The Adventure I Wasn’t Planning On
It’s been a rainy last several days, really starting last weekend it has rained daily in some capacity. On Wednesday, my birthday, we had a good downpour for several hours and the local creeks swelled towards the top of their banks, and the pond in front of my house rose just a bit, maybe covering a little of the fringe wetland around the perimeter as it became more muddy. Chris came home from his field project because the day had been cancelled for rain and so he could spent my birthday evening with me. I remarked that with all the rain that it didn’t seem that the pond really was too flooded or anything, though I’d noted one house on the corner of a turn that had some water in the periphery of its lower spots.
Then early yesterday morning Chris got up super early to get to Beaumont in time for his morning safety meetings and just when he left it started pouring, not letting up for most of the morning. I peered out the window as I normally do when I get up and saw this:
Ohhh k I thought. I gave Chris a call to tell him that the pond had spilled into our yard and he told me the normal two hour drive to Beaumont had taken three instead. I got dressed while I texted back and forth with one of the office admin who had said the main artery to our office was flooded and inaccessible and she was going to come around my way to see if she could get in that way. I knew that answer but I got dressed anyway and ventured out. I stopped at the turn where I peered to my right to see the road covered in water. A truck had come from that direction, the man inside rolling his window down to yell at me across the way in the rain to not turn as the next low spot after that was worse. My coworker ended up showing up at the intersection shortly after where we concluded there was no safe access to work.
I turned around and went back home wondering if it would stop raining or not.
It didn’t. I ate breakfast, tried to do a few measley unpacking chores but I mostly watched the water.
The tree damage is from Chris’ felling of several dead pines, not from the rain. And yes, my neighbor has a trolley!
So, the front yard became its own pond (mind you, this is where we were planning on putting our vegetable garden…) and I decided there wasn’t much I could do so I went back to sleep.
I woke up about 11:30 when I heard a loud thud, thinking it was going to be a tree coming down, but after looking around I didn’t see anything destroyed. The water had come up even further, surpassing the burn pit and making its way to the satellite dish left from the previous owners.
This is my neighbors house on the far left side of this photo. My property line is the the tree right there on the left and the scraggly gardenia bush.
After checking on the thud I noticed that there were cars and people in the street in front of my neighbors house as well as an official looking man riding a towing cart thingy (can’t explain what it was) up her driveway. Instantly I went back inside to get my shoes and umbrella and headed off down the driveway to the street. My neighbor was ok but her garage had water in it now, but her house was ok. The police chief was the man I saw and they had assisted in getting her car out of the driveway so it wouldn’t be flooded. By this time water was flowing from the far side of her yard, covering her driveway, flowing into my yard creating a deep pond, slightly flowing across my driveway (still walkable and driveable at this point) and then off to the other side of my yard and into my other neighbors woods. The only dry areas a this point were the elevated areas of the garage, storage shed and house.
Thankful she was o.k. I returned back to the house to try to eat lunch. Meanwhile the power flickered a few times and because I remembered that our well is pumped by electricity I immediately filled as many pitchers and pots as necessary in case the power went out. Eating lunch was futile, I heated up leftovers and picked at it.
After eating I retreated back upstairs to watch from our balcony. As you can see it rose even closer towards the house from the morning. The pond was swollen and flowing rapidly in the middle, reminding me of the muddy Mississippi River. Debris and trash floated by and I watched the pile of trees we were supposed to burn float around and move. Logs that had been neatly stacked up between two trees tumbled to the ground and found themselves on the other side of our yard. A tire eased through it all, but thankfully it didn’t take up residence after the water retreated.
The storage building on the left; it is raised on a thick piece of slab so I wasn’t too concerned—yet.
I unpacked some more, cleaning upstairs and moseying around. The water started retreating a little due to a few lulls in the rain.
During one of the lulls I went for a walk to see what I could see.
My neighbors yard finally draining but mine not-so-much.
The spillway working as fast as it could. I’d heard a report that at one point water was flowing across this.
And the cascade of water on the other side in the normally very quiet and diminutive creek bed.
I turned a couple of more corners to where I’d met my coworker that morning and found a fire truck, police car and other bystanders looking around. The police car/truck was dispatching a boat into the flooded road at this point. The water had practically come to the junction of the two roads, much, much higher than it was that morning.
Finally I turned around and decided a nap was in order. The rain seemed to be easing. I didn’t sleep long but when I woke up the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. The water from the backyard was draining and I could see the fire pit again. I was a little bummed more ashes hadn’t washed away. Venturing into town to the our rental house to get the last remaining bits of our stuff was the next item on my agenda. Water was receding everywhere but many roads were still closed. The main arteries into town had signs up for high water so I knew that the creeks had overflowed their bounds earlier that day. I made two trips successfully and by the time I returned for the last time the water was completely gone from my backyard, though it was a bit soggy. Our deck down by the water had been jacked up by the water and I could see the sediment line on the trees closest to the water, the sediment leaving a nice ring around the lake that I could see across the way. (I use lake/pond interchangeably. I have a hard time calling it a lake, but that’s what it is called.)
And that was my day yesterday. I’m glad I have flood insurance! The police chief said he hadn’t seen it like this since 1994 so I guess that makes me feel better???? He said Hurricane Ike was nothing like this but I wonder how it was with Tropical Storm Allison in I think 2001. Allison sat on Houston for days, flooding the place; I was in Galveston at the time working as a waitress at a seafood restaurant during college. It was very quiet because no tourists could get through Houston and I certainly didn’t make much in tips those few days.
If we can dry out a bit hopefully we can make some progress on the house. Our POD is coming tomorrow and I’m kind of nervous about getting ‘stuff’ back again. But that’s another post.
Wow, that’s a lot of water! Glad your new house was (and you guys were) ok after all that!
Wow! Thank God you and the house are ok!
Wow- that is SO scary, so scary. We live on the bay and rising water is a HUGE fear, so I just felt my heart sink lower and lower scrolling down these photos. I’m glad everything is okay, there wasn’t too much damage, and you didn’t go nuts from this little “adventure!” I imagine that stress was the LAST thing you needed!