6.28.2015

Memorial Day Flood 2015

One never wants to be Weather Channel famous. The wall of river water - runoff from a huge & fast 10-inch deluge of a storm further upstream - hit our area (and others downstream) like the fist of G-d.

Witnessing the effects of the destruction will catch your breath in your lungs. Driving over the bridge south of town  (which was 30 feet above the water, and still not high enough), people slow down, and sometimes swerve, viewing the damage. One witness wrote an article in The Atlantic, called "Paradise Lost: What the Texas Floods Swept Away".

Spouse and I had recently toured a neighborhood that was settled on the banks of the river, idly considering a move to that gorgeous water. After all, our geese and ducks would enjoy it. What we do for our birds... Well, all those houses are gone now. They probably won't be rebuilt.

There's a huge effort to educate landowners, recommending they let nature start to heal itself, by leaving the downed trees and brush near the creek & river banks to act as nurseries for new trees and brush to grow (pdf - see second page).

The response of people to help was amazing: there were at least three different volunteer reception centers set up to handle the influx in the first few weeks. It's now six weeks post-flood. We're past the immediate emergency, and are now the midst of long-term efforts to help people clean up the damage, and make repairs where feasible. We're "down" to one volunteer reception center, but there's still folks coming in to help, and we are most grateful.

If you're interested in photos, check out this Google Search. Personally, I just didn't have the heart to take any photos, and was more than a little irked by all the out-of-town disaster p0rn oglers. My thanks to those locals, stout of spirit, who documented the damage in photos and arial/video shots.

Us? Our place is fine, we're up on a hillside, a fair bit away from the river. Those who were on the river proper, even if up on a hillside - that's another story. One of our friends said "I will never again complain about all the stair-steps we have to take to get down to the river" - they were on a cliff, over 40 feet above, and lucky. The only inconvenience for our little neighborhood was the seasonal creek-crossing flow-pipe got clogged with debris, and water was running over the road. I had originally thought it was silted up, but one of the neighbors driving through the low water observed it was mostly debris. He hopped into the creek and started clearing. As I drove by and saw him waist-deep in the water, I couldn't help but hop in to help. Got it done, and learned a great deal from him about the history of our community and the little road we're on.

To end this post on a lighter note, here's a pic of Gerdy at the vet, getting ready for laser treatment on his feet. One of the vet techs put the goggles on his eyes as a joke. The other snapped the photo. The rest is giggle history.