Tag Archive for: FM2090

East Fork Homes Flooding, Another Flood Watch Issued

May 1, 2024 – Even as East Fork homes are flooding, the National Weather Service has issued another Flood Watch for the region.

Monday’s Storm Brings Wednesday’s Flood

The stormwater from last Sunday night/Monday morning that’s flooding homes near the East Fork San Jacinto could get reinforcements tonight. Another powerful storm is approaching and will collide with moisture laden air from the Gulf later day.

That caused the National Weather Service to issue another flood watch from 10 PM this evening until Thursday evening for Houston and Harris County.

That same NWS bulletin also says that a flood warning remains in effect for the East Fork San Jacinto near New Caney affecting Liberty, Montgomery and Harris Counties.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County’s meteorologist, warned in his midday report that “Widespread amounts of 2-5 inches are likely with isolated totals of 6-9 inches. High hourly rainfall rates will be likely on the order of 2-4 inches which will produce rapid onset flash flooding.”

Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston Already Taxed to Max

The additional rainfall could overburden already overtaxed watersheds. “There is no capacity at either Lake Livingston or Lake Conroe,” said Lindner. “Additional inflows and run-off will have to pass through the dams’ floodgates.”

Although Lindner expects the heaviest rains to stay north of Harris County, “There is some potential that some of the heavy rainfall reaches into northern Harris County overnight,” he added.

If so, the storm could impact Spring, Cypress, Little Cypress, and Willow Creeks as well as the tributaries in northern Waller and southwestern Montgomery Counties, such as Lake Creek.

Lindner says significant rises will be possible depending on the rainfall amounts and patterns. Flash flooding will be likely where heavy rains occur.

That could deal a devastating blow to homes already flooding along the East Fork.

East Fork Photos Taken Morning of Mayday Flood

Pictures taken this morning between 9 and noon showed roads flooded out and many homes and vehicles already underwater.

TXDoT closed FM1485 at the East Fork/Montgomery County line.
SH99 on left, FM1485 on right.

Streets close to the river also flooded.

Looking S. Casey Road on left flooding from East Fork on right.
Home with flooded vehicles and heavy equipment at Casey and Spaulding.
Flooded homes at Casey and Green.
Cypress Hollow just N of SH99.

I took more than a hundred photos like these this morning. Some people were lucky with the water stopping just feet from their homes. Other people were not so lucky. They will need help.

Colony Ridge, Plum Grove and FM2090

Farther north, I explored Colony Ridge and Plum Grove near FM2090.

One of the main entrances to Colony Ridge where it approaches Plum Grove Road

The water there was already starting to recede. But still, many roads were barely passable. Most smaller vehicles did not brave the water.

Opposite angle, same intersection. Unable to see the sides of the road, traffic tried to stay close to the centerline to stay out of the ditches.
Looking NW over East Fork. FM2090 was still passable, but water lapped at the bottom of the bridge. The East Fork completely flooded the abandoned sand mine (upper right) and swept sediment out of mine.

Ironically, even though I could see my way out of Colony Ridge (from the air), I could not get to FM2090 on the ground because of floodwaters. I had to drive south to SH99 to return home.

Dunnam Road Boat Launch

Back in Kingwood, I called a friend on Dunnam Road. She said her boat launch flooded and that water was lapping at the first house coming up the hill.

Dunnam Road boat launch.
Note water surrounding house adjacent to boat dock. Luckily it did not flood and water is receding as of 4PM.
This young man appeared to be making the most of the flood by giving his daughter a fishing lesson. A neighbor told me he’s been doing that since she was born!

Posted by Bob Rehak on May 1, 2024

2437 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Homes Going Up on 600 Acres Along Gully Branch in Splendora

Phases One and Two of two new developments on FM2090, Townsend Reserve and Presswoods, appear to have finished clearcutting and building stormwater retention basins. They are now building streets and homes along Gully Branch, which has been channelized through the developments in Splendora.

More than 1,000 Acres at Buildout

Together, the developments eventually comprise more than 1,000 acres at buildout.

Splendora Developments on 2090

Knock on deadwood. I’ve heard no complaints yet about neighbors being flooded. Please contact me, however, if you have information to the contrary.

Photos Taken on 4/2/2023

The photos below show the first 600 acres. Assuming six houses to the acre, the land you see below could soon hold approximately 3,600 homes.

But according to the Census Bureau, Splendora currently has a population of 1,780 people. And this real estate site says the city has 737 housing units.

So get ready for some change. These two developments could bring 10,000 new residents to Splendora, increasing the population more than 5X.

Looking SE from the midpoint of the two developments across the entry to Presswoods.
Looking S from the same point. Gully Branch is now a drainage ditch that parallels the tree line that bisects the frame from L to R.
Looking SW toward Townsend Reserve along FM2090.
Looking E from over Townsend Reserve toward Presswoods. Note how Gully Branch has been channelized and framed by stormwater retention basins.
Farther east, still looking east toward US59 from over Presswoods.

For People with a Passion for Rural Living

The developments are all south of FM2090 opposite Splendora High School, Junior High and Piney Woods Elementary.

Presswoods seems to be developing faster than Townsend Reserve. DR Horton, the nation’s largest homebuilder is already selling homes in Presswoods. They range in size from 1.400 to 2.300 SF and in price from $220,000 to $300,000.

As I flew over this area today, I couldn’t help but wonder where all these new residents would shop. Splendora has several dollar stores, a small grocery store and some fast food. And growth will inevitably attract more retail. But the nearest major retail center is Valley Ranch, 10+ miles to the south.

Moving to areas like this requires a passion for rural life, a tolerance for long commutes, and a desire to stretch your housing dollar.

