working to try and repair the damages but persistently recurring heavy rains have been making the work difficult, according to the Houston Chronicle. The continuing rains are the greatest threat to completing repairs, officials with Montgomery County said.
At this point, workers are attempting to protect the dam from further damage by laying down more than eight acres of covering. The intent is to shield the soil from further saturation. The workers are also attempting to build additional berms to create additional protection.
As an added safety measure, Entergy, the company that manages the dam, is reducing stress on the dam by releasing water to reduce the water level of the lake.
“This is absolutely the right decision for the protection and safety of Montgomery County residents and the long-term reliability of the plant,” said Sallie Rainer, president and CEO of Entergy Texas, Inc., in a statement obtained Sunday morning by Breitbart Texas.
Some of those berms are using crushed concrete and lime. Officials said they hope this will stabilize the soil and prevent further damage from sliding soil erosion.
Additional heavy rains struck the area on Sunday morning and more rain is expected on Monday.
Warnings to residents were issued by county officials on Friday relating to the repair work and issues related to the Lewis Creek Dam. The neighborhoods in the area of concern are: Pelican Bay, Lakeside Place, Point Aquarius, Lake Conroe Hills, Walnut Cove, Lake Conroe Bay, Shadow Bay, Country Run, Enchanted Waters and Bishop’s Landing, the Chronicle stated.
“We continue to work closely with the state and local emergency authorities and appreciate their support,” said Rainer. “We understand the abundance of caution that led to the county’s decision to call for mandatory evacuation by those in their identified area of concern near the Lewis Creek reservoir.”
Entergy officials said they are continuing to work around the clod to affect repairs on the impacted areas of the dam.