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Monday, September 12, 2011

water water everywhere

this has been an especially hellacious week.  year, perhaps.  earlier in the summer we had the tornado north of town.  last month was the earthquake (which i didn't feel becos i was running around unpacking from vacation).  a few weeks ago was hurricane irene (which didn't really affect us locally but many communities up river had flooding).

then we had the weird weather pattern made up of the remnants of hurricane lee (to the south-west) combined with the pressure of hurricane katia (who was kindly out to sea in the atlantic).  remember when i mentioned hurricane agnes, the great flood of '72?  agnes was a 100 year flood.  make that a "40 year flood" as last week's rains were caused by a similar system.

school was closed for three days.  the boy's school, and a couple others in the district, were used for emergency shelters.  hubby was sent home early on wednesday and work was canceled for thursday and friday too.  i think this storm was worse than a blizzard - at least the snow is a bit easier to clean up.

all told, our area averaged about 12 inches of rain in the span of a couple of days.  we get that amount over the span of a few months.  the last time i saw our river rise this quickly was in '96 after the snow storm/subsequent flash thaw that january.  a friend who lives across town from us had to evacuate her family becos they live along the river.  our bridges out of town were closed.  the roads leading east and north of us were closed.   the closures left us feeling locked in - we had no access to hospitals or grocery stores.  our families were safe, but there was no way we could have reached them.

we spent those two days watching copious amounts of thomas and sesame street.  we baked cookies.  we watched our cellar, which used to get wet after a moderate rain storm.  the rain barrels helped, but we had some leakage.  water also came in by the alley walls.

hubby ran and fueled our van in case of emergency.  he parked and wandered and got some snaps of the rising flood waters.  this is the ball park on the south end of town, on the north branch of the river:

on the train crossing on king street.  the water is in this yard and touching the pool.  the river is usually several feet away.

hubby did a panoramic shot of the river.  that's packer island on the left, shikellamy state park in the center, and the train trestle on the right.

a closer look at shikellamy state park.

that water is covering a campground.  this is looking southeast towards packer island.

a panoramic view of the river looking northeast.

train trestle to the west, where the two branches merge.

they closed the bridge off while he was there, and the police were shooing onlookers away.  the last time that bridge closed was 7 years ago after hurricane ivan.

friday afternoon the skies cleared and we decided to get some fresh air.  this is what we saw:

this is the underpass at the south end of town.  the north branch of the river floods here in the best of times.  it also makes transportation nearly impossible as it connects two major arteries.

this is the parking lot next to the joseph priestley house at the south end of town.  that's the north branch of the susquehanna river.

that's the backyard of priestley house.  as close as the house is to the river, supposedly it has never flooded.  my friend, who also lives on the river, claimed that her property never flooded either - the river may rise halfway through her yard.  she had some flooding in her basement this time (general leakage from ground saturation, not from the river).

this is what i saw on saturday morning as i was driving to KDO.  this was about a day after the crest.  it's still too high.

i tried to capture the sunrise over the river...

i pulled along the road to get proper photos at liverpool...

i wished i got pictures of the river at duncannon and at the rockville bridge.  i never saw the river so swollen in my life.

we are fortunate that our community sustained little damage with the flooding.  north of us, student apartments at a local university will need to be condemned.  danville's middle school had massive flooding when sandbags couldn't contain the waters.  homes near bloomsburg were literally washed away and collapsed.  up river, officials thought that the river level was lower until they discovered that a gauge malfunctioned, meaning that the river was actually several feet higher than expected.  communities in that area worried their levees wouldn't contain the waters - the levels were higher than agnes.

i hope it will be another 100 years (probably 40) until we endure another wet and scary week.  preferably never.

1 comment:

  1. So sad to see you have a similar amount of devastation that my family had up river in the Sayre/Troy area. And, just so you know, a 100 years flood doesn't mean that it will only occur every 100 years. It just means that the odds are 1:100 that that flood will occur on that year. So, you could have a 100 years flood every year - it's just very improbable.


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