Contributed photo Nicole Clermont’s neighbourhood as waters rose.

Video: Former Red Deer resident uncertain when she can return to Houston home

Nicole Clermont is in Dallas with her family awaiting word that it is safe to return home

Nicole Clermont is among tens of thousands of Houston residents unsure when they can return home.

The long-time Red Deer resident who moved to Houston last fall had to flee her home earlier this week because of Hurricane Harvey.

She took refuge in a friend’s home and two days ago followed another family to Austin. The mother of a three- and six-year-old is now in Dallas, where she was joined by her husband Cody, who had been working in India when the hurricane hit and rushed home as soon as he could.

The Clermonts live in a Houston suburb called Sugar Land in a home leased by Cody’s employer, ME Global. Cody is working temporarily on a project in Texas.

When the hurricane hit, Sugar Land, which is southwest of downtown Houston, was among those under evacuation order.

Nicole, who lived in Red Deer for about nine years before moving last October to Texas, said she has since found out her adopted neighbourhood has escaped the worst.

“Our next-door neighbour called us yesterday. He somehow got in, I don’t know how, because the roads are still closed.

“He said he doesn’t think we have damage.

“He doesn’t have damage. The water got really, really close to going inside, but not quite.”

Someone posted drone footage of nearby neighbourhoods, Riverstone and Sienna Plantation, that shows how close her area was to being inundated.

“Our area was kind of lucky. Our levee, the one that protects our subdivision area, was good.

“The (subdivisions) a little bit further back, towards the east, they are a lot worse. They probably have six inches of water in their house or more.”

Other friends, not able to get back to their homes, know they will be returning to a mess.

“Just from the storm footage, they know they’re under water,” she said.

U.S. authorities estimate 30,000 to 40,000 homes in the Houston area have been destroyed by the hurricane and the flooding it caused.

While the Clermonts’ home may have escaped the worst, it is still unknown when the family can return.

“Our area is still under mandatory evacuation, just because they don’t know what’s going on with the river yet,” she said. “They don’t want anyone returning to the area, even though some people have already returned.

“But we’re going to stay away until we get the OK.”

Authorities expect the river near her neighbourhood to crest on Friday. It may be a few days though before residents are given the green light to return.

Getting back may be difficult. Many of the usual routes are flooded.

“Our drive out of the area, it should only take three hours to get out and it took us well over five,” she said, adding they had to keep searching for alternate routes.

“Some of the roads were washed away so we had to take an hour detour.”

There will be much work to be done by residents when they return even in areas not hardest hit.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of cleanup.

A relief fund for her area has already been started and volunteers have come forward for cleanup crews.

“When we can go back we’re going to go back and help with all that.”

Just Posted

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

More than 70 in Red Deer experience poverty through simulation

More than 70 people experienced the daily troubles of families struggling to… Continue reading

Huge RV resort proposed for Buffalo Lake

Some residents feel 800-lot RV resort too big for area

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Trudeau: Invitation should not have gone to Sikh extremist

NEW DELHI — A man who was convicted of trying to assassinate… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month