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May 27, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Next Big Thing!

It’s always something you never even thought of. Yet, something so obvious.

What is the Next Big Thing?

Lightning strikes over Houston during storms (khou.com)

Brilliance strikes like lightning. (khou.com)

Raincoats.

Wait!

Highly specialized ones!

Raincoats for earthen dams.

Heavy storms over the past weeks pounded the Lewis Creek Reservoir near Willis, TX.

Not only filling it to capacity, but sogging the soil to its’ limits.

If the weak spots in the berms gave way, subdivisions were going to be flooded.

They tried putting socks on the poor old dam, but she’s still not happy.

Entergy Texas, Inc who owns the reservoir at Lewis Creek Power Station moved quickly by releasing water as well as building additional berms of crushed concrete and lime at the bottom of the levee in hopes of stabilizing the dirt and preventing additional slides.

The company even brought in tigers! (Grrr. Get back water! There’s flexible thinking.)

Geotechnical engineers are watching the dam around the clock.

With rain continuing and more predicted all week, they knew they needed more.

A makeshift raincoat, eight acres of protective covering, was flung across the dam’s shoulders with sandbags holding it on.

flimsy tarps covering parts of the berms of Lewis Creek Dam, WIllis, TX (Montgomerycountypolice reporter.com)

How embarrassing. Clumsy ill-fitting dull rain coverings over weak parts of Lewis Reservoir Dam in a desperate attempt to keep it dry. (Montgomerycountypolice reporter.com)

And there it is: a desperately needed item that no one ever thought of: a dam raincoat!

(Although annoyed children with great insight may have tried in the past to let their moms in on something they knew was destined to be The Next Big Thing.)

Consider the potential: not just for rainy weather. A source of city pride.

Why settle for dull bland tarps when cities could request signature designs or display a local sports team’s colors?

An ordinary nondescript dirt lump turned into a tourist destination.

See the dam! They could even offer dam t-shirts.

Time is right! The Next Big Thing: Raincoats for dams

Gritty idea. Never know what will catch on.

You saw it here first. (Just in case of royalties…)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

First rule of marketing/new product: establish the need.

Here’s something cool. Drones are skimming along the Lewis Creek Dam to create 3D map of the dam’s berms. Hopefully making it easier to assess the dam’s condition. “Drone footage of threatened levee in Texas.”

Video. Lewis Creek Reservoir area: What the dam and general area looks like. “Dam concerns at Lewis Creek Reservoir.”

“Crews continue to work on weakened Lewis Creek Dam” Article, list of  subdivisions at risk, map, photos. (Montgomery County Police Reporter.)

(Oh, FYI – it’s storming again across the area – right at commute time. We’re in holding pattern watching the radar.)

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16 Comments

  1. easyweimaraner / May 27 2015 1:19 pm

    that could be a good idea…it reminds me of a story by Theodor Storm (the Dykemaster)we had to read in school… think some problems are still the same … :o(

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 27 2015 4:36 pm

      Now that dogs have complete wardrobes available, you knew it wouldn’t be long before hills and land forms were demanding the same. I’ll have to look up that story – it’s one I don’t know. Thanks for digging that up!

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  2. Paul / May 27 2015 1:48 pm

    Cute Phil but it makes me nervous. Water retention is not static. You cannot necessarily keep something that is already wet, from getting wetter by covering it. The degree of wetness is a function of a balance between the cycle of water added and water evaporated. Adding a raincoat stops both sides of the cycle. The dam would be constantly exposed to water from the pond side and the ground around it but now could not shed water through evaporation. Think about putting on a raincoat after you are wet and with a little rain constantly getting inside he coat. You continuously keep getting wetter even though most of the rain is kept off. I worry.

    In northern Ontario there is a town called Latchford that sits beside a dam. Te town motto is “The best little town by a dam site!” ha! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latchford,_Ontario

    Neat post Phil.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 27 2015 4:53 pm

      Perfect motto!
      Dam raincoats would have to have velco fasteners for easy on and easy off? (buttons are too hard to use in rain, and zippers get stuck.) HOnestly, when I saw they were hauling out plastic shower curtains to cover the dam, I had to laugh.
      Lake Conroe is now releasing water at the highest rate in 8 years. Houses along the route was being told to evacuate. Clear Lake flood gates are open to the bay, but the water is way up from all the upstream flood waters.
      Heavy storms for a couple of hours this morning, but just cloudy now, so ran Molly out quickly.
      The good news is that Lake Travis near Austin which has been very very low for several years is now half full! YEA! It’s a big recreational area…the lake it self. Austin is a whole ‘nother thing. Thanks for sending that dam comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin / May 27 2015 4:14 pm

    So sad what’s going on in Texas. People still missing in the flood waters. All those homes loss. Heartbreaking.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 27 2015 4:46 pm

      The storm picked such a bad weekend to happen with so many on holiday vacations. We had another strong line of rain arrive this morning. Partly sunny here now, but the storms seem to be redeveloping in central Tx and may end up here. In town between storms on errand and saw so much carpet rolled up on the curbs and furniture in yards in the rain. UHaul trucks, storage units, and rental cars have become very scarce. Actually spring storms like this are more trouble than hurricanes.Hurricanes leave. (Seriously. Do wish they had outfitted the old Astrodome for emergency situations)
      You know those sci-fi domes over entire cities? Hmmmm. Thanks for diving in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. EllaDee / May 28 2015 6:24 am

    It’s good they are doing something, and monitoring rather than the post disaster blame game that so often happens… http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/flight-logs-show-2011-grantham-queensland-floods-manmade-disaster-20150525-gh8no2.html and so many, too many other places and times. Mother Nature has her own team colours and rules. We may as well put on our own colours for the triathlon but we’ll all end up the muddy same!

