Storm Harvey: Flood defences breached around Houston

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Linder said officials were unable to measure water levels at the Barker Reservoir because the gauge flooded overnight.

Residents living near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs - that were created to prevent flooding in downtown Houston - were warned Sunday that a controlled release from both reservoirs would cause additional street flooding that could spill into homes. This means they will have no control over how much water is released at one time, which is why these waves of water are a possibility.

Thousands of people living in homes in close proximity to the dams have been advised to flee.

Evacuations Underway for the Most Vulnerable Areas of Houston.

It is feared there could be further flooding as a result of the breaches.

"If we don't begin releasing now, the volume of uncontrolled water around the dams will be higher and have a greater impact on the surrounding communities", said Col. Lars Zetterstrom, Galveston District commander of the Corps.

Parts of the state have already seen flooding - and heavy rains are predicted to hit the state as well as parts of neighboring Arkansas on Tuesday night and into Wednesday, the National Weather Service says. But the sheer amount of rain from Harvey has overwhelmed both structures.

Abbott said he would not cast blame on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for not issuing an evacuation order. "Those downstream on Buffalo, the water is going to hold steady, it won't be going down". And officials acknowledge that fatalities from Harvey could soar once the floodwaters start to recede from one of America's most sprawling metropolitan centers.

'If they don't [release the water], then it will be forced and the situation would be exponentially worse so this is a gradual release'. The question is how fast that'll happen and how quickly that could cause the waters there to rise.

It's unclear what the full effect will be when the dam spills over, but Flood Control said its' "uncharted territory". Its capacity is 140,000.

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Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday that his department has rescued more than 3,500 people and were working both to save more residents and to prevent looting.

Another 50 inches of downpours is predicted to land across the city in the coming days.

Pence is urging residents to continue to listen their state and local officials.

"The idea is to prepare ... pack up what you need and put it in your vehicle and when the sun comes up, get out", Lindner said Sunday.

911 operators across in Houston have been overrun with calls and are now unable to answer them all.

More than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category Four hurricane, authorities had confirmed only three deaths, including a woman killed when heavy rain dislodged a large tree on to her trailer home in the small town of Porter, but unconfirmed reports of others missing or presumed dead are growing.

Trump has been praising the government's response to the storm on Twitter.

His up-beatness is of little comfort to those on the ground.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long warns Harvey's widespread devastation will be felt for a long time.