The damage Hurricane Rita caused took everyone by surprise. Trinity River Authority spokesman John Jadrosich says nobody expected it.
Jadrosich says the hurricane's counterclockwise hurricane force winds blew north to south down the length of the lake, causing 10 to 15 foot waves that battered the two and a half mile long earthen dam for many hours.
That layer of stone called rip-rap is there to keep the dam from eroding. When it washed away the damage to the dam was so serious the TRA lowered the lake level four feet to prevent further erosion. Jadrosich says a contractor has been hired to repair the dam and replace the rip-rap for $10 million, 75 percent from FEMA, 25 percent from the City of Houston -- because Houston gets so much water from Lake Livingston.
A spokesman at Houston Public Works says the city's share of the repair bill will be paid out of an emergency fund the city keeps for situations like this. Jadrosich says the repairs can't start until the money is in the bank, which they hope will be sometime next month. The repairs should take about six months to complete.