Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee and the Flood of 2011 - Part 1

It is difficult to put into words all the emotions a person feels at the moment the fireman knocks on the door and gives the official evacuation order. This time we had enough time to mobilize a crew and get most of the important items out of the house, or at the very least, higher, onto the second floor. 

It started out as a nerve-wreaking day to begin with, as it was the first day of school in upstate New York.  I was nervous and so were the students.  The rain was steady, and there were the typical flood advisories given throughout the morning.  Somehow, and I'm not exactly sure how, it became clear that this day would end badly. 

I heard from another teacher that we would have an early dismissal due to minor flooding.

Then another teacher came to my door and told me to move my car, because the bridge was almost out. 

Okay, the red flag was officially raised at that point.  I went outside and stepped across the covered bridge to the faculty parking lot (normally a very pleasant stroll).  The creek was raging below and I could hear debris slamming into the bottom of the bridge, which, at that point, was only a few feet from the water below.

I got in the car, moved it out of harm's way, and went back into the school building. 

After the students were dismissed, I found out that teachers were expected to remain in the building until they were officially dismissed.  My heart sank, because I knew that my wife and children were probably in full panic mode at home.  Also, I realized at that moment, that I might not be able to make it home because of the many washed out roads in the county.

When I got home, I found that many books were already transported upstairs, and that the china cabinet (saved and restored from the last flood, in 2006) was being emptied and the contents taken upstairs. 

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.  It was the neighbor.  He had just come from the fire house, where he was told that the river was expected to crest at the same level as in 2006, when we lost almost everything we owned. 

Great.  Just great.

Here's where God began to work.

In a few minutes the doorbell rang again.  This time it was a man from our church who was offering the services of his three teenaged sons, to carry everything upstairs, and otherwise help us save as much stuff as possible.  Then a trailer showed up to carry our sofa to safety.  Coolers to empty the freezer, a place to stay, and many hands to get all of the children and pets to safety, the power tools out of the garage, and the bikes up high.

That was last night around 8 o'clock.  Now it is tonight, and it has been an entire day with no sight or word of any kind about our house. 

I took a walk to the flood zone, along with my camera.  The roads were closed and flooded.  Everyone stood in awe, much like they did the last time, taking pictures and chatting with each other.  I saw a few of our neighbors there and talked to some police officers and the D.E.C.  They informed me that the river would crest at approx. 7PM, and that my house was most assuredly under water at that point.  

Anyway, that is the story so far.  I wish I had more to tell.  I'll continue this chronicle later, when I know more and have seen more.

1 comment:

  1. The awesome power of water. Armed with 20/20 hindsight...your wisdom will strengthen your will and determination. -amy