Wednesday, December 22, 2010

100 year flood?

Let me tell you a story about a little town in Northwestern Arizona called Beaver Dam. We're a small little town. We're not on the map. If we want mail to go to our Post Office we have to use the name of the even smaller town 2 miles away. 5 years and 50 weeks ago we had a devastating flood. It took out the bridge, stranding residents unless they wanted to travel 2 hours on a dirt, poorly maintained road. It cause us to miss a week of school and have another month with only 3 hours of school a day because students had to take a 3 hour bus ride each way. It kept mail from being sent or delivered. I knocked out power to the entire town. Many people lost their homes, hundreds more were flooded, and the local gas station they were making bigger and better lost all the land they were going to build on.

Because of that flood, which they called a "100 year flood", they (whomever they are) built an erosion fence in much of the wash (think weird steal poles and wire X looking things, AKA the Beaver Dam demilitarized zone) where the usually non-existent Beaver Dam Creek flows. They also built a new bridge (they started in April and still need to finish little things like final paving and the sidewalk.) They redid the power lines so that they weren't down in the wash.

This story continues 5 years and 50 weeks, almost to the day, after that flood. December 21, 2010.

Well if you've been watching the national news lately or local news if you live in AZ, NV, or UT; then you've seen pictures of a house falling into a raging river in a little town called Beaver Dam in Northwestern AZ. That house is about a mile and a half downstream from me. That raging river is usually a dry span of earth for most of the year with sometimes a trickle from underground streams. Things went from awful yesterday, to MUCH, MUCH better this morning after very little rain last night. (so much better that water flow in the wash was down at least several feet from the day before. Then the steady downpour from 10-12 o'clock made things much trickier in the early afternoon. By 2 it was hardly raining and calming back down somewhat and come 6 this evening the downpour started again.

The wash is now full from bank to bank. It literally sounds like Niagara falls if you're standing in my back yard. We can now even hear it in the house, with the TV going. The water is rising steadily and not expected to crest until tomorrow morning because of the continuance of the rain.

So a mile and a half downstream has been mostly destroyed/damaged and they just asked people a mile upstream to be prepared to evacuate. My good friend stopped by in a panic, leaving her drums in my garage.

I'm nervous. We have friends with significant damage to their homes or land. Our friends that evacuated may loose their whole house. Before they left, the flooding had already taken the back wall of their neighbor's house across the street.

We most likely will be just fine. We probably have about 4-6 more feet for the river to rise before we are in real danger. Our neighbors out the back put a trailer to divert water where it was eroding earlier. It seems to be holding for now. But IT'S STILL RAINING!

I've alerted my family, that the only reason I will call them is if something is wrong. I said "If you don't hear from me, we're fine and sleeping."

Regardless, I'm off to pack up pictures and valuables and a suitcase just in case.

5 years and 50 weeks... Some 100 year flood, eh?

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