September 19, 2003

After-Action Report

Here’s a wrapup of our little corner of Isabellaville.

My wife was supposed to go in to work today at noon, and we expected the worst part of the trip to be getting out of our neighborhood to the main roads. She works for an optometrist in Manassas (~20 miles away), and the doctor called this morning to report that she had no power. Don’t bother coming in unless she calls. Good deal.

I called my dentist to check on the situation there (very local). No problemo, see you at noon. Woot!

The extent of our problems around the house was two upstairs windows directly facing the wind were accumulating some water inside the window sill. I carried two sopping wet towels downstairs this morning. That’s it, except for some raking and sweeping outside.

Normally, an inch of rain here causes some basement flooding. What happens is that the rain soaks into the ground and runs downhill to the creek which is behind our houses. There’s a thick layer of clay a couple of feet down which keeps the rain from deep soaking so the water winds up flowing under and around our row of townhouses. When it gets to where the water can’t drain fast enough, it comes up into our basement between the slab and the foundation. We’ve lived in this house now for almost 15 years and I cannot prevent the flooding, but I can minimize it and control where it happens. I’ve got it to where any water we get soaks a small corner of my workshop. I can keep up with it with towels and a wet vac, no problem. All the important stuff is already up off the floor.

So we got way more than an inch, and I expected to be in bad shape, flood-wise. Instead, we got not a drop. What I think happened this time is that the rain fell so fast that it didn’t have time to soak in very much, and most of it drained as surface runoff, for which we’re very well prepared. Whew!

Update (this section):
We just heard from my sister-in-law. Her mother-in-law (my brother-in-laws mom) has a beautiful piece of property in Baltimore harbor, surrounded on three sides by water. It’s the core of their whole extended family, because everyone picnics there and keeps their boats there and fishes from there, etc. They’ve flooded before, you kinda expect it living that close to the water. But this time, everything is pretty much destroyed or under water. It's just wiped clean. Nobody was hurt, but they lost every last bit of everything they owned. No flood insurance either, because living where they did, they couldn't afford the premiums, and the coverage was exteremely limited.

So yeah, I’m counting my blessings this morning, because this storm was absolutely zip for me personally, but I know that it could’ve been much much worse.

Much of old-town Alexandria is underwater, but cleanup is already going on as waters recede. Of course, the worst of the flooding happens tomorrow and Monday when all that rain from the west comes down the rivers towards the bay.

Anyone hearing anything at all from John, Tink and crew, or WindRider, Bill, and the rest of the Virginia Beach gang? It sounds like Kevin and Victor and Nic are doing fine. Think good thoughts folks, it ain’t over for everyone.

Posted by Ted at September 19, 2003 10:33 AM
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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