When Melissa Alfaro noticed water rising in her garage last Monday morning, she was relieved when it looked like the rain was slowing down. So, at around 2:45, she went back to bed for a couple of hours.
"But then my grandson woke up to use the potty," Alfaro says. "And he stepped into the water when he got off the bunkbed and he started screaming, ‘There's water in the house!'"
It turns out the rain didn't stop and the family ended up with at least a foot of water in their house, located near Clay Road and Hwy 6 in West Houston.
"We actually saw snakes swimming inside the living room, so yeah, it was pretty scary," Alfaro added. Their neighborhood was just one of many areas hit hard by last week's devastating floods.
Fast forward a week later, where Alfaro's husband stands in the driveway, grilling dinner on the barbeque pit next to the open garage. Inside, signs of mildew are starting to show up on the sheetrock. Sitting on the curb of nearly half the homes on their block are piles of trash bags, soggy carpet, and carpet padding. The Alfaros lost most of their furniture, including the kids' beds.
The water may be out of a lot of homes, but some areas near the Addicks Reservoir are still completely submerged. On North Eldridge north of Interstate 10, for example, the road looks more like a boat ramp. Beyond the orange and white road blocks in the shadow of the Omni Hotel, the four-lane road is swallowed up by water. It's so high that only the treetops are showing.
Cecilia Valencia and her husband were on their way home from church and stopped to check out the sight. She says the road closures have made traffic brutal.
"I have a friend who works right here at Conoco Philips. We live ten minutes up the road it's taking her an hour now to get to work," Valencia says.
Further west, along Saums Rd. and Barker Cypress, plastic grocery bags and other leftover flood debris tangled in tree branches indicate how high the water had risen. As a couple of ducks paddle through what are normally soccer fields at Cullen Park, Doug Evans is about to get to work at the nearby Velodrome. His cycling organization operates the banked track inside the park, where they rent out a specialized type of bike. Because the containers holding nearly 40 cycles flooded, Evans explains, each one will have to be completely disassembled.
"All of the parts have to be taken off. Everything has to be cleaned, dried, re-lubricated, and then put back together," he says.
Back in Bear Creek Village, down the street from the Alfaro family, Michael Wilson is washing his car in the driveway. He's lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and says he's never seen anything like this flood.
"It is what it is," Wilson says. "We just have to go with the flow and take care of what we've got."