Conroe, September 17 – “Something’s got to be done to stop SJRA from opening those [flood] gates any time that they want,” Diane Lincoln, Mayor of the Town of Woodloch, told the Montgomery County Commissioners Court during their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. Woodloch is 8 miles southeast of Conroe, east of Interstate 45, just north of State Highway 42, and nestled along the San Jacinto River. Its population is 207 according to the 2010 Census and is approximately one-tenth of a square mile in size.
“We’ve gone through this twice, in 1994 and now,” Lincoln told the enraptured audience. “My city hall is now my bedroom. I used to be mayor of a nice little town but now I’m totally devastated.”
Lincoln explained to the Commissioners Court that she defended the San Jacinto River Authority after the 1994 flood. This time, however, Lincoln is pointing the finger of blame squarely at SJRA.
“They didn’t do a pre-release like the people at Lake Livingston or Lake Houston, because of a ‘protocol,'” Lincoln said dismissively. “I don’t give a rat’s behind about their protocol. I had to get people out of my subdivision or they would’ve died!”
Lincoln chided Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Darren Hess as well. “We didn’t get a 3:30 a.m. call…There are almost one thousand people who could’ve died” in the area in and around the Town of Woodloch, which the San Jacinto River Authority’s release of 79,131 cubic feet per second of water flooded beginning on August 28, 2017, around two o’clock in the morning, during Tropical Storm Harvey.
Lincoln concluded her remarks, “I’ve had very little response from the County. Folks in Woodloch used to live in a nice town but are now in a raging lake.”
State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), State Representative Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), and former State Representative Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) who is running for his previous position in the Legislature in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election are calling for an investigation into SJRA’s actions during the Harvey storm. Without pre-releases to control the level of water in Lake Conroe and without early warnings to neighborhoods downstream, SJRA began to release 79,131 CFS of water from the Lake Conroe Dam on August 28. The flood waters moved at such high velocities that thousands of homes were literally swept off of their foundations.