What is certain is that no one in Houston has ever seen anything like Hurricane Harvey. With a year’s work worth of rainfall in a handful of days, officials expected heavy flooding but it was a waiting game for homeowners to see if their homes would stay dry.
Lauren Benesh, who lives in Ella Lee Forest said that FEMA records show that their home had flooded several times since it was built in 1961, yet it didn’t this time.
“We back up to a business on Pinemont and weren’t sure whether the improvements along that street over the last several years would be enough, but so far, they have been,” Benesh said. “But the water came right up on the door stoop.”
A few homes in Ella Lee Forest, however, did take in water at the north side of Del Norte.
Shepherd Park Plaza and Candlelight Plaza were similarly lucky although for many the water came up to their porches. Suzy D’Souza said that her husband Victor took a canoe ride through the neighborhood to check on neighbors but that no one needed assistance.
Tiffany Janish in Sawyer Heights said that they were surrounded by water on the freeways but nothing near enough to her neighborhood to get in the house. Houses along White Oak Bayou in the Heights did take on water.
While a majority of Oak Forest and Garden Oaks was spared there were flooded homes in Oak Forest along West TC Jester towards the railroad tracks on DuBarry, Woodcrest and Chippendale streets. Also, homes that border White Oak Bayou across from the T.C. Jester Park took on water as evidenced by the insulation, dry wall and furniture that residents have already hauled out to the street.
Oak Forest resident Pippa Evans was amazed at the randomness of it all.
“In Section 9, we had less flooding than in either of the recent tax and Memorial Day floods,” she said. “The damage throughout the city seems so without pattern.”
Candlelight Oaks near Tidwell did get some flooding at the bayou end of Bayou Vista which is the first street running parallel to Tidwell to the south. The north side of Tidwell also experienced flooding.
“Facebook was an amazing tool over here and those who weren’t affected went to help those who were,” said Angela Pennington.
One Leader area that was hard hit was Mangum Manor near the Brickhouse Gully.
“From our walks there, it looks like houses from Georgi to Saxon bordered by Bolivia to Costa Rica had many flooded,” said Erin Slezak.
Mangum Manor resident Carolina Chavez said that her house did not flood but that homes that did were a stone’s throw from her front door.
Another hard hit area was the older part of Timbergrove Manor on the east side of White Oak Bayou.
“I’m not exactly sure what time the water came in but we went to bed at 1 a.m. feeling confident and woke up at 7 a.m. under water,” said Alycia Clark, who noted that they were safe throughout the ordeal on an upper floor. “The highest measurement in the house and garage was roughly 34 inches and outside in the backyard was roughly 55 inches. When we woke it was lower but continued to rise. It was scary.”
And while her house still may be damp, the Clarks’ spirits are not.
“We are doing fine,” she said. “Taking out drywall and insulation, using fans to dry wet studs, and raking the muck out. That stuff stinks. Things are starting to open up which is great and comforting.”