Hard-hit Porter area cleans up, awaits more storms
PORTER — Jennifer Wilson’s red-brick house in this eastern Montgomery County town has flooded three times, and she recently finished restoring the home after Hurricane Harvey.
“It was just starting to feel homey again,” said Wilson.
Wilson picked up her daughter, Sydney, from elementary school on Tuesday afternoon. When she got home 30 minutes later, water was gushing into her neighborhood and was ankle-deep in her yard. By the time the rain subsided, almost two feet stood in her house.
The Porter-New Caney area recorded some of the highest rainfall totals in the region, up to 10 inches, during Tuesday’s intense storms. The effects were varied on Wednesday, as some restaurants and other businesses were open as usual while water still stood in some streets and residents described water rising higher than they had ever seen. New Caney ISD closed schools Thursday and Friday.
‘I’m tired of being wet’
Wilson and her husband, Matthew, had been up for hours struggling to get their house back in order. They removed the sopping carpet from the floor. Furniture, clothes and other items were stacked around the blue walls.
Water gushed onto the front porch as they rinsed out clothes that were soaked. Wilson’s daughter played in the water like it was a river, as her mother waded through it in her sneakers.
“I’m tired of being wet,” said Wilson, 35.
It took four months after Harvey struck in August 2017 for the Wilsons to replace the carpets in their home. Wilson was just starting to think about remodeling her daughter’s room.
Now, she was waiting to see what the next round of storms would bring, with more heavy rain forecast over the next three days.
“I have to sit here and hold my breath,” said Wilson.
Wilson was raised in Porter; her grandmother’s house and mom’s house stand across the street from hers.
She’s watched new development, which she believes has contributed to flooding. She thinks a better drainage system in her area would help.
“You’re building everything up, so the water’s gonna go to all the subdivisions around you that are lower because it doesn’t have anywhere to go,” said Wilson.
‘Man, the sky just fell’
Jodie Mitchell got off work at Home Depot around the time the rain started on Tuesday. She watched it intensify as she drove to Humble for an errand.
“Man, the sky just fell,” said Mitchell. “It was blowing sideways.”
She had a hard time getting home, but managed to make it back to New Caney without getting stuck on flooded roadways as other drivers did in the area.
The 55-year-old grew up on in New Caney, but she had never seen the water rise so high. Her family’s property sits near Oakley Elementary School.
Like Wilson, she believes new construction in the area has probably made it more flood-prone.
No water entered Mitchell’s home, but she watched it rise closer and closer. Walking around the property, she said water was up to her knees at one point.
A quiet scene
The scene was much quieter in the Valley Ranch subdivision in Porter.
A few people rode their bikes down the sidewalks. One child roller-bladed on the street underneath a cloudy sky that threatened to bring more bad weather. A young girl blew bubbles in her yard.
Some neighbors within the subdivision said water flooded the street, but did not make it into their houses.
At the Sanders home, water sluiced into the garage.
Cale Sanders, a student at Porter High School, had been stuck at the school until 8 p.m. because of the weather.
His father, Cale Sanders Sr., echoed the sentiments of others: This was more water than they had seen during Harvey.
“It never even got past the street during Harvey,” said Sanders.