atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6728: Maybe not make fun of the flash flood warning next time

Mrs. Fungus and I were sitting in the computer room. I was working, she was doing something on her PC (playing Civilization, I think) when BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEE my phone, her personal phone, and her work phone, all start bleating simultaneously, at top volume, scaring the everliving shit out of us.

"Flash flood warning?" I said disgustedly when I saw what it was.

Mrs. Fungus went to bed early. I finished my shift; then I went to the store for some sundries. It was raining a bit, not too bad. Got home and made yakisoba for the first time in years, and after eating a nice big bowl of it, set to washing the dishes. And it was pouring outside, vivid lightning and thunder and raining like someone had just finished building an Ark.

I'd gotten the plates and dishes and silverware done when I twigged to the fact that Gee, that sump pump is running an awful lot so I shut the water off and went downstairs.

Water was pouring down the wall by the window well; but even worse, when I looked at the window, the water was high enough that it was at the exhaust pipe for the dryer. So it was just pouring in that way and down the wall, so much that the sump pump was running every five minutes.

Me: Not good! Not good!

Got my headlamp and went outside with a pot to see if I could bail it out. I first had to wrench the sandbags away from it, and get the screen off. The water was quite literally two inches from the top and there were at least two inches of standing water on the patio. I tried to bail, realized that I was never going to manage that, and gave up.

There is a sump pump in that window well, precisely because it floods in heavy rain; I tried to pull it out, but it wouldn't budge. I pulled harder, then realized that if the cord ripped out of the pump it would probably electrocute me, so I stopped that. Went back downstairs and realized that--like many sump pumps--the pump is plugged into a float switch, which is itself plugged into power. Maybe..., I thought, and tried it--and HALLELUJAH the thing pumped that window well down in record time. The pump works; it's just the float switch that's bad.

With the window well pumped out, I went back upstairs and finished doing the dishes and cleaning the stove (yakisoba makes a mess) and then went back downstairs again, to find that the window well was full again and water was pouring in--but the pump took care of that.

So I sat down there flipping idly through my high school yearbooks, periodically plugging the pump in and then unplugging it. The rain stopped and the flow of water into the window well slowed.

I then wanted to see how bad it was raining, so I went to the front door--


...the street was flooded. What I noticed first, actually, was the flashing strobe lights; went outside and looked closer and realized that there was water about a third of the way up my driveway.

That is something that has not happened in decades. It used to happen periodically, when we got heavy rains; but in 2002 they put in new storm drains and it hasn't happened since. Well--evidently today we got enough rain that it was simply too much for the system to handle.

The entire street, from my driveway to the far end of the street, was under water.

Chatted with the policeman who was there; this was not the only street that flooded, by a long shot. It's all over. I went back inside and ran the pump again, then came back out, and there was a guy who lives on the intersecting street standing there and gaping at the flood.

For yucks, I tried taking the Jeep into the flood. Got about to where my neighbor's driveway is, and the water was up to the rocker panels. Probably could easily have forded the flood, but ran out of bravery and backed into my driveway again.

Then my neighbor to the south got home from work, and he came over and the three of us chatted for a bit.

The waters are receding now--they fell at least six inches while we stood there and chatted--but that's going to be cold comfort to my neighbor to the northwest. The water was right up to the threshold of his front door; that house was flooded and I think they fled the place. There's a car still sitting in the driveway; its flashers were blinking and it was making this periodic moaning sound. Alarm tripped, I suppose. That one's probably totaled.

I stood there and said a prayer for them--not much else I can do at the moment. *sigh*

Anyway, it looks as if the worst of the rain is done. I'm going to have to monitor the window well for about another hour before I can go to bed, I think. So this weekend I'll be pulling the pump out and replacing the float switch and cleaning everything up so that it's self-pumping again. Maybe put one of those domes over it and stack sandbags around it again. *sigh*

Anyway, by the grace of God and a little forethought in the grading of the lot the house sits on, we avoided the worst of it. But believe me, I learned my lesson.


If you're the praying type, say a prayer for Joe, my neighbor to the northwest, and his family. I was out looking at the street and he called me over, and we chatted for a bit, and he showed me the interior of his house. At its deepest, the water had been ankle-deep in his living room.

Worse: it's a split-level, with a sunken family room; the floor is perhaps four feet below grade. It is full of water, about hip-deep; and the basement is flooded to the rafters.

Lord, please look after them.

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