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IMELDA FROM THE FIELD: Families in Huffman still being rescued due to high water

Families are having to be rescued from their home in Huffman due to rising water.

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has crews in the field all over the Houston area.

Here's a look at what's going on in some of the hardest-hit areas of the region.

Friday

Beaumont - Mario Diaz

What's happening: Parts of east Texas are attempting to dry out. In Beaumont, on Friday, two significant challenges clean up and how to navigate the roads in order to head further west into parts of southeast Texas. I-10 shut down as a result of Imelda. The day after the storm produced familiar site in Beaumont homeowners cleaning up. Many parts of Beaumont experienced a massive 24-hour transformation. One stretch of 11th Street was completely underwater on Thursday, but traffic was flowing without interruption 24 later.

Quote of note: "I needed to smile, I needed to be there for them. They needed someone to comfort them, so why not be me." Stories of good Samaritans going above and beyond also continued to emerge. We found one in Satchel Smith at the local Homewood Suites. The 21-year-old part-time employee and full-time student-athlete at Lamar University showed up to work and ran the entire hotel during Imelda all by himself for 30 hours.

Houston SPCA - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: People are not the only ones who are being displaced by the storm. The SPCA said wildlife is also impacted by severe weather event. Debbie Mitchell with the SPCA said it's baby squirrel season and storms often knock then out of their nests. If you find a squirrel put it in a box, keep it warm and do not give it anything to eat or drink.

Quote of note: "I saw my dog tossing something around the yard ... and we realized it was a living little animal," said one woman who brought in a squirrel. "It's a living thing. It had a chance. I'm a dog owner. I would want someone to do that for my dog too."

Huffman - Sofia Ojeda

What's happening: Several people in the area are still being rescued from their homes as water continues to rise. There are about 40 homes in the area and the water has even risen to the second story of some homes. Officials said they are going door-to-door checking to see if anyone needs help. 

Fact to know: One man said his parents refused to leave their home, and he left with a large suitcase Friday morning. One woman said her family flooded in Harvey and again in Imelda.

"It's heartbreaking to lose everything twice," she said.

West Mount Houston Road - Joel Eisenbaum

What's happening: Authorities are investigating after a man's body was found in a ditch in the area. Homicide detectives were called out to the scene because a witness said he saw two men get into an argument, but they do not believe the man's death was foul play. 

Fact to know: Authorities believe the man's boss was taking him home when they hit high water, so the victim got out of the vehicle and started walking home. Officials believe the man likely drowned, but that has not bee confirmed.

TRANSTAR - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: The concerns are not over. Officials are still expecting another inch or two of rain Friday and people are being asked to be cautious out on the road. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said crews will be heading out to asses the damage around the Houston area.

Quote of note: "We did around 2,000 rescues and evacuations total, it looks like," Hidalgo said. "We do have some recovery resources already available on our website, Readyharris.org."

Lake Houston Marina - Sofia Ojeda

What's happening: Authorities went through a big scare Friday morning during a high water rescue. According to authorities, a sergeant went in high water to help a man who drove around a barricade. Deputies lost contact with the man and the sergeant, but the two were later found and rescued. The two had to cling to a tree and a bush for around 45 minutes. The man who drove around the barricade warned others to not move or go around barricades because it is not worth it.

Quote to know: "(The deputy) put his life in harm's way and went out there," said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. "He could hear (the man) screaming. He finally tried to get to him, but with the swift water rapidly rising, he too was in peril. Fortunately, he was able to grab ahold of that citizen. He said he held on to a branch as long as he could ... until resources could get out here quickly."

TRANSTAR - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: Local officials are continuing to watch conditions. There are still concerns as the rivers continue to swell as the water drains out of the Houston area. Parts of the San Jacinto River are still rising and expected to crest some time Friday. Cedar Bayou is seeing the same effect and is also expected o crest Friday.

Quote of note: "The water receding in a lot of locations, but we still have high water," Harris County meteorologist Jeff Lindner said. "We're expecting maybe and inch or two of rain today. This is a more summertime pattern that probably won't affect the watersheds at all. The biggest this morning is with high water still out there ... be careful."

