Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flood 2012

You probably would expect my next post to be about how the beginning of my new job went and how Benjamin is handling daycare. I wish those were the main things on my mind, but they are not. They have been "swept away" (forgive the pun) by the torrential rain and flooding in my city.

The last month has been very wet in general, lots of big storms, so everything was pretty much saturated. Then, within the past 12 hrs, it rained somewhere between 6-9 inches (depending on whose measurement you follow) over the entire area. The results? Massive flooding and flash flooding throughout the city and surrounding areas. ( Duluth is used to snow and blizzards, but not rain like this, not floods, not water damage.

Despite the police warning to not attempt travel, my company was open and as I am in training w/no leave time, I headed into town. Luckily DH's work was cancelled from the get go and he could stay home with DS, so I did not have to deal with daycare or the extra stop. Getting to work was a little bit of an adventure. I ended up having to cross several inches of water flowing over a road that I did not even know had a creek under it, and take a somewhat large detour around one of the more flooded neighborhoods. I arrived on time. They came in shortly after our shift began and said that the building was staying open, but that anyone who felt unsafe or was worried they would not be able to make it home was free to leave. At that time, I thought that things were supposed to get BETTER  throughout the day, so I said I would stay. About two hours later they came back in and said that there was more rain coming, flooding was worsening, and they encouraged us to leave. I took their advice and headed out, unsure how to get home as I already knew the route I came in on was closed. I took a round about back roads way, crossed through three more patches of water running across the road (though none as deep as the first), and over large areas where the road was covered in sand/debris. I did make it home safe, hyped up on adrenaline from the trip.

With all of us safe at home, my mind turned to the city. My first reaction was straight forward fascination. The power of nature, the destruction, a surreal admiration of all of the images of flooding and washed out roads. The second thing I thought of was selfish - how is that beautiful house we are supposed to close on next week fairing? My brother reported it at least has water in the basement, hopefully that is all. Will it delay closing? Is there real damage? My third realization was the reality of it all - the repercussions for the entire community. This type of damage is not going to get fixed overnight or even months. There is massive economic and physical fall out to come. Stores and restaurants are flooded and will take time to clean up, those are all people without jobs, and even people with jobs will have a hard time getting there for the foreseeable futures.  And that does not even mention all of the people who have serious damage to their homes, lost cars, etc. And that does not even mention that no one here has flood insurance. And that does not even mention that there has been all of this awesome progress and projects completed in the city recently - walkways, parks, etc, and so much of that is just washed away, and will not be a priority to repair with all else that needs done now. With all of this in mind, I am very sad for my city.

But my fourth thought of the evening is back to selfish stress. The uncertainty of it. I hate it. Will I need to go to work tomorrow? If I have a choice, should I try to go to work? Has the flooding peaked or will it get worse overnight as more water comes off of the upstreams? Will DH need to go to work or will his campus still be closed? If he has to go to work, and I have to go to work, will DS's daycare be open? What routes in town would get me from daycare to work? What if I take DS to daycare and then conditions change and I can't get back there?

 I try to remind myself that these problems are minor compared to what many people are dealing with in the area tonight, but as they are still my problems, I am still stressed out.