'We just couldn't get out': New Caney residents recall Tuesday's rainfall

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

NEW CANEY, Texas - The rain continued to come down in New Caney on Wednesday, but on Tuesday, rain pummeled through trapping drivers, flooding streets and closing schools.

"It was like a lake," Dakota Martin said.

"All the streets around us (were flooded). We just couldn't get out," Elizabeth Valencia said.

Water as far as the eye could see was the sight from a bird's-eye view over U.S. 59 and FM 1485 Tuesday afternoon.

"Literally every single store, there were no exits to any store. Everybody was stuck," Martin said.

Wednesday morning, New Caney had a break. The sun shined, the water receded and people were out dealing with what happened.

New Caney resident, Reno Garza, was outside the Papa Johns on FM 1485, getting his car towed.

"Basically, I was driving down at night. Came down the main road here, turned the corner, I was following behind a big truck. He kind of ignored the water but obviously my little car didn't," Garza said.

Garza was actually on his way to help deliver food. For a bit, employees said Papa Johns lost power and when it came back on they were swamped.

Tow truck driving companies were swamped too, on Wednesday. Phones were ringing off the hook.

"All day we can't keep up," said Don Knox who operates EMC Towing, a New Caney towing business.

New Caney ISD closed its schools Wednesday after the heavy rain. Water made it inside New Caney High School.

New Caney ISD posted on their Facebook page Tuesday night:

"Accommodations have been made for students that need to stay overnight on campus. Campus staff is onsite providing supervision and all campuses have received food. Parents may pick students up throughout the night and in the morning, weather permitting. Identification is required to pick up your child. All NCISD campuses will be closed Wednesday, May 8."

Officials said more than a 1,000 children were temporarily stranded, and some were stranded overnight. Now, the district said it is assessing the damage and is closing its schools for the rest of the week.

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Parents pick up children from a New Caney ISD school on May 8, 2019.

On Wednesday, New Caney ISD issued this statement:

"Due to expected severe weather and potentially hazardous road conditions and flooding, New Caney ISD and all district schools will be closed Thursday, May 9, and Friday, May 10. These school days will not have to be made up. All school-related activities have been canceled until school resumes. State and AP testing will be rescheduled for next week.

"The district will monitor weather conditions throughout the next several days. Updates regarding the school schedule will be posted to the district and campus websites as well as the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. New Caney ISD will also utilize its notification system to inform parents of any necessary schedule changes."

Meanwhile, grocery stores like Food Town, despite the rain, were packed. Many people were gearing up for more rainfall later in the week.

"Nonperishables," Valencia said.

New Caney residents are not short of stories from the wet and rainy week.

"We were stuck trying to get out of Kingwood for four hours," Jennifer Boychi said. "Had the water up over my hood. By the grace of God, it didn't ruin my car."

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