Sunday, June 8, 2008

Flood Pictures

Today we had another pretty heavy storm roll through. Luckily it was much shorter in duration than the one 12 hours before. The rain ended a few hours ago, and I decided to get out of the house to see what the flooded areas look like today.

Closest to my house is a somewhat low-lying area which is a tree nursery. Down the center of this picture is normally a small creek with maybe 1' of water in it. It's usually only about 4' wide with slow moving water.

Now it's reached the top (about 20' across), but yesterday all the ground in this picture was under at least a foot of running water. From the tree-line on the left and swamping the small trees/shrubs on the right.

Farther up-stream is a new bridge over the same creek. At this time last year there was about 75% of the flow capacity that is there now. Currently the water is flowing about 2' below maximum height. Last night it was about 2" from overflowing onto the road when I drove by. It could have maxed out and flowed onto the road at some point.

The water flows under the road and appears to flow directly into this house, about 50 yards up the side-road. Anybody want to guess what the guy in the picture is thinking right about now?

In reality, it's the office for the same tree nursery shown in an earlier picture and the water flows under it. It must have been built here on the assumption that the water will never be high enough to hit the building. I've seen it within a foot before after some heavy storms, but last night the water was at capacity under the building and was therefore forced to flow around it. They're lucky it didn't tear the place down. I'm assuming they had plenty of wet carpet in there today.

If you're wondering about erosion making the place fall, the whole creek leading up to the building is cement and rock, as are the creek walls under the place. That's not to say that it'll prevent water from destroying the house though, because Mother Nature can be nasty when she wants to be. Erosion has destroyed far better designs than this.

Right about where the 3rd car is (the dark one driving away in this picture) is where there was about 6" of water over the road last night. Today it's dry, but the ditches on either side of the road are still very active.

Too bad this home/business doesn't have one of those "active" ditches. As of today the people who live here are still pretty screwed. I don't care how good their sump pump is, they can't have a dry basement today. Last night the water was up against the business (the block building - yes, I know it's ugly as hell) and there was a car in the driveway right in front of the door which was up to it's rims in water.

As of an hour ago, the city came by to place a pump in the water to try and get the level down somewhat. The houses next to these guys were almost as bad off, although they did have power after the storm was done so at least they had lighting to work by.

This was the first time I really took notice as to how far my house is above the water. On my drive back home I noticed that I go up a couple of very small hills - enough to put me about 10-15' above this water level. While 10-15' may not sound like much, it'd take a LOT bigger storm than this to raise the water level to the point where I'm underwater. I hope...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

...A Three Hour Tour... (Sing Along)

We had a pretty major storm roll through today.

This was the hardest rain I've seen since we moved in, and the most rain in such a short time (3-4 hours) my neighbor has seen in his 26 years in this neighborhood.

I expected that I would get some water in the basement, as it's happened before when we got some major storms. But this storm was just a little heavier than usual.

While I was in the basement moving some stuff out of the way of the water so it had a clean path from the wall to the floor drain I heard what sounded like a hose running. Inside the house. Not a good sound to hear.

I noticed some water dripping down the dryer's exhaust vent and I figured that was what was making the sound. Only there wasn't enough visible water to justify the sound.

So I pulled the dryer away from the wall and pulled the vent off the back and was greeted with a flood of water coming down through the vent. It was about equal to what you'd get by sticking a garden hose in the vent.

As of this morning, the dryer worked well. I'm hoping that it was designed with the electronics up high enough in the box to avoid water damage, otherwise I'll be buying a new dryer in a few days. I'm going to give this one a few days to dry out just to be safe.

Other than the possible dryer, there was no damage done other than a few empty cardboard boxes getting soaked. I'd say that there were easily over 500 gallons of water that flowed through the basement today, and I know I'm luckier than some others in the neighborhood.

I took a drive with my neighbor after the storm stopped, and we were amazed at how much water was flowing in the ditches and creeks. At one point I estimate we were driving through at least 6" of water.

What really surprises me is how stupid people can be about driving in water like this. Granted, I probably shouldn't have been out there either, but I'm driving slowly through the water in a Jeep with plenty of ground clearance. I wasn't worried about flooding the engine as long as I stayed on the road. That much can't be said for the idiots charging through the water in minivans and cars. I'm very surprised that none of them flooded their cars while I was there.

A couple of houses along that road had water right up to the foundations. They did have power, so I hope their sump pumps were able to keep the basements reasonably dry. I'm guessing that over the next week there will be a lot of flood damaged property sitting by the curb for pickup.

With all that said, I'm pretty confident now that the next major project for my house will be a new patio. For something different, I'm going to have this one slope AWAY from the house. If I had that kind of slope right now I'd only have had minimal water in the basement, and not a steady stream.