Former Red Deer resident Nicole Clermont is among thousands of Houston-area residents watching fearfully as flood waters continue to rise.
Clermont, her six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, have found refuge with friends after fleeing her temporary home in Houston’s Sugar Land suburb.
“Everybody is super scared,” said Clermont on Monday afternoon, only hours after she found out she had to evacuate. “They didn’t expect it to be this bad.
“About two hours ago they told us we had to leave. Our street was flooding pretty quickly.
“We just kind of grabbed what we needed and left,” she said. “We’re just hoping the rain will let up and we’ll be safe here.”
A nearby river has started flooding and it could get worse residents have been warned.
“They’re worried that the levees aren’t going to hold. That’s why we were told to leave.”
Making it even more stressful for the family is that her husband, whose job as a power engineering for ME Global brought them to Texas, is currently in India for work.
He’s supposed to fly back on Friday, but Houston’s airport is closed because of flooding. He is very worried as is her family back home in Central Alberta.
So much rain has been coming down that many people are opting to remain home rather than try to brave driving flooded streets.
“The thing is it hasn’t stopped raining and it’s not safe to drive so no one wants to leave if they didn’t have to.
“Most of the roads in Houston are completely washed away. So there’s really no good option to leave because then you put your life at risk too.”
Many of her friends living in Sugar Land have chosen to stay in their homes because the roads are so bad. They are moving furniture upstairs and waiting it out for now.
The place she’s at is safer but is still at risk if flood waters continue to rise.
“I wouldn’t say we’re in the best place. We’re a little better than we were but there’s really no option out at this point.
“Unless the rain stops and there’s a safe evacuation area, but there really isn’t.”
Clermont said she had prepared in case she had to leave the home that is leased by ME Global for its employees.
At the home where she is staying her three-year-old is playing with friends and oblivious to the drama outside.
“My six-year-old is scared but he is putting a brave face on.”
The extent of the flooding is almost unprecedented.
“The area we lived in never flooded out (in the past),” she said. “They’re calling it an 800-year flood. It’s almost that no one was prepared that it would get this bad.”
Clermont said people all over the city have been helping each other out.
“It’s pretty amazing what people will do. Almost strangers will let you into their home.
“So many people are willing (to help).”