Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Flood of Sept. 2011

I've been absent on blogger for more weeks than usual thanks mostly to Hurricane Lee.

Lee blew through on Wed, Sept 8th with torrential rain like I've never seen. I was standing in Walmart marveling at the loudness of it coming down & heard through that vast box store when my Dad called to ask if I'd heard they were calling for "life threatening flooding conditions". 

No, I had not. Somehow we'd been thoroughly warned & properly prepared when Hurricane Irene blew through but were utterly oblivious about Lee's impending doom.

Being we live on the Susquehanna River within a flood plain, we do tend to take notice of these predictions. Fortunately, it takes mighty rain to flood our house specifically. 

Unfortunately, Lee brought Mighty Rain. 

Thurs, Sept 9th I was up bright & early to see what was what with regard to school, only to find out it was cancelled & that the predictions coming through on our local tv channel was saying we could get enough water to fill our basement & also several feet of our first floor. 


Woke hubby, older daughter, and younger daughter at 7am saying, "Out of bed NOW. We need to pack up & move everything upstairs!!!!" 

I called my brother who lives in the next town over & was already at work. He & my SIL dropped everything, brought their trailer & lots of coolers to pack up my fridge/freezer, and helped us all day. And later that day they took 3 of us in plus one of our dogs (the dainty whippet, NOT the spastic lab!) & our kitty.

My parents dropped their plans, managed to get through/around road blockades, which were starting to go up keeping un-locals out, to get to us to watch my brother/SIL's two young sons so they could be with us packing & lugging things up and/or out. 

Several of my older daughter's friends dropped what they were doing to spend the day at our house acting as our personal movers: packing, lugging boxes & furniture up to 2nd/3rd floors, moving furniture out, and even helping a few older neighbors move some of their things.

We were in a race against time. A mandatory 5pm evacuation was announced for our small town. As time ticked away, the packing got more haphazard- I open boxes now & laugh at the mumbo-jumbo. Some things were literally just carried up by hand without being boxed up! 

Every so often we'd go out to check on the rising waters:

We're on the higher end of our street, and it was creepy watching the water filling it up.

The woods where I sometimes walk the spastic lab going under water.

The drainage grate out front of our house around 4pm on flood day-- the drainage system was so full, the water is beginning to back up into the street... it was time to start our personal evacuation.

Someone took this picture after we'd evacuated. Our street is disappearing, our driveway is gone, and I see just the top of our porch step peeking out. At this point our basement is filling up with water but it hasn't reached the first floor yet.

Some of the aftermath- pictures taken Friday after the waters had begun to recede:

Wet, muddy yuck left on our kitchen floor. The fridge & bottom drawer still had water in them...

This is our trap door entrance leading into the basement from our foyer. Remember this is after the water has receded, but the basement water was trapped & had nowhere to go quickly. 

Basement view from the outdoor access...

This is a view of our foyer... you can see the muddy residue left behind from the flood waters. The door on the right leads to the back porch, and the doorway on the left leads to the basement access.

Marshall kept vigil with the pump/hose to make sure it didn't get clogged with all the random stuff floating around 

In the end we will have to repair/replace: furnace, a/c, two hot water heaters, an electric panel & it's breakers, all the ductwork, the outside basement door, fridge, dishwasher, built-in oven, two rooms of padding/carpet, amongst other things. And yet I have been thankful every day realizing it all could've been so much worse.

It's amazing & touching to see how we humans will reach out to each other in times of need. 

It's been comforting to have neighbors checking on us & doing the same for them... again, helping each other in any ways we could. I was overcome with tears when someone from my parent's church stopped by with a cooler packed with prepared foods, a box of toiletries, socks, a blanket, uplifting books, a case of water, and more- I'd never met her. There were people we didn't know who sent us gift cards for Giant & Walmart. 

What a blessing this all was to us! Not only were the gift cards so very practically used when so much extra needed to be bought for our clean-up, they were uplifting to our crumbling spirits.