Tag Archive for: Ulrich

Childhood Terror From Harvey: Ulrich Family’s Experience and Letter to SJRA Board

Colleen Ulrich gave me permission to share her family’s Hurricane Harvey experience. She captured the terror in this letter to the San Jacinto River Authority Board. It supports the continued seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe to provide a buffer against flooding until other mitigation measures can be put in place. Her home did not flood UNTIL AFTER the Lake Conroe release.

Full Text of Ulrich Letter

Dear SJRA Board Members,

The purpose of my email is to petition all SRJA Board Members to approve the temporary, seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe for 2020.
As an introduction, I have been a resident of Kingwood since August 2005 when I evacuated from New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. We never moved back because our family fell in love with our adopted state of Texas and our adopted home town of Kingwood. I live in the Barrington neighborhood with my husband and 10-year-old daughter. Our home was flooded with 2 feet 2 inches of water in August 2017. 

Colleen Ulrich’s vehicle during Hurricane Harvey after Lake Conroe release. This photo and those below courtesy of Colleen Ulrich. All used with permission.

 Childhood Memories

One of the issues that those opposed to the temporary, seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe is that they feel deprived of their ability to enjoy the lake and to create fun summer time boating memories for their families and children. As a mother and Kingwood resident, I am petitioning you to vote in favor of the temporary, seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe to ensure the safety of my child and all of the children of Kingwood and to ensure none of the Kingwood area children have any memories similar to the ones that were created from the flood in August 2017. 

Colleen Ulrich’s dining room during Hurricane Harvey after the SJRA opened the flood gates on Lake Conroe.

Our daughter, Alexandra, was 7 1/2 at the time and her memories include sitting on our stairwell alone in our home while my husband carried me on his back to be evacuated by boat because the quickly rising water was too high and the current too strong for me to walk by myself. Alexandra’s memories include riding in that same boat out of our neighborhood and seeing the houses with up to 4 feet of water in them. Alexandra’s memories include having her childhood bedroom destroyed by floodwaters.

I promise you that these memories will never fade for her.

The Ulrich living room after the Lake Conroe release during Harvey.

Fun Vs. Safety

So I petition to the Board, what is more important – creating fleeting childhood memories of a boat ride in the summer on Lake Conroe or averting traumatic childhood memories of a flood? 

What is more important – the perceived Lake Conroe falling property values or the safety of our children and residents?

Heirlooms underwater.

I am in agreement that the lowering of Lake Conroe and Lake Houston are both temporary solutions. And of course these temporary solutions should be revisited once all of the other permanent measures including the installation of additional gates in Lake Houston are put in place. But until that time, I pray that you will make the right decision and keep the temporary, seasonal lowering in place until permanent measures can ensure the safety of all the children and of all the residents of Kingwood and the surrounding areas.  

Ulrich kitchen, cabinets and appliances destroyed.
The piano that’s not so grand since Harvey.

Video of Evac

For your consideration, my husband recorded this video and posted it on YouTube so we can remind others of the trauma of that day.  This was his boat ride out of Barrington.

I appreciate your service to our community and your consideration of my appeal to approve the lowering of Lake Conroe.


Colleen Ulrich

Address and Phone Number Withheld for Purposes of This Post

Tell the SJRA Board about your Harvey experience and why you would like to see them continue lowering Lake Conroe seasonally until other flood mitigation measures can be put in place. Come to the next board meeting and tell them in person or write them by visiting https://www.sjra.net/about/board/. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the email form.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/18/2020

872 Days after Hurricane Harvey