Thursday, June 28, 2007

Oklahoma Flood Report

Weather in Oklahoma lately has been totally weird. There’s no other description that aptly fits what we’ve been dealing with. Normally by this time, we're sweltering. Temperatures usually run in the 90s to the 100s. And everything is as dry as a bone.

Usually we’re having to water the lawn just to keep the ground from cracking. I’ve seen some areas at times that were so dry you could actually stick your hand into the cracks made in the earth. Small toys could be lost in those cracks and never seen again without some serious excavation.

But here lately, all we see is the rain. Baseball season ended early this year with several games not being made up due to rain-outs (affectionately being called the Moore Monsoon Season). None of the coaches I know really got upset. We put off vacations till after ball season, and this began to feel like a ball season that would never end.

It rained again today. And it appears that it’s going to rain all day. For a while it came down in heavy sheets.

I grabbed my nifty new camera and went out to preserve pictures for posterity. Those of you who haven’t seen Moore and the deep ditch that runs behind my house aren't going to truly appreciate what I’m about to show you. I’m going to have to take pictures during the dry season (if we ever have one again!) just to show you how spectacular this rain truly is.

The ditch behind my house is part of the drainage system throughout the city. And it’s beginning to look like the city may get swamped after all. I’ve been paying flood insurance, begrudgingly, for several years. I’ve never once thought I would have to use it. After today, I have to wonder. I also have to wonder if Evan Almighty isn’t precipitously being released to warn us all of impending disaster.

I only half-jest.

Anyway, on to the pictures. Here’s the first one and it shows the street bridge that crosses the ditch only a few feet from my house. As you can see, there may be a foot of clearance under the bridge and the overflow ports are working double-time just to try to clear the street.

Normally there’s about 10 or 12 feet of clearance under the bridge. Obviously that’s all gone. The water rushed by me as I took these pictures. I would’ve had to run in order to keep up with the current, and even then I don’t know if I would’ve been able to. Anyone who got out in this water would have been lucky to get back out alive.

The scary part as I stood there with my nine year old, Chandler, was that I realized we were both standing way too close. I blame me. He doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t know his father’s innate curiosity is extremely dangerous and darn near unmanageable.

But it wasn’t until I saw a child’s tricycle floating down the creek (which at this point looks more like a river) that I realized the danger we were both in while standing on the rain-slick hillside.

Needless to say, I backed us both away pretty quickly. As I wondered what the tricycle was doing there, and prayed that no child had been anywhere near it, I saw this bright yellow air mattress pass by.

I only hope neither the tricycle nor the air mattress were occupied. Perhaps they were just things left by kids in the neighborhood earlier in the week. That way only things were lost and not children. I can't remember how many kids have drowned here in Oklahoma since these floods have begun. But I can remember being that young and being that fascinated and wondering if I could handle water like this.

Chandler and I got back into my car and drove around the neighborhood. As you can see, the streets are all flooded.

We made a big circle very quickly and came out a few blocks farther down the creek where it goes under another street bridge. As luck would have it, I got another picture of the yellow air mattress. And you can see just how much water we’re seriously talking about in a matter of two and a half blocks.

Today has truly been an amazing experience. And I have to wonder how long it’s going to be before the rainy season ends. They're predicting four more inches of rain tonight.


Angela/SciFiChick said...

Wow. I hope your home doesn't get any water damage. Every basement around there must be flooded!

Mel Odom said...

The neat thing about Oklahoma is that we don't have basements. The ground has so much clay that a lot of them try to float up and often cause structural damage. And they flood.

Tornado shelters, after the F-5 that hit here, have become prevalent, though.

Rinda Elliott said...

I've been flooded to my house. Seriously. I live on a hill north of OKC and the streets around my neighborhood have been flooded out. It's incredible.

I love rain, but I'm tired of it now. I'm ready for some sun and some time in the pool. :)

Mel Odom said...

Hey Rinda,

I totally understand. I love the rain, so I'm okay with it, but the flooding is getting dangerous as well as doing damage now. And my tomator plants hate it.

Rinda Elliott said...

We have the most amazing carpet of fescue. My husband babies it. It's drowning. He just stand out in the yard shaking his head, poor guy.

Fresh tomatoes. Yum.