Former hurricane (now tropical depression) Gustav has pretty much covered the state of Arkansas in its roiling shades of green (with yellow and orange accents) since Tuesday morning. After Noel left for the wet, dark drive to Little Rock in the wee hours, and after I got up to prepare the kids for school, the steady light rain turned into a blowing torrent for twenty minutes or so.
That was enough to flood our street, which descends to a storm drain right in front of our property. When the flow overwhelms the drainage capacity, water quickly pools at the low spot, extending up and down the street. By the time the street gets covered with water where our driveway intersects it, the pool is two to three feet deep in the center.
This morning I was watching out the front window when an oversize pickup plowed through the pool, sending wake waves crashing up on our driveway. The turbulence knocked over the empty garbage can sitting at our curb, and I had to grab an umbrella and race out to pull it to safety before it floated away.
Years ago I was stunned to see water come within fifteen feet of my front door from what did not seem like excessive rain. Last summer the city dug new drainage channels across some of the roads in our neighborhood and raised some curbs. Since then the drains have seemed to handle heavy rains with ease, and indeed, after having to splash through an uncomfortably deep inlet on my way out to take the kids to school, I was surprised to find upon returning just 15 minutes later that the water had receded back into its normal channels, no longer covering the road.
Most of the storm will finally move to our north after tonight, but the line of thunderstorms that is its trailing edge seems to have drawn a bead on us for the next several hours. Right now everything is normal outside, but there have already been about four inches of rain since Gustav moved in 36 hours ago. If we have another downpour, or several, where will the water go? Looks like a long night with one eye on the radar and another on the water flowing down our street.