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Flood and Flu: a little perspective

September 24, 2009
tags: ,

nature walk collage

Chers Amis,

What a crazy week! If you have seen any news lately you probably know that Atlanta was hit with a deluge that resulted in major metro-area-wide flooding. Notre moulin did not totally escape the water. We were lucky that we did not have to evacuate after all and the damage is not as bad as it could have been. but I am still very leery about any rain on the horizon and in denial about repairs.

For a little perspective, Pippin and I went on a soggy, but lovely nature walk last Wednesday at a local creek at the day use area before the deluge. (Local ladies, it was across from the WC Library area, you probably have seen the gravel lot on the right). Here is a small collage  of some of the fantastic lichen we saw on our trek. ( I WAS going to do a great post on lichen.  I really am fascinated by lichen, but I digress. . .  ) In the collage you can see Pippin poking around at the creek’s stony edge.  It had been a rainy week, the ground was saturated, but the water level was normal and calm rain

Over the weekend we received somewhere between 14-17  inches of rain according to reports from CoCoRaHS the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network from stations within a 5-10 min drive of our house.  Our rain gauge died sometime during the drought (remember that?) and was never replaced.  It seemed irrelevant, like that silly flood insurance. (ARGH!) (HT to Wayne at Niches for this great site. Wayne also has a great graphic of the hardest hit counties correlated with high density population on his post today. Interesting.  Don’t miss his pictures of the turtle hatchings earlier this week either!)The rainfall total I found was for a nearby weather station. Above is a graph from the USGS for the creek level gauge taken where Pippin and I were hiking. You can see the creek rose to above 20 feet by Monday afternoon. That creek is only 5 min drive from the house and our tiny creek that runs north-south along our property empties into that larger creek.

By Sunday afternoon our tiny creek was at the top of it’s banks and rushing hard.  Our yard is on the top of a north-south hill so water drains from the street and our house to our back yard and a gulch that runs east-west into the side creek. But the hill we are on also runs east-west so some of the water coming down our gravel drive runs through our front garden beds and down our front walk before rejoining the creek.  All was wet, but well Sunday night.  Dh took the kids down to survey the creek. Fun.

Monday morning we awoke after a night of more torrential rain to find Chez nous,  about an inch of standing water in the basement area near the back door. We thought it must have flooded the dog run and come in under the door so we removed the area carpet, opened the door, pushed the water out with my beloved squeegee, and dried up the rest with the wet vac. All better. Not.   I came down after breakfast to find a new puddle and realized that ground water was seeping in our basement and running across the floor. As the rain intensified and the thunder crashed around the house I had the back door open and I pushed out the water as fast as I could for hours w/o stop.  It was a constant 1 inch – unless I stopped. I can only imagine how much flooding we would have had if I had not been home!  Caddie was home sick so she and I rushed to get everything off the floor and onto tables, empty the book cases into laundry baskets, unplug the computer and place it on the desk.  When I could no longer keep up with the rising water I called Dh and he came home from work to help. We still had no pump to remove water and about 1:30 we looked out and saw that the tiny creek, usually invisible through the woods, was now far out of it’s banks, raging with waves crashing around the trunks of trees.  All the while it is POURING! The water was coming closer and closer and we decided to move to evacuation mode.  Anything of value went upstairs, the box with our important papers was positioned by the car, laptop packed.  I was truly frightened. Then the rain slowed for a few minutes and there must have been some shift in debris because the creek level dropped suddenly and never exceeded the banks again. The rain returned as did our pushing it out.  DH and I went outside and dug trenches in the front yard and built gravel dams on the drive way to divert water away from the sidewalk.  It now looks like giant moles invaded our yard. Tant pis!

Sometime in the afternoon the rain stopped and we finally used the wet vac to suck up the last of the water.  What a day! Thanks to my squeegee the water never exceeded an inch in depth except for a few seconds here and there and because it was clean ground water there is no mud! I can see that the drywall was damp up about 6-8 inches but I don’t know if we will have to replace it or not.  I am in denial for a little while I deal with a family outbreak of H1NI. After all the media hype the ‘piggy floo’ seems so trivial compared to the events of the last few days. I consider us lucky. Our basement is drying out, we have health insurance (don’t get me started on that one!), and soup in the pantry. Not so for so many others who saw their houses and businesses filled to the gables with muddy water and debris or who lost loved ones.  To them I send out my heartfelt prayers for healing and clear skies.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2009 4:36 pm

    Marjorie, I am so glad to hear that you are all okay! I was just about to email/twitter message you. The videos on the Weather Channel are nuts!

    Sorry to hear about the flu, though… my sister called me yesterday and told me they are down with H1N1, too. So it’s probably just a matter of a few weeks (at most) before it spreads up here… so much for the vaccine, huh, which won’t be available till after everybody gets the flu??? 😉 Hope you feel better soon!!!!

  2. September 25, 2009 9:57 am

    Marjorie, I’ve just recently returned to reading blogs – so many blogs, so little time…and was catching up with old friends. Wow – what a week you’ve had. Thank goodness you were spared from worse damage. It is amazing how powerful water is. I appreciate the heads up on the CoCoRaHS. What an informative site (for weather nerds anyway – ha ha). Headquarters right here in Colorado, too. I’m going to check into it more – would be fun to be a local collecting station.

    Hope you are all recovering from the flu.


  3. September 28, 2009 11:55 pm

    My prayers have been with you. So glad you were home and managed to get all the water out – I know it was frightening for you all. Hope everyone is well now and enjoying the dry weather!!

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