(See ongoing updates at the end of the article.)
I want to ask you to pray for our church and our immediate community in the Energy Corridor of west Houston. It’s 4 a.m. on Monday morning after a long day here in the city. Three hours ago, the Harris County Flood Control District and the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing floodwaters from the massive Addicks Reservoir just north of our church building. Within 24 hours they’ll also begin releasing water from the Barker Reservoir just west of our building. Both dams, when opened, will provide minimal relief for neighborhoods to the west and north which are already facing backed-up floodwaters from the reservoirs. But both dams, when opened, will also release water southward and eastward into the Buffalo Bayou, which is already flooded and runs right by our building and the surrounding community. The maps below explain what’s happening.
Interstate 10 runs east-west through the middle of this map. The reservoirs on the west are obvious, emptying into the Buffalo Bayou which squiggles eastward toward downtown. BridgePoint is situated in the center of the red circle, right near the path of both reservoir releases.
The satellite image below shows just how the released water will flow out of the reservoirs into the overflowing bayou — right near BridgePoint, and right near some of our elders’ and members’ homes.
- BLUE: water released from the reservoirs beginning at 1 a.m. Monday morning.
- RED: Buffalo Bayou, the already-full east-west canal that runs the full length of the city.
- YELLOW: the BridgePoint Bible Church building.
These are not small reservoirs. The map below expands the view.
This final map (below) shows the full size of these reservoirs.
Experts are predicting that the Buffalo Bayou will rise 4-6 inches per hour while the dams are opened. Some of the flooding surrounding these reservoirs may last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on ongoing rainfall.
We have a nice 10-year-old building which we use to serve our community in many ways. We obviously pray that God preserves the building and protects us from damage, costly repairs, and delayed functioning — especially at a time when we want to focus on meeting our city’s needs and using our facility to serve those suffering much worse effects.
But far more important than our facility are our members and neighbors living near the reservoirs and the bayou. At his news conference Sunday night, meteorologist Jeff Lindner (HCFCD) clearly explained how a controlled release is essential to protect the dams from the possibility of a devastating breach. But the circumstances surrounding this controlled release are unprecedented. Lindner said at his news conference, “This is the first time ever that, while Buffalo Bayou is flooding and the rain is falling, they might have to make releases from these reservoirs. This is the first time we’ve ever done this.”
It’s an impossible decision to face. If water weren’t being released, the dams would be at risk, and the communities on the west side of these reservoirs would see floodwaters rise higher than they already are. But since floodwaters are being released, some neighborhoods on the opposite side of the reservoirs will be flooded in exchange. Our church has leaders and members on both sides.
If you’re confused, you’ve got company. Even the local news stations have been misunderstanding how these releases will impact the neighborhoods on various sides of the two reservoirs. This flood is without precedent, and just as no man could predict its full force, no man can grasp its full effects.
So we ask for your prayers, that the God of intricate wisdom and morning mercies would guard and protect our members and neighbors and communities on all sides, and that we would bend our will to his plans even as we seek to bend his ear to our prayers.
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UPDATE: Monday, August 28, NOON
Below are photos taken by three of our leaders earlier this morning. These photos are now 3-5 hours old. As rain keeps falling and reservoirs continue rising and dams remain open, these waters are likely to rise. How much is anyone’s guess.
Here’s the BridgePoint sign early this morning. We’re looking east, and the sign sits at the very northern edge of our property. The building itself sits 150 yards to the right (south) of this photo. On the left side of the photo you can see a street light and a highway sign serving the fourteen lanes of Interstate 10 that runs east-west through the heart of Houston.
Now we’re looking north up Memorial View Drive, toward I-10. BridgePoint sits to the right (east) of this photo. The grey truck belongs to one of our elders; it’s sitting in the entrance to our parking lot. The condos to the left (west) are our immediate neighbors.
Below is Memorial View Drive looking south. Our building is out of the picture to the left.
Below is our two-story building. Floodwaters are filling the parking lot and most of the lawn, and encroaching on this west side of the building. The whitish concrete structures whose tops are visible just behind our building are 9-story parking garages that service an office plaza. The tall dark building rising above everything is one of the 20-story office buildings that make up the Energy Center, our neighbor to the east (one of these buildings houses ConocoPhillips).
The photo below was taken this morning from the shoulder of I-10. The flooded street is Memorial View Drive. The T-shaped black light poles slightly left of center mark our main parking lot.
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UPDATE: Monday, August 28, 4:00pm
A neighbor living in the condos across the street from our building took the following photos in late afternoon. The water has clearly risen, but it still looks like the west side may still have a few feet of grass protecting the building. The south entrance to the building, however, is a flat concrete plaza running directly into the parking lot, so I don’t know what’s happening on that side. I’m told that Memorial View Drive, the street just west of our building, is impassible.
Below is a shot looking eastward across the street and through the trees. If you look at the big bay windows, the building looks flooded on its west side. But those windows go all the way to the ground, and there seems to be a tiny strip of green haze that might be grass between the water and the building.
Here’s a less obstructed view eastward across Memorial View Drive, looking at the southwest parts of the building. From this view, it’s hard to say whether any water’s gotten in.
Below is the southwest corner of our building. There still seems to be a thin swath of grass in front of the bushes and the building, but the flood status of the south entrance doors (not visible) around the corner is more questionable.