Kingwood latest flooding rewinds residents to Harvey
Kingwood resident Eloise Hilarides’s journey home from Denver Tuesday night featured one challenge after another.
Her plane had landed, but a lightning advisory trapped it on the tarmac for half an hour. The Uber trip afterward was zigzag-shaped, ending with the driver taking refuge in a Shell gas station due to high water and major traffic. Hilarides got to her Hamblen Road dwelling in the end after a motorist assisted her.
She spent the night with Maybe, her gingerbread-colored mutt, without power. Water was shut off in the morning after a sinkhole just a few doors down appeared.
“It’s been an adventure, I guess,” Hilarides said.
Houston Police Department Officer Felipe Flores was on-site to make sure no one would fall into the sinkhole in Kingwood near the 1600 block of Hamblen Road. He said there is a possibility that it will expand, but either way the road is impassable for the time being.
He added that it was a long night for “all of us here in Houston.”
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After 1000s of homes and businesses were flooded in Kingwood during Harvey, many residents fear a repeat. With rainstorms dropping close to 10 inches in Kingwood for an 18-hour period between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, residents feel their paranoia is warranted.
The agency also warned that more rain is on the way this week.
Meanwhile, Jay Dabbracio has been up since 5 a.m., moving soaked furniture and tearing down dampened sheetrock with his sister Ashley Ryan at his home in the Sherwood Trails subdivision of Kingwood.
He estimated that repair costs will be in the $40,000 vicinity. He noted that when Hurricane Harvey arrived in 2017 he was all dry and was even able to help others.
“To be honest, we don’t have flood insurance,” Dabbracio said. “I thought we’d be good since we didn’t flood during Harvey. Apparently not.”
There is a channel behind Dabbracio’s house, which he believes overflowed and sent waters into his house through the backyard. Just like him, residents in that area had been salvaging what they could, greeting contractors and conversing with one another over screeching blow dryers’ and the mold-laced air.
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Not only did Chris Tiner’s Kingwood home take in 2 feet of water on Tuesday, his Ford Taurus was also submerged. Helping Tiner document the damages for insurance was his friend Von Kelley, who believes that the water destroyed the car’s electronics and caused the window to roll down and the trunk to open.
The car’s interior is currently caked with silt.
“Smells like Harvey,” Kelley said. “(The weather is) such a fluke thing — you’ve just got to make sure that you’re prepared as much as you can be, which is hard to do.”
He also noted that Tiner, a local youth pastor, was stuck on Northpark Drive for four-plus hours yesterday.
Tiner said his house also didn’t flood during Harvey. He will spend the night at Kelley’s place in a nearby Kingwood subdivision. Kelley said he welcomes Tiner’s presence “for as long as needed.”
Both men then greeted the Toppass family — Brittani, her husband Joshua and their three children Alyssa, Travis and Kara — while the five were returning to their truck with an empty cooler.
They had been handing out lunches and chilled water bottles to affected residents, including Tiner. Brittani said other people did the same to her family during Harvey.
The five will make more lunch packs when they get home.
Kingwood resident Heather Baserto just finished her trip to H-E-B. Every time there is a rain event, she said her family is prepared for the worst.
“We have a plan to move everything that we can possibly lift upstairs, like we did the last time,” she said. “That’s our goal — our goal is to get everything upstairs and just hunker down upstairs and hopefully ride out the rain, if it possibly floods and starts repairing again if absolutely necessary.”
Kaila Contreras also contributed to this report.