And it rained, and rained, and rained…

It has been a pretty busy week around here. Take a look at this shot of Hwy 78 (Veterans Memorial), the road that I usually take to work in the mornings:

flood_vet

Needless to say, we’ve been stuck in our neighborhood for a few days, now. Up until later this afternoon, all the major arteries to our area had been submerged under water. I am told the Interstates are all open as of tonight. Check out this shot of Six Flags:

sicks_flags

Not sure I’d wanna go on that ride after this, would you?

Anyway, Sunday night was a looong night. Sometime after midnight, it went from raining to pouring to severe storms, then it just stayed there FOR HOURS. I don’t know how to communicate to people who were not there about it. It was the most thunder and lightning I’ve ever seen and heard in my life.

You know when the heart of a storm finally gets above you, things get really loud, the thunder seems like it’s crashing directly down onto your roof, and the lightning seems like it’s threatening to come in your windows from every side? It usually only lasts for a minute or two then passes over you and heads on to the next destination. Well, this time it just never left. It parked right above Douglas County and stayed there for several hours. Lightning flashed and thunder crashed every ten seconds or so, right on top of one another, for several hours straight. I’ve never even heard of such a thing.

My girls were bouncing out of their beds all night long begging us to do something to enable them to get to sleep, but none of us could sleep. It was like someone kept shaking our house while someone else kept flicking the light switch on and off and on again ever few seconds from midnight to about 4am. It was pretty horrendous. The main downtown artery, the 75/85 Connector, flooded for about an hour:

spaghetti2

Drivers on all the surrounding Interstates got stranded for a time, too (see I-85 below, near Spaghetti Junction):

interstate

We got a call early that morning notifying us that, not one, but several water mains broke in our county and it would be a while before our water would come back on (three days later we still can’t wash dishes or do laundry or take showers without getting in our cars and driving somewhere else to do it.) Determined not to let this get me down, I put on my rainy day running shoes and ran before sun up, like I always do. Only this time, as I neared the end of my route, I discovered that a gaping 10 foot wide drop off was there where the road should have been (I’ll have to post a picture of that later).

While the girls’ school got canceled (for the whole week, it turns out), I had to report to teach at my high school post for a really soggy day. Lots of people didn’t make it in that day, and it took me over an hour to get home. It usually takes 15 minutes, but I had to drive down six different routes before I could find a route that got me home. Others took more like three hours to get home, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

I also can’t complain about water damage or flooding, because our house got little more than a wet area on one carpet. My school was untouched, really. I can’t say the same for nearby Clarkdale Elementary:

clarksdale

The school is totally submerged, in case you can’t tell. Kindergartners began exiting their classrooms when the water first started coming in the doors, and by the time the last few dozen were leaving, the teachers were hoisting the kids on their own shoulders because the water had already gotten above the children’s heads! That’s truly what you call a flash flood, and it was not a calm moment for those teachers and administrators. Four hundred elementary kids will now be displaced for the forseeable future. That’s gonna be a tough school year.

It feels like I’ve spent the better part of the last three days hauling water from one place to another so that we can do things like cooking, washing, bathing, drinking, and flushing. The toilets alone can be a real hassle at a time like this, I gotta say. Our power went out after a day or so, too, so we had to relocate to a friend’s house so we could cook, bathe, and do laundry. Thanks to Jerry, a brother in the neighborhood here, we had a place to set up for a little while until the power came back on, and things got a little easier from that point on.

So many people around us have lost homes and cars and schools that our community will be doing relief work for many months to come. In case you’re interested in helping, you can donate to the county school relief fund or contact the pastor of Ewing Road Baptist Church, who is coordinating much of the work for the affected area.

In the meantime, I’m thankful to live in a neighborhood just high enough above the creek levels that we didn’t look like Venice when it was all over. Just five minutes north of us, one neighborhood looks like this:

flood1

Compared to this, we’re doing just fine. Going back to work tomorrow, and happy to have a place to work.

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One Response to “And it rained, and rained, and rained…”

  1. e4unity Says:

    Neil-
    You are the ones we thought of when we heard about the Alanta floods. Now we know you are o.k., besides the broken water main and the inconveniences of getting to almost anywhere. It’s hard to believe the pics-great job. Our heart goes out to a whole lot of others who are not so fortunate. Many we are told didn’t have flood insurance-let’s pray that FEMA will step up big and fast.
    Meanwhile it will be a great opportunity to the IC’s to show up with what they do best- compassionate disaster relief in the Name of Jesus. The new edition looks and sounds great. Keep on diggin-there’s lots more where that came from.

    John Paul Todd

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