Family affected by reservoir release still rebuilding

A year ago, Hurricane Harvey had already made landfall but, for some, the nightmare was just beginning.

Water from reservoirs was released — flooding homes and devastating neighborhoods.

The reminders of what happened are hardly subtle in some areas including the Thornwood subdivision in the Energy Corridor.

The Zapata family lives there and still has not been able to move back into their home. They hope to return home sometime next month.

“It’s what I go to bed thinking about at night. It’s what I wake up thinking about,” said Hillary Zapata.

The home got about 4.5 feet of water from the Barker reservoir.

Fortunately, the couple and their children evacuated a few days before. They say they expected a few inches of flooding, if any.

“She took one thing off the floor and that was our wedding album,” said James Zapata.

Instead, neighbors who stayed reported their respective homes had received several feet of water. 

As much as the family looks forward to moving back home, they know things will be different. "For Sale" signs line the streets and familiar faces are gone.

“It’s sad,” added Hillary. “We had neighbors before the flood that we absolutely adored that won’t be returning.”

Although Harvey leaves behind painful memories, the Zapatas, like so many others, choose to not forget about the kindness of strangers.

James says for him, it was the group of men who helped him get to his house on canoe to gather some of his family’s belongings. He kept a photo he took with them.

"I’m extraordinarily thankful for all those guys and their help," he concluded.