New Rainfall Estimates, Old Flood Maps

The drainage impact analyses for these developments are based on Atlas-14, but old flood maps. It’s not clear yet whether Montgomery County intends to update its flood maps for this area or when. The latest drainage criteria manual on the County’s
Engineering website is dated 2019.

Before I bought a home here, I would want to make sure my house was elevated far above street level.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/2/2023

2042 Days since Hurricane Harvey

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

Splendora Development Exploding

Splendora is exploding with growth. On FM2090 west of U.S.59 near the Splendora High School, two new developments have already cleared 598 acres and have another 611 to go. Together, they could easily quintuple the population of a rural town that only had 1900 residents in the last census.

Development Well Underway

I first covered this story in January. The developers have made remarkable progress since then. Townsend Reserve, Ltd. and Forestar USA, have built drainage, utilities, stormwater detention basins, roads and model homes on most of the land already cleared. Now, they’re building the first homes for sale. Rural, sleepy Splendora will soon change forever.

Here’s the layout and photos of work in progress.

Splendora Developments on 2090
Green = acreage under development. Red = not yet cleared. From Montgomery County Appraisal District.

Forestar USA has named its development Presswoods. Townsend Reserve USA has simply called its Townsend Reserve.

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Looking east along FM2090 at expanse of two developments. Splendora High School on right.

Closer Look at Detention Basins

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Close up from shot above. Two detention ponds in Presswoods by Forestar USA bracket Gully Branch. Gully Branch drains into Peach Creek and eventually the East Fork of the San Jacinto.
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Another Forestar USA detention basin in the foreground. Looking West.
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Looking NE at a fourth detention basin on Townsend Reserve that parallels Gully Branch.
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Entrance to Townsend Reserve from FM2090 on right. Note yet another long detention basin that parallels the entry road on the left. Looking NW toward FM2090.
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First of the new homes going up.

Three things strike me about these photos.

  • Stormwater detention basins everywhere you look. Let’s hope the volume is sufficient. Engineers based their calculations on pre-Harvey runoff estimates. As other developers clear additional forests beyond these, drainage assumptions could change radically.
  • Huge financial risk. As interest rates continue to climb, will there be buyers for these homes?
  • Vast expanse of forests surrounding the developments. They seem endless. But not for long.

People hoping to find a quiet life in the country are gobbling up the very thing they seek.

Maybe this is inevitable. Developers tell me that smaller lot sizes and higher density don’t allow them to preserve trees anymore. Builders just plant one in the front yard when they’re done.

Population Impact

It’s not exactly clear yet how many homes the developers hope to build here. But in the last census, Splendora’s population was only 1,900 people. Even if they just built 5 homes per acre on 800 developable acres and the average household size was 3, that would mean 12,000 people could live here – more than 6X the current population.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/10/22

1868 Days since Hurricane Harvey

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

Rampaging East Fork Floodwaters Cut New Path Through Plum Grove Sand Mine

The sign outside the abandoned Texas Concrete Sand and Gravel Mine in Plum Grove tells readers that an RV resort is coming soon. They might want to rethink that concept. Yesterday, rampaging floodwaters destroyed most of the mine except for a small area near the entry on FM1010.

Classic Example of Pit Capture

The East Fork rerouted itself right through the heart of the mine, sweeping away almost everything in its path. The river swelled to more than half a mile wide and ruptured dikes in at least four places when the river rose 10 feet in 24-hours.

The East Fork at this location rose 15 feet in three days, 10 of those in one day.
Normal course of river is red line on west side of mine. During flood, the river broke through the dike on the north side. Then floodwater filled the mine like a water balloon which burst in multiple places on the south side. Water now follows the yellow line.

This is a classic example of what geologists call pit or river capture. The East Fork entered the northern side of the mine and exited at multiple points on the south. Current coming out of the mine exceeded that in the river itself, carrying mud and muck downstream.

Flooding Based on Less than 10-Year Rain

The gage at this location indicated Plum Grove received only 3.36 inches of rain over a three-day period. However, up to 8 inches fell upstream from here, primarily during a two-day period. Jeff Lindner, Harris County’s meteorologist characterized the rains that produced the flood as, “Generally less than a 10-year event for the 48-hour time period.”

Pictures Taken on 5/3/2021

I took all of the shots below on 5/3/2021, three days after the major portion of the rain fell on April 30.

Looking north at the northernmost portion of the mine. The river appears to have entered the mine in this area. Note the dike in the far distance that’s not visible in the tree-line on the left.
Wider shot, still looking north toward entry point shows white water ripping through mine.
Looking south, you can see that the water in the mine is now higher and faster than the water in the river to the right.
Still looking south toward FM2090, now the only way in and out of Plum Grove. FM1485 is closed due to high water and FM1010 was washed out during Harvey by runoff from Colony Ridge to the southeast.
Looking north across FM2090. Where the water exits the mine, you can see that the force of the main flow is now misaligned with the bridge opening.
The width of the mine is now the width of the river…plus the river. Only the entry of the mine at the upper right remains above water at this time.
Looking east from over FM2090.

Danger of 2090 Washout in Next Big Flood?

Unless someone reroutes the river back to its original course and fixes the dikes, the current through the mine will continue to erode the banks of the roadway at the top of the image above.

These images dramatize the need for real sand-mining reform in Texas. There’s some evidence that Imelda did the same thing to this mine two years ago. But the TCEQ forced the company to repair the dikes. Now that the miners are gone, who will do that?

Plum Grove was lucky that upstream rains only amounted to a ten-year event. A larger storm could have cut the City and Colony Ridge off from the only viable evacuation route. More than 20,000 people would have been affected.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/3/2021

1343 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 592 since Imelda

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