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2015 8:01 pm

      Mud seems to be the universal color. There will be an outcry to “Fix it”, but realistically, it’s flat. If it rains long enough in one place, it’ll flood here.It’s not always the same place that floods every time. Originally the city was crossed with deep open ditches, but those were thought ugly/old fashioned in the 60’s so the city put in culverts and covered up the ditches – voila – fewer snakes, gators, mosquito pits. Open ditches can carry much more water when needed and silt build up is easily scraped out. Vegetation can be kept mowed/cleaned out. Closed flood culverts can clog from years of silt piling up or rubbish clumping into blockages. They need to send cameras in to see what’s going on down there and keep them cleared out – or run “pigs”/cleaning devices down like oil pipelines do periodically. The city would be wise to limit new dense building until the aging city sewer system in an area is modernized and resized. People will complain..then with short memories will forget. In a few years, new people will move in and buy houses unaware that that things can flood or where/why they flood first. Most people along the rivers here shrug and say the risk is worth it – usually their houses are built up on stilts.
      Sounds like the quarry owner has a lot to answer for there. Anything that stops natural flow of water at a natural pace is asking for trouble.
      So far the dams here are holding, but water is being dumped into rivers – and we all hope the rain predicted for the weekend doesn’t happen. Hard to complain when lakes that were close to drying up are now 50% full for the first time in years. Guess we’ll just have to learn to take what is given and roll with it?
      Thanks for diving in with a comment

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  5. Robin / May 28 2015 12:08 pm

    Stay safe, PhilosopherMouse. Dams are worrisome things, even with raincoats. I like your idea, though. If you’re going to throw a raincoat over a dam, might as well make it fashionable. 🙂

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2015 8:22 pm

      There is something very funny about people throwing shower curtains over a dam. Time like these do call for desperate measures. Experts say the dam in Dallas will hold at least another day. Almost all the at risk reservoirs and lakes are dumping water into the major rivers(flowing to the gulf) in case the rain predicted for the weekend does happen.
      Mother Nature does enjoy revitalizing the river bottom lands every so often – one thing that makes those pasture land grow so well. The spring flowers seem to have gotten recharged and are blooming wildly again. What a spring. Thanks for wistfully watching the whimsy.

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  6. angelswhisper2011 / May 28 2015 12:53 pm

    At least it will keep the dam dry and warm, Philmouse… 🙂
    We’ve seen it on television. We purray for the poor people and animals. It’s so terrible what’s happening 😦 Every time we realize how grateful we are for our dams and dikes. They haven’t been overflowed since 1953..at least not such a huge one! Pawkisses 🙂 ❤

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 28 2015 8:36 pm

      The news pictures do make it look bad, but in perspective, this isn’t as bad floods we’ve had before. This spring’s weather systems have just dumped large amount of rain in the same places for long periods and over quite a few weeks. It’s soggy and the rivers are moving it as fast as they can to the gulf. Many of the lakes in central TX are finally getting back to 50+ water levels after long dry summers.
      In this area, it’s just flat. Right now we watch the sky and are careful where we go because we don’t want to risk the car – or us. You learn to be observant and cautious if you live here very long.
      The animals are getting help. Over 150 wild ones have been brought to the wildlife rescue shelter. There are signs/Facebook pages up about dogs/cats people have taken in and are sheltering until their owners can get by. The worst flooding in houses generally is less than 4 feet and pets have be rescued from floating inside on chairs or standing on cabinets. The people shelters are making arrangements for pets, too.
      It’s a time for everyone to help one another – and that’s happening. But what a mess!
      We are snug and dry here. Paw waves and much appreciate the thoughtful purrays!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. PiedType / May 29 2015 4:37 am

    Obviously they won’t keep a wet dam dry, but they might prevent additional surface erosion from constantly falling rain. And that makes it worth a try, seems to me.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 29 2015 12:24 pm

      At this point, earthen dam raincoats seem very sensible. All the Dallas/Central TX water is headed downstream now, so the river homes are flooding. (and will be for at least a week) Most people are either up on stilts or have left as usual. Dallas had 5 more inches last night. Another big storm is over us now (one came through earlier, but there are short breaks) – with another one sitting a bit NW of us and waiting to move in. So the rain continues…and Sat is predicted to be very stormy.
      But the cows they keep showing “surrounded by water”. They are dry, have grass, shade trees, and so far room – and look pretty happy sitting around – like cows normally do. Cows are not asking for high water rescue, people.
      Hope they’ve buttoned up those dam raincoats tight. Necessity is the mother of invention..so royalties still possible? (Giggles inserted) Thanks for dashing over to chat.(The low driving this is about over your head…could you possibly give it a shove?)

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  8. heretherebespiders / May 29 2015 7:57 pm

    Dam clever of them.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 31 2015 3:18 pm

      Genius! Seems to have worked (although this is at the bottom of the top 5 worst years for rain on record. Lots of new subdivisions – and concrete in the wrong places) Thanks for hiking by

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