East Freeway at San Jacinto River - Vincent Crivelli

What's happening: The East Freeway at the San Jacinto River is shut down after two barges broke loose and hit the bridge. Authorities said they broke loose because of rising water and strung currents. It is unclear when the bridge will reopen because crews have not been able to inspect it due to high water.

Fact to know: Authorities believe the barges could be carrying combustible materials. Tolls at the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge are being waves due to the closure.

North Freeway at Main - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: Dozens of cars were left stranded in the flood waters Thursday. Police said over 150 tow trucks worked to remove the cars left on I-45 at North Main. The road is a notorious hot spot for flooding.

Fact to know: The road remained closed for drivers overnight as crews work to make sure the roadway is safe for drivers. The lanes reopened just before 5 a.m. Friday.

Thursday

Gallery Furniture - Rose-Ann Aragon

What's happening: Mattress Mack opened the doors of his original store on North Freeway. About 100 people found shelter there and also had access to food and water. Many said it was a relief from being out in harsh conditions.

Quote or fact of note: "It's what we do," said Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale. "We take care of Houstonians and Texans, and they certainly take of us, and so that's what we've done for the past 40 years and plan on continuing that."

"It felt like somebody cared...like someone was out there willing to help us and that meant a lot," Matthew Perez, a downtown resident, said. Perez took shelter there.

I-45 at Main - Jonathan Martinez

What's happening: Dozens of cars left flooded out along I-45 as drivers say they were inundated with floodwaters late this afternoon. Many drivers say they were moving along fine but hit a standstill and then the waters rushed in too quickly to react or gone anywhere else.

Quote of note: Alyssa Truitt was one of the lucky who was able to back out before it was too late. "I was crying on the phone with my mom the whole time and my phone was going to die, so she was all worried. Literally it was 10 minutes and the water was already over my tires and I thought we're going to get flooded. But police were escorting us," she said.

Independence Heights - Sally Mamdooh

What's happening: Several homes flooded in the Independence Heights area where roads were saturated with rising waters for hours. Residents who live there are now dealing with the aftermath of rising water inside their homes. Many will have to rip through floors and throw away their furniture.

Quote of note: "I have been going through it so much and I'm so tired. It just drains you and I'm just tired of everything," said Natasha Crockett.

Kingwood - Keith Garvin

What's happening: Families already are beginning the recovery process after Imelda caused flooding. They are ripping out carpet and mucking their homes or have hired cleanup crews to do the job.

Fact of note: One family – the Wipers – have been in their home for 42 years. In all that time they've faced a number of storms, from Harvey, to Ike, to Claudette and Alicia. They said this is the first time they have been flooded.

Beaumont - Mario Diaz

What's happening: The mission in Beaumont was simple in spirit, yet complex in reality. Navigate deep floodwaters any way possible to get residents underwater to dry land. A large area of the city was underwater in the area of 11th Street. Hundreds rescued over the course of the day by high water vehicles as well as vessels.  The Coast Guard also provided aerial support in the operations with multiple choppers. Many flood evacuees telling KPRC 2 the rains of Imelda were significantly worse than Harvey. Officials opened up two shelters in Beaumont with overnight accommodations provided. However, as the day came to a close, it was hard not to reflect on the images on the streets of Beaumont. Many were similar to what Houstonians saw two years ago.  Perhaps the most impactful was the image once again of  Texans coming together to do what Texans do best, take care of their own.

Quote of note: "We're just trying to take care of our people. Take care of our people."

Northeast Houston - Rose-Ann Aragon

What's happening: Water made it impossible for many cars to pass through the intersection. Residents helped to push people's cars out of harm's way. Others use their vehicles to push stalled cars out of the intersection. Some people waited more than 8 hours at a nearby gas station to make sure conditions were safe. Meanwhile, other local residents waited because their car was a total loss. All in all, many residents there said the Houston spirit of lending a helping hand shined through.

Quote of note: "All these cars, we have helped. We've been here helping them. The water in some areas is waist-deep," Juan Mata said. Mata helped push cars to safety.

