Stunning New Imelda Images Show Stream of Muck Coming Down Shady Maple From Direction of Woodridge Village

Note: If you have pictures of Imelda that you would like to share, please send them in via the Submissions page on this web site. Remember to identify time, date, location and describe what’s happening in the photo.

Where Shady Maple intersects Rustling Elms in Elm Grove, Melanie Bankston and her husband captured some stunning images on the morning of September 19th as Imelda raged across the area. The images show a distinct zebra pattern in the water rushing down the street. Taken as a series, they indicate that:

  • Shady Maple (the street) initially flooded from pure rainwater, not Taylor Gully or Woodridge Village
  • Later, murky brown, sediment-laden water, streamed down the street
  • Woodridge Village did not contain its stormwater as the law mandates.

Because of the way Shady Maple curves, I’ve included this satellite image for orientation purposes. The red arrow indicates the angle of view in the photos. Bankston shot across Shady Maple toward the bridge on Rustling Elms and Taylor Gully.

At 9:37 a.m.

“At 9:37am that we couldn’t clearly see brown water,” said Blankston.

Video at 9:52

At 9:52 a.m. most of the water in the street is still running clear. Note the speed of the trash can as it floats by. Taylor Gully is in the background. You can see it under the crepe myrtle. Also note how the water in the street is rushing toward Taylor Gully, an indication that the water in the gully was lower than in the street.

By 10:37 a.m.

By 10:37 a.m., murky brown water was coming down Shady Maple from the direction of Woodridge Village, where Perry Homes had clearcut 268 acres without installing detention to hold a hundred year storm. Regulations and permits obligated them to do so. Note the distinct color difference between the rainwater that had been rising in the street and the new invading water.
This closer shot was taken seconds later. In it, you can see how the color of muddy water invading the street matches the color of muddy water in Taylor Gully behind the crepe myrtle. At this point in Taylor Gully, the water came almost exclusively from Woodridge Village.

By 11:25

By 11:25 a.m., Taylor Gully had overflowed. The two streams of muddy water merged and started to displace the clearer rainwater in the street.

Likely Path of Water from Woodridge

Erosion signs, silt fences that were pushed over, a trail of damaged homes, and eyewitness statements indicate that water from Woodridge backed up behind the twin culverts at the county line. At a certain point, the detention ponds started overflowing. That’s when water pushed into the streets of North Kingwood Forest and Elm Grove.

In North Kingwood Forest, the same types of evidence suggest that muddy water entered Right Way, then River Rose Court, turned the corner on Creek Manor toward Taylor Gully then turned again down Shady Maple toward Rustling Elms. There it turned another corner toward Taylor Gully, until the Gully came out of its banks.

Path of muddy water through the streets of North Kingwood Forest and Elm Grove toward the Bankston Home, Rustling Elms and Taylor Gully.

Emergency Evacuation for Second Time in Four Months

Keith Stewart who lives on the corner of Shady Maple and Creek Manor evacuated his family in a canoe toward Ford Road in Porter. He says the current coming down River Rose was so fast, he struggled against it.

Keith Stewart family evacuating Elm Grove on 9.19.19. Stewart had just made the turn from Creek Manor, north onto River Rose. He was struggling against the current while taking this shot. Shown in the picture are his wife Jennifer, son Gabriel, and brother-in-law Ambrose Johnson.

The water also overflowed into several surrounding streets, such as Forest Springs. There, Jeff Miller’s security camera picked up the same sudden surge of silty water.


Aside from the stunning and unusual amateur photography, the content of these images represents yet more evidence that Perry Homes, its subsidiaries and contractors failed to contain stormwater runoff as they were obligated to do by law. Hundreds of families in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest paid for that failure.

The Perry gang had only installed about a quarter of the detention on their site before Imelda. The other three quarters of the rain had to go somewhere else and it did.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/7/2019

769 Days after Harvey and 18 after Imelda

The thoughts expressed in this post represent my opinions on matters of public interest and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.