Already Flooded, Houston Braces As Two Swollen Reservoirs Are Opened:

Already Flooded, Houston Braces As Two Swollen Reservoirs Are Opened:

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

In Houston, reservoirs swollen by rain from Hurricane Harvey were opened early Monday, a move that was expected to flood more homes — but one that the Army Corps of Engineers says is needed to limit the scope of the disaster that’s threatening lives and property in Texas.

“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, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. He warned residents to stay vigilant as water levels rise.

Several deaths have been reported in the floodwaters, but the exact number is unclear. A spokeswoman with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences tells NPR at least six deaths are suspected of being related to the storm.

Around midday Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard to support communities coping with the flooding. Thousands of Guard members were already deployed in the effort; the number now stands at roughly 12,000.

Gates to Houston’s reservoirs were opened as emergency crews and residents scrambled to deal with the intense rains brought by Harvey, which became a tropical storm after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday. Catastrophic floods are expected to continue.

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