Humble - Bill Barajas 

What's happening: A man who was pulled from a submerged van on Will Clayton and Eastex Freeway was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Facts to know: Good Samaritans and a rescue crew made the effort to search for the driver. The sheriff said the driver stopped briefly before accelerating into the water. The van was completely submerged in the floodwaters.

The Heights - Jonathan Martinez 

What's happening: Drivers are patiently waiting for Imelda floodwaters on I-45 at Main Street to recede.

Facts to know: Most drivers said they underestimated how deep the water was on the freeway and had to leave their stranded vehicles. 

Kingwood - Bill Spencer

What's happening: Kingwood residents in shock to find home flooded for the second time in four months. 

Facts to know: Residents said they were still repairing the damage that was made during Hurricane Harvey. 

North Houston - Bill Barajas 

What's happening: Good Samaritans rescued a driver of an 18-wheeler on the exit of Greens Road near Highway 59 and Beltway 8. 

Facts to know: Commuters are asked to avoid driving due to several roadways being unpassable due to Imelda's flooding 

Denver Harbor - Jacob Rascon 

What's happening: Water is approaching the doorsteps of homes in the area. Rascon helped a family get out of their home and into a truck

Fact to know: Jose, who lives in the neighborhood, said the flooding in his neighborhood is approaching some of the worst he's ever seen.

Beaumont - Mario Diaz

What's happening: A man with a high-profile vehicle is helping rescue people in the Beaumont. He has been loading people into the bed of his truck and transporting them to a nearby H-E-B.

Fact to know: An elderly woman was one of the people who had to be rescued. She is in a wheelchair and had to evacuate her home. The woman was smiling as she was being loaded up and said she is wet but otherwise OK.

Cut and Shoot - Robert Arnold

Whats happening: Some businesses in the area have taken on water and the water has been slow to recede despite the rain stopping. Some homes have also taken on water. Several cars have also stalled out. The water has a strong current as it drains. 

Fact to know: At least two shelters are open in the area. The water has been slow to recede due to heavy amounts of debris blocking drains. People are advised to not walk through flood water.

Aldine Bender - Joel Eisenbaum

What's happening: A building for the United State Postal Service has collapsed on Aldine Bender Road. The roof to the mail distribution facility collapsed around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. There were people inside at the time of the incident. 

Fact to know: The Houston Fire Department responded to the incident. Three employees had to be transported to a hospital with minor injuries. All others were evacuated from the facility.

Beaumont - Mario Diaz

What's happening: Officers from Texas Game Warden are out in the severe weather conducting water rescues. The area was hit extremely hard. There are several houses under water in the area. 

Fact to know: Texas Game Wardens said they know of at least one family that is trapped inside a house.

Near Bush Intercontinental Airport - Joel Eisenbaum

What's happening: People trying to get to the airport are having a hard time due to flooded conditions in the area near Aldine Westfield and the Beltway. There is no power in the area. Deputy constables have been closing the low spot of the frontage road. Some people have gotten 

Fact to know: Aldine ISD Child Development Center has been without power for multiple hours. Inside there are children describes as infants and very young toddlers. There is no air conditioning and very limited lighting. However, the children inside are safe.

TRANSTAR - Brittany Jeffers

What's happening: City officials have been keeping a close eye on the severe weather caused by Imelda. Their focus is going to shift to the creeks and bayous that are rising. The grounds are saturated and rising waters are a cause for more concern. 

Fact to know: Harris County has moved to an activation level one. Turkey Creek and Clear Creek are both at dangerous levels and officials will be keeping a close eye on them.

 

Devers, Texas - Bill Barajas

What's happening: Water is dangerously close entering homes in the area. Residents have been monitoring conditions and are calling the conditions worse than Harvey.

Quote of note: "We got here at like 6 in the morning, we came to check and I couldn't believe it," one resident said. "It was a lot higher than what it is (but) it's almost in. We had to pull the truck back a little bit. It didn't start anymore. (There is) a little bit of water in the laundry room. I don't remember seeing it like this."

