HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Houston-area flooding (all times local):
Water is being released from two west Houston flood-control reservoirs that have seen record water levels after this week's heavy rains.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from the Addicks and Barker dams about 6 p.m. Thursday. Corps spokeswoman Sandra Arnold says the release was delayed by thunderstorms that moved through the Houston area earlier Thursday.
Arnold says 2,000 cubic feet of water per second was being released from the dams into Buffalo Bayou — enough to lower the reservoir levels by an inch an hour. She said the Corps plans to increase the flow over the next two to three days. The usually dry reservoirs won't be emptied for about four weeks.
Arnold says the flow will be controlled to ensure the water flowing into Buffalo Bayou remains within its banks.
Buffalo Bayou flows from the reservoirs through the heart of Houston and into the Houston Ship Channel.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says he's leading an effort to ensure Houston-area drivers are properly warned about flooded roadways during heavy storms.
The review comes after eight drivers died this week on flooded roads, including three at the same Houston underpass.
Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Raquelle Lewis says her agency is committed to working with local officials to find solutions to the problem.
The city of Houston already is installing an early warning system at nearly 30 locations where high water sensors and flashing lights let drivers know that a road in front of them is flooded.
Harris County emergency management officials are urging people living immediately adjacent to a west Houston reservoir to prepare for flooding as water levels rise.
About 20 streets are identified in an advisory alerting residents of a subdivision near the Addicks Reservoir that street flooding was likely later Thursday and home flooding was possible.
The reservoir is one of two in the area that have been filling with runoff from heavy rains that dumped as much as 18 inches on some parts of the Houston area starting Sunday night.
The Harris County Flood Control District says the streets near the reservoir may be impassable over the next few days and reservoir water levels may remain high for days or weeks, depending on additional rainfall and how quickly and how much water eventually can be released.
Officials in Wharton, about 50 miles southwest of Houston, have expanded a mandatory evacuation area to about a square mile as the rain-swollen Colorado River has overwhelmed its banks.
Mayor Domingo Montalvo Jr. says the water is rising faster than expected. Flood stage is 39 feet. As of Thursday afternoon, it was nearly 48 feet, fed by recent heavy rains and runoff upstream where more than a foot of rain has fallen since Sunday night.
Police Chief Terry Lynch says about 350 homes are in the evacuation zone in low-lying neighborhoods where the river runs through the town of about 8,700. Authorities made nearly three dozen rescues starting Thursday morning.
Lynch says officers have visited each home, most people have complied with the order but less than a dozen have refused to leave their property. The chief says authorities will not forcibly remove them.
This update has been corrected to show that Wharton is southwest of Houston, not southeast of the city.
A line of heavy thunderstorms has been passing through the Houston area, aggravating the already serious flooding in some parts of the city.
Forecasts called for the storms to quickly move on but in parts of Harris County, which includes most of Houston, more than an inch of rain fell quickly late Thursday morning.
Jeff Lindner, with the Harris County Flood Control District, says two reservoirs in the western part of the county where some concerns have been raised remain in good shape. He says there are some "minor rises" in some creeks and flooding in subdivision streets, but he does not anticipate more widespread flooding and says levels should be dropping once the rain stops.
The flood-devastated Houston area could soon get a break from the rain after a deluge blamed for eight deaths.
The National Weather Service says a chance for showers continues Thursday but dwindles Friday. Saturday's forecast includes mostly sunny with highs in the 80s.
The Houston area received more than a foot of rain since last weekend, leading to flooding that inundated structures and forced thousands of people to evacuate.
Forecasters issued a flood warning for Harris, Waller and Austin counties through Thursday due to the impact of this week's heavy rain.
Some Southeast Texas school districts canceled classes again Thursday amid lingering floodwaters or damage. The Texas Education Agency says Houston-area districts that missed two days earlier this week get waivers and students won't have to make up the time.