Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the front lines

We have had apocalyptic weather forecasts this week.  My awareness of it is heightened by the #arwx hasthag on Twitter and the availability of moment-by-moment weather news via mobile apps.  But even if I were only watching the Weather Channel, I would know that this wasn't business as usual; the usual "a few storms may be severe" phrases have been regularly replaced by "strong to severe ... may contain heavy rain, large hail and tornadoes" and "flooding in likely in flood-prone areas."  Today the National Weather Service issued its third PDS -- "particularly dangerous situation" -- alert of the week for my region: one for tornados on Tuesday night, one for flash flooding during that same storm system, and then another one for flash flooding tonight.

Tonight finds us at the apex of an epic three-day rain event that's seen almost six inches fall just south of us, with more on the way.  We've gotten a couple of inches so far, mostly in one big go early this afternoon that nearly swamped our street.  Then, thankfully, a respite of several hours, but the next round is on our doorstep.  The problem is that we had heavy rain Monday through Wednesday as well; our ground is saturated and the waterways are full.

So once again, I'm on high alert.  Noel is no doubt a little tired of me packing the car with sleeping bags and changes of clothes, in case we need to head to safety quickly.  It makes me feel better, though, to have a plan.  The water rises quickly and relentlessly at the little intersection where our house is located -- the lowest point on the block, and the location of the storm drain that collects from both directions.  If it ever got near our front door, the depth on the street where our driveway meets it would be up to the windows on our car.  During Monday's heavy rain event, the water came about halfway up our driveway, and two cars stalled in the street right in front of us, with water halfway up the doors.

Tonight's storms will be here within the hour, and I'll be watching the street until the heaviest rain has passed, however long it .  If we have to go, we'll cut across our neighbor's yard to a slightly higher part of the street, and try to get to my office again.  More rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, but the downpours should be over, and it's the downpours that pose the biggest threat.

If I thought we were stuck here with the water rising, I'd be very nervous.  But knowing that we can get out if we need to, water in the house (if it comes) shouldn't be devastating.  If there's one thing this week has taught us, it's that we can let go of our possessions a lot easier than we might have imagined, taking care of our lives, safety, and health first -- and solely, if it comes to that.

1 comment:

dougb0 said...

I can't imagine having to go through this so many times during such a short period! We had tornado warnings last Wednesday night, but that was just one time. We'll be praying for you. -Doug