Hwy 59 at FW 1960 in Kingwood - Bill Spencer

What's happening: The road is completely impassable. People have continued to try to drive through the water but eventually pullover or drive against traffic due to high water. Multiple cars have stalled out.

Fact to know: People are being advised to avoid the area. Some cars have gotten through, but the water level is above some cars' headlights.

Conroe, Texas - Robert Arnold

What's happening: The water has only receded a little on I-45 near Loop 336, but the rain has let up in the area so there is a light on the horizon. Multiple cars have stalled out in the area and at least three people had to get rescued. 

Fact to know: The ground in the area is saturated and cars are getting stuck in the mud. Though the rain has stopped, the water has been slow to recede. People are advised to avoid the area.

Winnie, Texas near FM 124 - Vincent Crivelli

What's happening: Rising waters and a number of vehicles stalled in floodwaters.

Fact to know: A mass evacuation is underway in Winnie. However, many people are now stuck in roadways. Officials now saying people should stay put to avoid getting stuck in rising waters

Near Winnie, Texas - Brandon Walker

What's happening: A KPRC 2 crew witnessed a rescue along State Highway 65 as rain continues to fall. People in a large truck managed to help a woman leave her flooded home where she'd been all night watching the waters rise. She'll be headed to her granddaughter's home in Winnie for a place on higher ground.

Fact to know: The water is rising along the State Highway 65. The lightning has been "frightening," according to Walker. Officials are telling people to stay inside if at all possible. Some vehicles have been abandoned near the roadway.

Kingwood, Texas - Amy Davis

What's happening: Steady rain is falling on the roadways, but conditions are expected to get worse. Many schools closed in anticipation of that concern for later in the morning. An H-E-B in the area that was impacted by Harvey is facing the threat of taking on water yet again.

Quote to note: "I went to (Orange Theory) to exercise this morning at 7 and it was barely raining ... when I tried to leave at 8, I couldn't get out," one woman said. "My husband is OK at our home. My daughter in Eagle Springs has water up to her front door sidewalk, so I hope it doesn't come in her house."

Splendora/Cleveland, Texas - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: Some areas of rising waters as rain continues to fall. Police departments are working to check on people and set up barricades where flooding is occurring. 

Fact to know: There are reports of water in homes, but officials have not rescued anyone yet. A homeowner tells KPRC 2 that there are homes flooded, but KPRC 2 has not been able to reach those homes due to rising water. 

Wednesday

I-10 East near North Wayside Drive - Rose-Ann Aragon

What's happening: Heavy rain caused poor visibility and made some drivers to drive slowly with hazards.

Fact to know: Heavy rain also impacted the downtown area near Webster and Fannin. Intermittent heavy rain was reported throughout the area.

Galveston - Brittany Jeffers

What's happening: After significant downpours and flooded streets the rain has finally subsided for the time being. Heavy rain came in waves during the overnight hours and through the majority of Wednesday afternoon. Several streets in the area were barricaded due to flooding.

Quote of note: According to the assistant fire chief of Galveston, the flooding was manageable and there were no requests for high water rescues.

Sargent (Caney Creek neighborhood) - Bill Barajas

What's happening: Sargent residents are still dealing with high water and flooding in their communities. They saw about 17.2 inches of water over the past 24 hours.

Quote of note: Resident Jeff Kaylor: "We had a guy come through here, he'd been here 21 years or 20 years or so and he says he's never seen it like this."

Clear Creek in Friendswood - Jacob Rascon

What's happening: Clear Creek overflowed onto several properties in Friendswood during Imelda. The Putnam family woke up to their house surrounded by water. Retired schoolteacher Susan Putnam said it happens on average a couple of times each year.

Quote of note: Susan Putnam: "Our philosophy is as long as we can do the cleanup, we'll stay here. When we can't do it anymore, we'll move."

Freeport - Brandon Walker

What's happening: Floodwaters covered several roads in the coastal Brazoria County town, blocking some people from being able to get back home. Crews were working to pump the water into the drainage system and move it to the Gulf of Mexico.

