Elgene Muscat

Elgene Muscat is a retired nurse who moved to Kingwood in 1995 and experienced flooding during Hurricane Harvey. She recalls that her husband told her when they moved to Kingwood that their house was six inches above the level of the 1994 flood, and if their house flooded it would be because the entire neighborhood was underwater.

Muscat’s home flooded during the Memorial Day floods in 2016, and she had to park at a neighbor’s house and wade through knee-deep water to get to her house that day. She says that her kids kayaked in the floodwaters. During Harvey, Muscat’s daughter called her to share a warning about the possibility of flooding on the internet, but Muscat was not concerned and was sure that the area would not flood again. Her husband was watching the flood gauge near their house, and asked Muscat at the last minute if she wanted to leave, which she declined. Muscat and her husband moved items with sentimental value to the second story of their house and waited until the morning as the water rose around them. Muscat describes the chaos after they were evacuated, as they had told people they were going to one place but were taken to another and were unable to make phone calls. She says that her daughter, who was at school in Mississippi, was unable to find them for a long time. In her neighborhood, every house but one flooded, and it was three days before she was able to assess the damage to her house. They received help from their daughter’s high school dance team in removing damaged items from the house. Muscat admits that her initial refusal to leave during the flood was irrational, but she says that she had promised her daughter she wouldn’t leave the family cats behind, so she panicked. There was no shortage of volunteers to gut Muscat’s house. She describes the challenge of dealing with FEMA, who wanted detailed lists and proof of everything they had lost. Muscat quickly decided to sell her house after she realized that repairing the damage would be too taxing.