After the Memorial Day floods of 2015, many Meyerland residents, heeding statements from Harris County and City of Houston officials that they’d been hit by Biblical-like rains, were either in a panic or in business mode.
Now they’re just pissed off.
“It’s ridiculous at this point,” says Natalie Monzon, who, after Monday’s rains, has been forced to live in the upstairs of her Meyerland residence for the second time in 11 months.
Last May, 12 inches of floodwater destroyed the downstairs of her Braesvalley Drive home, located on the north side of Brays Bayou. During Monday’s storms, she said, anywhere from a half-inch to two inches of water made its way into the downstairs.
When the Houston Press spoke to Monzon on Tuesday, crews had already ripped out the sheetrock so that mold wouldn’t climb up the walls and cause further grossness. “If it’s one inch or 12 inches,” says Monzon, “it doesn’t matter when it gets into the sheetrock.”
More heartbreaking: Monzon says that aside from one under-construction bathroom, her home was back to the way it was before the Memorial Day storms destroyed it.
Sheldon Weisfeld (who shot the videos in this post) is in the same nightmarish boat/canoe/kayak. His low-lying Endicott Lane home is prone to flooding, but he had never seen anything like what happened during the Memorial Day floods, which ransacked his two-story home south of Brays Bayou with an estimated 44 inches.
On Monday, he estimated that his home, which was only days away from becoming like new, took in 26 to 27 inches of floodwater. “It had all the sheetrock installed and it was fully insulated. The contractor was actually going to show up today to finish the job,” said Weisfeld on Tuesday evening.
“There’s clearly gross negligence in how we manage our water control,” adds a frustrated, fed-up Weisfeld. As previously reported, Houston homes that had never flooded in the past are getting nailed with inches – and sometimes feet – of water.
There’s a reason for that, says George Scott, a former newspaper owner and reporter who’s running for a spot on the Katy Independent School District Board.
In the 1970s, when more and more farmland succumbed to urban development and 100-year floodplains came into existence, Fort Bend County enacted flood protections, says Scott. If a developer’s planned subdivision would negatively affect downstream communities in Fort Bend and Harris counties, government officials wouldn’t sign off on the development.
That changed somewhere along the line, says Scott, and now homes are flooding on a semi-regular basis.
“The people of Meyerland have lived in their homes safe and secure for generations. All of a sudden, their homes are being destroyed. Fort Bend County government has approved development that’s not consistent with the principle of the 100-year floodplain of ‘do no harm,’” says Scott. “By doing developments that aren’t consistent with ‘do no harm,’ they have devastated the community of Meyerland. Harris County’s role in this atrocity is yet to be determined, but the homeowners of Meyerland have been screwed and tattooed by Fort Bend County government.”
“It’s beyond human comprehension,” continues Scott. “It’s evil. It’s sinister. Something is wrong. The only mistake the homeowners of Meyerland have made is to own a home built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.”
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Though the downstream impact of storm water runoff remains an inexact science, a delayed flood-reduction project hasn’t thwarted flooding havoc in communities such as Meyerland, Westbury and Willow Meadows.
Project Brays, an arduous project that will widen and improve 21-mile Brays Bayou, is behind schedule because of funding delays. After the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Harris County Flood Control District widened the Brays Bayou section that incorporated the Texas Medical Center, they ditched the Meyerland portion of the channel and built a retention basin by Highway 6.
The Meyerland section of Project Brays had an original completion year of 2013. Since then, the area has flooded twice – and there’s more rain coming this week.
“The unfortunate citizens of Meyerland have apparently been preordained to become a detention pond for the Texas Medical Center,” says Scott.