Testaments from Ponderosa residents after Hurricane Harvey floodwaters devastated their homes

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A year ago, Cypress Creek inundated Ponderosa Forest. Hurricane Harvey devastated the north Harris County area. 

The water completely swallowed the first floors of dozens of homes. Two army-style trucks, tasked with evacuating residents, stalled and disappeared underwater.

The Ponderosa Fire Department and neighboring agencies evacuated hundreds of people over four days. Remarkably, there were no reports of serious injuries or deaths in this subdivision, a testament to the hard work of rescue crews and the hundreds of people who helped their neighbors during the worst of it.

"We were ready for four feet of water, we got six feet. I said, 'alright, we're not ready for this,'" Samuel Clifton recalled Monday.

Clifton just completed renovations on his home, but he has had enough.

Nearby, some streets are still lined with piles of debris.

"We are trying to get this buyout, I want somewhere where we're ... we can get out, you know?" Clifton said.

Others are still out of their home, 12 months after Harvey, but they are eager to move back once their homes in working order, which is not yet a given in this area.

Five feet of water inside a home does considerably more damage than a foot does.

"I want back in here terribly bad," Michael Jenkins said Monday.

Jenkins and his wife have been living with his father-in-law for the past year, and he believes he is just days away from being back in his own home.

"I mean, I'm not worried, I really think Harvey was a once-in-a-lifetime event," Jenkins said.

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