Rising San Jacinto River threatens nearby small towns

Image 1 of 5

The unprecedented rainfall has led to dangerously high lake levels in the Houston area.

Lake Conroe, which is located north of Houston, has had record-level water releases from its dam. The water is causing flooding downstream along the San Jacinto River.

The small town of Woodloch is just one of many communities that are downstream of Lake Conroe. Officials there say as more water is released downstream, more people are in danger.

Boat after boat and as quickly as they could, citizens and Montgomery County rescue crews pulled residents of Woodloch to high ground.Woodloch to high ground.

"I got two boats in the water currently right now, and we're looking for four victims,” said Needham Fire-Rescue Chief Kevin Hosler. “The problem that we're having is they called 911. They're giving us physical street addresses, and we cannot see the street address. So we are having to identify them by color and the descriptions of their homes."

The town sits on the edge of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, which is overflowing its banks now after water from Lake Conroe was released.

"And the river I understand is coming up 7 inches an hour,” Hosler said. “Forty-five minutes ago, you could drive down this road."

Residents say the flood waters have been made worse by constant rain from Harvey that came up faster than they expected.

Fire officials say they normally have 15 to 20 calls on a normal day. On Monday, they had 178 calls.

"We are going to wait for a rescue boat to go ahead and get our animals out. They're on the second floor,” said flood victim Roger O’Donnell.

Those who were pulled to safety are thankful but are still worried about the others.

Hosler says the four people they were looking for were eventually found safe.