HOUSTON - While most parts of Houston are drying out and cleaning up, people in west Houston say they’re still fighting the devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
The mayor estimates more than 2,500 homes are still flooded, many with several feet of water, as the Addicks and Barker reservoirs continue to release into Buffalo Bayou. Leaders say it could be a week until the water goes down.
On Thursday afternoon, on Memorial Drive near Kirkwood, things appeared to be back to normal in many regards: businesses are open, traffic’s flowing, but just beyond the main street past makeshift checkpoints, it’s a differently story.
Since 1998, Hal Lynde has called the Nottingham subdivision home; but on Thursday, the only way he was able to get to what’s left of his home is by boat.
“If you sit and think about it, it’s overwhelming,” said Lynde, who said his house has never flooded before. “It’s almost too much to even handle.”
Since taking in five feet of water, Lynde says he’s made more than 30 trips for his own stuff and many more for neighbors, including Greg Travis, City Council Member for District G.
“I just want to make sure that we’re not forgotten out here,” said Travis after visiting with flood victims on Thursday. “I want the people to know that the city hasn’t forgotten them.”
Throughout not only this neighborhood but also other parts of West Houston, cars and homes are still submerged by several feet of dirty water.
“It stinks, it’s filthy, and it’s still there,” said Travis.
So, residents like Debbie Green are salvaging items, especially irreplaceable ones. She's afraid mold will ruin those items if they wait several days for the water to recede.
“It’s gonna take awhile but we’re good,” said Green, who lost four cars but has flood insurance. “I haven’t cried yet, but I think I may cry because we’re so lucky.”
Travis says City Council members can offer moral support now and point victims to state and federal help. Once the water goes down, he says they can help the city rebuild infrastructure, like approving repairs for roads damaged by flooding.
Some of the top concerns both Travis and KHOU 11 heard from neighbors include continuing security from law enforcement, power for those whose homes are dry, and ensuring local leaders don’t forget about the challenges they’re facing.
A curfew is still in effect for the area from midnight until 5 a.m., and West Houston residents in eight ZIP codes are still being asked to conserve water because two nearby sewage treatment plants are still flooded. However, Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city’s drinking water is safe.