Quote of note: "We've been fortunate this rain has come in bands and it gives our pumps an opportunity to catch up. We did bring in extra pumps as we did in Harvey."

Southeast Texas - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: Several cars were stalled along Monroe Boulevard near Hobby Airport after drivers unsuccessfully tried to drive through water that was covering the roads there. Other motorists decided to help by pushing some of the cars off the road.

Quote of note: "I seen a smaller car make it. I thought I could make it, too. Wasn't going to happen."

Galveston - Vincent Crivelli

What's happening: Drivers are trying to navigate flooded roads in the coastal town. Some are being forced to abandon their vehicles as the water continues to rise.

Quote of note: "We were driving in my car, and my car started making all these weird noises because of the water."

TRANSTAR - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: The Harris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is at a level three increased readiness. They have been watching the weather conditions closely in an effort to keep people as safe as Imelda moves through the area.

Quote of note: "We're seeing heavier rain in southeast Harris County (and) southeast of the county," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. "Of course, the center of the storm is moving north around Montgomery. There is going to be a lull, but we can't let people let their guard down because as the weather heats up, more rain is going to com inland from the ocean ... We don't know yet exactly where, so we are asking the entire community to be aware. Don't let your guard down."

TRANSTAR - Cathy Hernandez

What's happening: Harris County meteorologist Jeff Lindner has been watching the conditions closely and says there is still more rain to come. Lindner said some areas near Matagorda County have seen nearly 10 inches of rain, which shows how powerful the storm can be. He is warning people to pay attention to the weather and be careful on the roads.

Quote of note: "We've had anywhere from 5 to 6 inches of rain in the southeast part of the county (with) isolated up to 9 inches around Ellington Field," Lindner said. "We do have some water down in those locations. We do have some elevated creeks and bayous down there, but the good news is all of the remained in their banks this morning except for a small portion of Clear Creek … The main concern going forward is the additional heavy rainfall possibly this afternoon … We're about 24 hours into this event, we have 24 hours still to go."

Turkey Creek - Brandon Walker

What's happening: Levels for Turkey Creek have held steady as Imelda pushes through the area. Though it did swell, the levels have dropped throughout the course of the night. Neighbors said the area has been known to flood in the past, but as of now, the roads are clear. The creek peaked at about 27 feet. The area has gotten around 8.5 inches of rain so far.

Quote of note: "I think it will be okay, looks like we got a clear opening for two or three hours, but you never can tell," said John Fox, who lives in a subdivision near Turkey Creek.

Friendswood near FM 528 and Clear Creek - Vincent Crivelli

What's happening: No homes have flooded in the Friendswood area, but the rain has been coming down hard. There is a flooded playground, but it is located near a retention pond that backs up to Clear Creek, which is flooded causing the water to spill onto the playground. Homes near the playground are elevated a few feet, but city officials said the water levels are expected to continue rising. The flood stage is at 12 feet, but the creek is forecast to rise to about 16 feet this afternoon.

Quote of note: "I would be very concerned," said one are resident. "Our neighbors here … if it rises another two or three feet, there going to be issue in their house. If we got 15 to 28 inches now … for all of these houses down here that are really just recovered from Harvey, would be devastating."

Hobby Airport - Amy Davis

What's happening: There is high water over the curbs for a few blocks of Monroe Road. Larger pickup trucks are making it through, but traveling in this area is not advised. Several cars were left in parking lots on higher ground. Multiple cars have stalled out at a nearby gas station and people are waiting for the water to recede.

Quote of note: "It flooded around 10:30 p.m.," said one person at the gas station. "My car is low profile, so I couldn't get it on the street and the water has risen since then." The man said he saw a GM Yukon get towed, and while it was getting towed, a Ford Focus drove through the water with no issues.

Tuesday

Angleton - Rose-Ann Aragon

What's happening: Rain was pouring in Angleton on Tuesday night. In a short amount of time, Angleton police said the streets all over the city were flooded. The city pumps, according to police, couldn't keep up with all the rain. Now residents are advised to stay inside and conserve water. Police are asking residents to even refrain from flushing the toilet in hopes to help prevent back-ups due to flooding.

