Monday, August 12, 2013

MONDAY MUSINGS—HOW HIGH IS THE WATER MAMA?



Many of you know that my area has been declared a disaster area due to flooding. It’s been awful for so many people impacted. Most of the rivers are in my greater backyard, meaning minimum ten miles away from the closest leg of the twisty and winding Big Piney River. The Gasconade and Roubidoux are further away—at least 30 minutes away. They all interconnect and man what a mess when they all hit flood stage. The Big Piney has lots of little streams and creeks that shoot off from the main river. We happen to have one finger that winds around the backside of our property and it wrecked havoc with flowing over the county roads, flooding fields, trapping people at home, not because the waters came into their houses but because they couldn't use the roads to get out to yet more roads that were also closed and flooding. But, we faced minor issues in comparison to towns 30 minutes from here and closer to the rivers. 

We've been getting a lot of rain the past two weeks from a series of slow moving thunderstorms and more than our normal rainfall. We got quite a lot the first weekend of August and already the rivers were high from all the runoff. The ground was saturated and the storms that blew into our area Saturday and Sunday and just kept coming. By Monday morning it was getting serious.  We were getting a lot of warnings for flooding and flash floods.


In this area we have a lot of low water bridges—maybe two or three feet above the normal water flow. (click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

These streams and creeks are fed by the big rivers we have in the area but, low water bridges can flood, even without the additional river water feed, with a couple of days of steady rainfall. We’re in hill country so water runs downhill to these creeks and streams. We've learned to expect rising water and flash floods. Most county roads have an alternate way out and around these low bridges. This series of storms…well, lets just say, I didn't go anywhere for a couple of days and I’m on high ground.

We received about 15 inches of rain in 48 hours. Roubidoux Creek was 18.6’above flood stage on Monday the 6th and 20.14' August 7th at 6:30 pm by morning it was well over 21 feet, Little Piney almost 15’, the Gasconade was cresting at 28’ over flood stage on Wednesday the 7th and higher. The streets and roads in that area disappeared under the water. Even a section of I-44 closed due to a lake where the interstate used to be. Houses were half or more full of water. Some were pulled off their foundations by the force of the water. We tend to forget just how destructive water is when in flood stage. Especially flash floods.


Flash floods can be extremely dangerous, instantly turning a normally calm creek or stream into wall of water and sweeping everything in its path downstream. Scary to see, but even scarier to hear it coming and know you have seconds to react and get the hell out of its path. During this storm some of the rivers rose fifteen feet (that’s 15) in twenty-five minutes. Think about that. Flash floods can turn streams or creeks into a Class 4 and 5 whitewater rivers. No lie.

 
Like I said, we live in hill country and flash floods happen. One of the things that amaze me is people’s stupidity thinking they can cross a familiar road that’s flooded. Did you know that 66% of flood deaths occur in vehicles when the driver makes the mistake of thinking they can navigate through the floodwater? Especially at night. If the water is flooding then it means there is a current and one that is usually much stronger than a person thinks.

Six inches (6”) of fast moving water can knock a person down. Six inches can reach the bottom of most passenger cars and cause you to lose control or stall. Two (2') feet of rapidly moving water can float a large vehicle, even a bus or firetruck.

That goes for you and your pickup truck, Mr. Yahoo Smallbrain. “Well lil’ lady, I got me this here won ton pickup truck. It’s tuff. I’m tuff.” 
 “Uh-huh. I’ll be sure to send a tow truck to pull your sorry butt out of the mud once the waters recede. If we can find you.”
 
According to The Weather Channel, one-third of flooded roads and bridges are so damaged by water any vehicle trying to cross stands only a 50% chance of making it to the other side.









How high is the water? Well, I like the sign that says, TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN. 

Sounds smart to me.

8 comments:

Stephen Tremp said...

Time for a warm sunny vacation. Go to your nearest airport and go to a toasty beachy place and wait the storm out. Better add an extra week just to be sure.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's some serious flooding. And fifteen inches in two days is like a hurricane's worth of rain. We've had flooding in our area this summer due to excessive rain, but thankfully none where I live.
And yes, there's always some yahoo who thinks he can make it across.
Stay safe!

L.G. Smith said...

Wow, scary situation. Hard to imagine fifteen inches of rain all at once. That's our yearly total here in Colorado. Glad you're on high ground.

Jo said...

Glad you're on high ground Sia. I feel sorry for the others. I was flooded once in England, watched the parquet floor float out through the front door. The flood carried big logs, which nobody could lift, as if they were soft toys. Not funny at all. That too only took a short space of time to happen. Any idiot who tries to drive through deserves what he/she gets.

Johanna Garth said...

Holy cow!! I'm so glad you are safe. And there are always people who hold out or think they are invulnerable in the face of mother nature!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

When hurricanes hit, we get flooding, and I'm glad we live on higher ground. When we lived in ABQ, we'd get flash flood anytime it rained.

I hope no one gets swept away.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Due to heavy rain storms flying through the area, my internet is spotty. I have it up and then it blinks out. Apologies. I'll try to get around to everyone's blog as I can. :-)

Steve--love to but no can do with all this budgeting cutting crap--which thankfully ends in two week instead of late October.

Alex--yeah, we've been diligently sending all the storms east. A lot of areas are getting excessive rain and more than their usual rainfall.

And yes, there are always those Yahoos, rain or snow.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. I'll have to come back and read this properly as I love stats etc .. and your map, photos etc ..

Forgive me for now .. I'm away tomorrow early .. visiting museums and going north ..

But I've been through those sorts of floods - or nearly so .. not caught I'm glad to say ..

I hope the rain stays away .. or the floods ease their way through ..

My thoughts - but please keep us updated .. Hilary