Flood victim recalls Memorial Day flood year later

HOUSTON – On the anniversary of the devastating Memorial Day flood of 2015 we are looking back.

We know now many areas in Houston never considered at risk are susceptible to flooding, so being prepared and doing what you can now to limit damage is smart.

KPRC consumer expert Amy Davis went to the real experts -- last year's victims.

Many families spent the better part of a year repairing and replacing their homes and their property.
So, we asked one homeowner to share with us some things she wishes she knew before the flood that can help you before the next one. 

Hilary Rochelle has lived in her Braeburn Valley home for decades. She watched her children and grandchildren grow up here. But now, it's just a shell.

"It was 1 o'clock in the morning when the water started to come in," Rochelle recalled about Memorial Day 2015. Two feet of water swamped her house.

And another eight inches flooded it on Tax Day 2016, "It just all of a sudden rose up and came back in," said Rochelle. She added, "It was just devastating, we were almost done fixing the house and now it's all gone."

Rochelle, like so many others has become an expert about how to protect her things, in case another flood reaches her doorstep.

"You don't think about what you put under the cabinets close to the floor," said Rochelle.

Back in the day, people used to store medicine in a medicine cabinet. Now some people store them under their bathroom sinks.

After a flood, your medicine is lost.

"For a lot of people that's a big expense," said Rochelle.

Rochelle's simple solution: swap your medicine with your towels, "Towels, they wash, if you don't want to wash them you can throw them away."

In the kitchen "we tend to put our heavy appliances, like your toaster, your crock pot, whatever, under, in the lower cabinets," said Rochelle.

Instead, put your regular pots and pans in the lowest cabinets.

And in the pantry, keep your paper towels on the lowest shelf or the floor. 

Rochelle had her valuable documents in a safe in her closet, but they weren't safe from the floodwaters. "In my cedar closet, I had a safe, pretty large safe on the floor, and the safe filled up with water, taking my will, my passport, my citizenship papers."

Now, she stores those items in a safe deposit box at the bank.

"I thought I had a water-tight cases with all my photographs and albums, yearbooks, but they're all gone," said Rochelle.

Now, she's moved those mementos up to the top of her closet.

The water will even affect your drawer liners, according to Rochelle. She said will use plain white from now on. Her liners had a floral pattern on them and in the flood, that ink transferred to her clothes and ruined most of them.