Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clouds All Around and Pouring Down in the Middle

With the approach of Hurricane Ike, much of the south expected some rainy weather. In the plains where I live, however, we only usually average 22 inches of rain per year. When I moved here 6 years ago, we had a huge rain of 3 inches in an hour or so. Streets were flooded to overflowing. Local ponds spilled over their shores into the neighborhoods and the city decided to spend millions of dollars to put in a major drainage system. There has not really been a very large rain to test the system, but the small ones seemed to drain away as intended.

Hurricane Ike did not reach my home, but it seemed to alter the flow of moisture in the air sufficiently to cause a pretty good rain. OK, it was the most rain my area has received in over 100 years. Basically, the only other known rain that was larger floated an ark. We had a solid rain for nearly 24 hours, culminating in an accumulation of about 8 inches of rain.

I was taken back to days of my youth, towing behind and being towed behind a bicycle on an air mattress down the rain filled street where I grew up. My son, Chris, has several kayaks, all of which he most dastardly put into storage instead of leave at least one at my house. I would readily have put on my wet suit and paddled my way down the gutter into the evening news, but alas, por Twist, he hath no water craft small enough for such a venture.

At 2am after the rain, there was a knock on the door. Our friendly, neighborhood city engineer wanted to know if we wanted sandbags for our house. Now, I would assume, that he would have noticed, even at 2am in the morning, that there was no water near my house, that the water closest to the house was downhill at the end of the block, probably .2 of a mile away, but perhaps he was singularly focused on his task. Perhaps the flashing lights of the fire engine block the road there distracted him, but regardless, we refused his offer of sandbags. How short sighted of me! I could have used those bags of sand in the back of my truck this winter. Oh, well, maybe I'll get a couple of bales of hay instead.

There are lots of pictures of the flood damage, but none struck more fear in the hearts of people than the picture I included, the football stadium with 8 inches of water in the bottom. The pumps that would normally have made the water go elsewhere failed. With a home game later in the day, would it be ready in time?!? The fire department came to the rescue and thousands of fans breathed a sigh of relief and a heartfelt thank you to the firemen.

Later in the day than 2am, at a more respectable hour of about 10am, another city engineer, once again focused on his task, asked if we had any water damage from the storm. I once again pointed out that the water was about .2 of a mile away, down about a 6 foot drop in elevation. Several more 8 inch rains would still not make the water reach our house. He went away, somewhat disappointed that he could not add thousands of dollars in damage to our house to his slowly growing list. I expect the city wanted a larger list to report to the federal government. Maybe my hens and chickens were overwatered in the rain.

I wonder if it's still too late to put in some damage estimates....



Nene said...

What, you didn't get your canoe out?

Amber said...

glad to hear ya'll came through it okay - think how green everything will be now with all that rain! what's left of it before fall that is lol