HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It's a sight all too familiar in Houston-- vehicles stranded on deserted streets, destroyed after being inundated during a flooding event.
Two years ago, Rahel Abraham says she was traumatized after losing her car during Hurricane Harvey. With a background in chemical and environmental engineering, she wanted to find a way to proactively protect pricey and precious items.
"The idea came of there has to be a way, or an option at least, to safeguard my car and my possessions," Abraham said.
She began brainstorming. After more than a year of research and testing, she founded the company Climaguard LLC and created a product called the temporary protective enclosure, or TPE for short.
"I wanted something compact that I could use. I'm a petite woman and I don't want something that's going to be difficult for me to handle in a time that I need it," Abraham said.
Packed away in a duffel bag weighing less than 20 pounds, when rolled out, unzipped and laid flat on the ground, the TPE looks similar to a piece of tarp. Except its material is designed to be lighter, more durable and able to withstand water for several days.
"I like to say it opens up like a clam shell, 180 degrees. The bottom half is bigger than this top half. It's made of this waterproof, resilient material. It's abrasion resistant and tear resistant," Abraham said.
To set it up, all you have to do is drive your car into it, pull the top cover over the roof and zip it all the way around-- creating a waterproof bag for your car in less than five minutes.
It has three feet of coverage before you get to the water resistant zippers. However, it does float after a foot and a half, so you do get even more coverage. There's attachable straps and you can wrap your car, or whatever possession you want around and use these carabiners that are like these snap hooks to wrap around anything sturdy that's not going to float. And it'll just keep it like a leash nearby," Abraham said.
It's simple yet seemingly revolutionary to solve flooding nightmares in the Bayou City.
"We had a car sitting in three feet of water for the entire weekend. And we've used that same prototype over and over," Abraham said.
Abraham adds that the TPE could also be used to cover furniture or precious heirlooms.
Abraham currently has a patent pending on the TPE's utility and plans on launching the first batch for sale in September.
Initial pricing is set at $349 for the compact size, $399 for the sedan size and $499 for the mid-size SUV, which could fit a car as big as like a Jeep Cherokee. The TPE has a 12- month limited warranty.
Abraham hopes to lower costs when demand goes up and eventually partner with insurance companies to protect people who live in flood-prone areas.
Abraham is an alum of the University of Texas and the University of Houston. She hopes the company will eventually expand to carry an entire line of weather-guard protection products.