Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just Some Moisture

With some kinds of weather, it can be interesting to note that 75% of the US doesn't know what's happening, even if it's looming large in your life. Take last night into this morning.

We got some rain in the Chicagoland area. It's part of a sweeping system that, if you looked at weather maps at 10 p.m. last night, stretched from Louisiana up to Minneapolis and north into Canada. The leading edge was rain, lots and lots of rain. There was localized flooding in Iowa and then, as it plowed its way east through Illinois, it seemed to pick up steam. When I went to bed, the weather map from Chicago to the Mississippi River was yellow with sections of orange and small pockets of red embedded. As the light stuff is blue and the heavy stuff is purple, yellow is a lot of rain.

It was heavy when I got home Wednesday night. This was the birdbath on the deck at 4:15 p.m.

I don't have to consider filling it for several days now. The rain wasn't that cold, surprisingly, and, if there had not been a wind with this, I might have stopped to consider that the walk from the car to the house was an exercise in puddle stomping as the back yard by the house was one big puddle.

When I prepared my bowl of cereal for breakfast this morning, the skies opened yet again and the curtain of rain was so hard, the view across the street was like looking through plastic. Yes, there's water in the basement, but that's kind of to be expected. Water has to go somewhere and this much water is going to send it places it doesn't usually go. I took a shower and got dressed and then became aware of yelling and banging outside. This was the view south from my front steps.

That's a lot of water. The two neighbors whose drives were under water were moving their garbage cans to other driveways. I watched as people came barreling down the street only to slam on their brakes at the sight. In chatting with my neighbors, the people across the street had 3 inches of water in their basement. My immediate neighbor to the south had an inch of water. The two neighbors whose drives were under water had sewage. I'm grateful for seepage, at this point.

I have to head to the office. I've really no reason to call off. I can't stop the seepage until it stops raining and, well, that wasn't supposed to happen until around noon. So, I hop in the Jeep and head out. I could go through the water in front of my neighbors but I thought that uncouth so I'll just drive east on other side streets. Water. Well, that I can drive through. Crest a small hill. Water. Well, turning around isn't an option so I drove through it getting cheers from the people in a small group in a front yard. And some people wonder why I drive an elderly Jeep. I got through when others couldn't. I approach the office and traffic is at a stand still. I see the street lights by the office are flashing red. Drive around and come in the back way. Traffic is being diverted through our building's parking lot. Is it...?

Yup. Flooded.

What you can't see are the two cars to my right who made it only to the entrance to our west parking lot before they died. There is a white mini van that made it through the water only to die and the black car which didn't make it all the way through before dying.

A quick check of the rainfall totals and my area got close to 7 inches of rain. I don't care how good your storm sewer infrastructure is. That amount of rain in 24 hours is bound to overwhelm it. Yes, the semi made it through the standing water. This was gone by 10:30 a.m. Neighbors were still pumping when I came home at noon. The water has stopped coming in my basement but it will take until the weekend to dry out.

I looked at these cars and I thought, "Why did you even think you could make it through?" I realized at that point, no one teaches this in driver's education and car salesmen don't bring it up. If you're driving a car, you should never drive through standing water that's more than 3 inches deep. I can handle deeper water because my Jeep sits up higher but I made triple sure to dry off the brakes by pumping them at the next stop sign. I learned that from my dad and from our driver's ed teachers because, in a small town, they knew everyone and everyone counted on them to teach their kids right. Water up into the engine causes a whole host of problems. I felt a bit of sadness for these people because I'm willing to bet they honestly didn't know they shouldn't do this. The only problem they were concerned about was would the car float in this much water, not, would they kick water up into the engine and stall it out.

The potential exists for more rain tonight, more localized flooding. And I have friends in Texas who would love even a tenth of this. While they couldn't handle 7 inches in 24 hours, there would be dancing in the streets if they got an inch.

We'd say this weather was only fit for ducks but they were nowhere to be seen this morning unlike yesterday.

This was taken out the rear door of the office building. I parked on this side today. I'm thinking that much rain was too much, even for ducks.

Beverage:  Root Beer


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