Tag Archive for: Daniel Moore

Flooded 3 Times in 7 Years in 500-Year Floodplain, But No Buyout

Daniel and Kathleen Moore live with their 8-month old baby near the East Fork San Jacinto in Montgomery County. The young couple desperately wants a buyout after their house on Idle Glen in New Caney flooded three times in seven years. But no buyout is in sight.

When they bought the home, they were told it was in the 500-year floodplain. In fact, Montgomery County flood maps still show their home is in the 500-year (.2% annual chance) floodplain.

However, that determination is based on floodplain data from the 1980’s – before the Moores were even born. And since then, the area upstream from them has boomed with new development.

New Upstream Development Invalidates Old Data

For instance, Colony Ridge, just 2.5 miles to the northeast on the other side of the river, has grown 50% larger than Manhattan since 2010 – with virtually no flood mitigation measures on the East Fork side of the area.

In one seven year stretch (2017 to 2024), the Moores flooded three times. During Harvey, they flooded to nine feet. In Imelda, they got one foot. And in the no-name storm of May 2024, five feet of floodwater destroyed everything in the bottom floor of their home.

Said Daniel, “I figured Harvey was extreme. I didn’t worry too much about that. But the next two storms were different. We just can’t afford to rebuild every two or three years.” Daniel works as a mechanic. “The pay isn’t that great,” he says. “We need to move.”

Rebuilding Without Flood Insurance

After the first two floods, they rebuilt the home with money from their own pockets – without benefit of insurance. But with a new baby, they can no longer afford that.

The Moores’ story underscores how inexperience can hamstring young couples on technical issues, such as floodplain delineation and flood insurance.

The moral of this story: before you invest in a new home, consult with a professional hydrologist about the risk. Talk to neighbors about past flooding. Look for tell-tale signs like mold on neighbors’ homes, rotting wood, and elevated structures.

And buy flood insurance. It’s available through FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. Not all agents feel the commission justifies the trouble of handling it, especially if the home has a history of flooding, so you may get mixed signals from them. Shop around.

Moore Photos During and After May 2024 Flood

Daniel tried to return home after spending the first night with his family in a motel. He couldn’t get onto the feeder road from SH99. This picture shows FM1485 totally flooded.

FM1485 on second day of flood.
Raging waters reached the top of the street sign and nearly touched the power wires.
Floodwater jumbled the living room furniture.
Another room totaled.

Cleanup after the Flood

I took the following shots on 5/18/24. As Daniel worked to gut his uninhabitable home once again, his wife tended the baby at her mother’s home.

Living room of Daniel and Kathleen Moore destroyed by flooding in May 2024
Daniel points to height of flood waters. For reference, he is 6’5″ tall.
Possessions carted to curb and picked over by scavengers.

Scavengers feel, “What difference does it make? They’re throwing this out anyway.” But it makes flood victims feel victimized all over again. Daniel says he’s found people picking through his belongings every day since the flood.

Floodwater reached the top of Kathleen’s Tahoe. It floated during the flood and turned 90 degrees. No one knows where the phone pole came from.
Daniel, tired, bewildered, and still a bit dazed.

But the Moores’ trials and tribulations are not over.

Buyout Chances

The Moores have had a hard time connecting with anyone in Montgomery County who will offer them a buyout.

Ironically, the fact that they are in a 500-year floodplain that hasn’t been updated in 40 years could hurt their buyout chances. FEMA scoring generally favors those with higher risk.

FEMA also favors homeowners with flood insurance. That’s because buying out the homeowners would likely save FEMA money on insurance reimbursements after multiple floods.

But that’s not all.

River Rising Again

Before leaving the Moores’ home, I put my drone up and saw this.

East Fork rising again. Out of banks and flooding FM1485 (right) near 1 PM on May 18, 2024. Looking E. Note river on middle right already had risen over one road in the neighborhood. Daniel says FM1485 is totally under water now.

As of 6 PM, the National Weather service shows the river is still rising. They predict it will crest tonight just under major flood stage near 69 feet.

NWS prediction as of 5:52 PM on 5/28/24 for gage within blocks of Moore home.

That should bring the water close to the Moores’ front door again.

As I drove around his neighborhood, I marveled at the number of abandoned and flooded homes. One can only wonder whether this neighborhood will survive.

Please pray for the safety of all who live there.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/18/24

2454 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 2 Weeks since the No-Name Flood of 2024