Retention ponds and creeks are still filled around Sugar Land and Missouri City, one week after Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in Texas. Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert said Friday that the Brazos River at Richmond crested this morning at 55.18.
“We have a defined inundation area now; it’s not going to get bigger, it’s going to get smaller,” he said. “You can travel freely in the county, as long as it’s dry.”
The water back-up was evident in Quail Valley and Sienna Plantation. Beth Loos cleaned out her daughter’s home on Thunderbird Street, where water was deep enough that ducks were swimming down the street Friday.
“Everything’s ruined,” Loos said, looking at the pile of furniture moved to the backyard.
The home’s baseboards were ripped out to prevent mold from growing. Loos said the home has been in the family for 21 years and this was first time it flooded.
The American Red Cross’s shelters at Kempner and Thurgood Marshall High School closed Friday, with any remaining residents transferred to the mega shelter at NRG Center in Houston. When Thurgood Marshall High School opened to evacuees Monday, Willowridge High School Associate Principal Terence Hayden said all Fort Bend ISD staff members who were able to help were asked to so do.
Hayden said people slept in the Marshall High School gym and dance rooms, while there was a separate area for those with special needs. It was his first such experience taking care of young children and seniors under extreme circumstances.
“You’re taking care of people so you have to think of what people need,” he said. “If this happens again, I’ll know what to do.”
The shelter registered a total 607 people, about 200 of whom were children. Red Cross staff said about 30 remaining evacuees left the shelter Friday for NRG Center.
Some Marshall High School alumni also came back to help on Tuesday. Israel Griffin and Deja Packer attend Houston Community College but said they saw the news and decided to pitch in, whether it was building cots, passing out bottled water or even staying overnight to help the elderly and infants.
“It’s such a depressing time,” Griffin said, contemplating what possessions may have been flood damaged. “You have people who have lost memories.”
Aside from flooding, debris and destroyed buildings remained along Texas Parkway in Missouri City, after tornados were reported in the area earlier this week. Crews were cleaning out all three floors of an office building at Court Road, which took in rain water after winds shattered several windows.
Sugar Land First United Methodist Church has operated as a shelter since Monday, and by week’s end resident numbers had dropped from about 150 at its peak to 57 people. Area residents brought food, blankets, clothes and other items throughout the week and families brought their children to the church play with younger evacuees.
“Kids are very resilient and can make friendships very easily,” said Candy Fenwick, whose husband directs missions at the church.
Fenwick said that neighbors in the surrounding community also took the shelter’s laundry to their own homes to wash. And she said evacuees have shown such gratitude that many even helped around the facility.
“Sometimes it’s heard to tell the volunteers from the residents,” she said.
Now, the biggest need is cleaning supplies, masks, gloves and anyone willing to help clean out homes in the community. Crews were being assembled on Friday.
“All kinds of folks are just pitching in,” church facilities manager Jim Krahl said.
*Editor’s note: this story originally stated incorrectly that the aforementioned home on Thunderbird Street had mold growing and that was in its owners’ family for 30 years.
A map of the Brazos River’s inundation zone is available on the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management’s website.