Quote of note: Angleton resident Kyle Lively: "The roads are flooded. It's hard to drive around."
Angleton resident Jawuan Branch: "I see lots of water, lots of flooding. They are about halfway up my tires at home. I could see the pumps flowing, they're moving real fast but they're not keeping up with the weather."

Southeast Houston - Keith Garvin

What's happening: Rain has steadily increased over the past several hours. Harris County meteorologist and director of flood operations Jeff Lindner said area creeks and bayous have held up fairly well so far but they have a lot to monitor overnight.

Quote of note: Lindner: "Really, east of I-45 is kind of the threat area for tonight into tomorrow morning. So far, we've been able to handle the rain, even down into our south where they've had some of the heavier totals. (There have been) No widespread flooding reported as of yet. So, we've been fortunate in the fact that we've been able to handle this rain so far so we'll see how that continues tonight."

Friendswood - Sally Mamdooh

What's happening: Residents were concerned because the area is prone to flooding and is in the flood plain.

Number to know: The city has seven creeks.

Channelview - Taisha Walker

What's happening: Steady rain is falling as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constables have a fleet of high water vehicles ready to go, should flooding occur.

Quote of note: Constable Sherman Eagleton: "When the weather advisory tells you to stay in, please stay in. Let's pay attention and not drive through it."

SE Houston - Rose-Ann Aragon

What's happening: Along I-45, slick roads were reported around 3 p.m. Traffic was moving slowly. Some vehicles were stopped on the freeway due to the conditions.

Pasadena - Phil Archer

What's happening: Steady rain fell in Pasadena on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Pasadena ISD will decide whether it will cancel the day's classes. The Pasadena Rodeo is still on for this weekend, but trailers have been requested to be moved off the soft ground. Minor street flooding is expected as Tropical Storm Imelda moves through.

Quote of note: Pasadena's emergency management coordinator Frank Bengochea: "In the southeast part of Harris County, it has been raining since midnight and it's received about 3 inches of rain, so any rain you get on top of that, the bayous are already flooded and there's a great potential for additional flooding, so we got to be prepared."

Alvin - Syan Rhodes

What's happening: City officials said they're considering Imelda as a heavy rain event and are staging barricades around low-lying areas in case of street flooding. Officials said earlier forecasts for the area predicted 12 inches of rain over three days, but they're not sure they will end up with that amount.

Quote of note: Dixie Roberts, the spokesperson for the city of Alvin: "We're not anticipating any flooding in homes. We just want people to be careful when they're out and about in the city, don't go through standing water, turn around, don't drown that's the most important thing."

Galveston Fire Station No 1 - Bill Barajas

What's happening: Texas Task Force One was deployed to Galveston on Tuesday in case of flooding. Fire departments from Longview and Fort Worth made the trip. They also brought along several high-water vehicles and boats. The task force will remain in Galveston until it's no longer needed and is standing by in case of an emergency.

What is Texas Task Force One? It's a statewide search and rescue group.

Pearland - Brittany Jeffers

What's happening: The coordinator for Emergency Management with the city of Pearland said that they don't anticipate Imelda to be a severe flooding event, but crews will monitor the area for localized street flooding and keep an eye on the surrounding creeks.

Quote of note: Peter Martin, the emergency management coordinator for the city of Pearland: "We do have a number of high-water response vehicles, and we have teams composed of firefighters and public works (employees) and we can activate them at a moment's notice and get them in the streets, but we don't believe that will be necessary."

Space Center Houston

What's happening: A massive tree toppled onto NASA Parkway during the storm, blocking a couple of lanes. Police directed traffic around the tree while public works and Nassau Bay Firefighters chopped it up.

 

Public Works called the Nassau Bay Fire Department. Firefighters with chainsaws will take care or that tree in no time. This is on NASA Parkway across from Space Center Houston. Two lanes blocked.

Posted by KPRC2 Jacob Rascon on Tuesday, September 17, 2019