Monday, December 14, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

So I had a personal "first" on Saturday afternoon. Driving through floodwater.

It rained off and on most of the day Saturday before really letting loose with a complete downpour around 3:30. I was at the mall probably twenty minutes from home when the deluge started and I told myself that I'd just wait it out inside where it was nice and dry. Well two hours later I was still waiting and with no signs of the rain letting up anytime soon and standing water beginning to deepen in the streets and parking lot, I decided I needed to get home.

So, I took off my shoes, rolled up my jeans and waded out to my car. You think this is an exaggeration but it's not. The parking lot was under about six inches or so of standing water...and it was elevated. The street was under about four feet.

Lucky for me the jeep sits up off the ground or there's no way I would have made it home. As it was I was driving through water up to my bumper most of the way and there was one point it was so deep I was afraid to drive through (I had to get up on the grassy median in the middle of the road and drive up there for awhile to get around the deepest parts). Traffic was a complete and utter disaster. I maintain that most people don't know how to drive in incliment weather anyway and Saturday once again proved my theory true. People in cars that sat close to the ground were out of luck but instead of pulling off to the side of the road and waiting for help, a lot of people just abandoned their cars in the middle of the road! I've never seen anything like it. Myself and the few other bravehearted (smart) souls who own SUVs and trucks who continued driving were forced to maneuver around an obstacle course of abandoned vehicles. One guy stopped right in the middle of an intersection, got out and walked off! It was nuts. I don't understand the logic there. It's not like this was moving flood water; then I would understand. This though, was standing water.

Two soggy, tension filled hours later I finally made it home. By then the poor jeep was so water logged I felt sorry for it. No water actually got in but my breaks were definitely starting to slip and I was very grateful to be home and out of the storm.

This is what it looked like when I was driving home.

What's frustrating to me is that while it did rain a lot Saturday, its not like it was a monsoon and we still flooded. Since then I've seen/read in the news that one of the biggest causes of flooding here is that the city's drainage system is so sold and outdated. The storm drains are not big enough to handle the amount of water the city takes on on a regular basis and the pumps that New Orleans has to have (since some genius decided that building a city in a hole was a good idea) aren't powerful enough to keep up. Forget hurricane season--they're not even designed to be able to drain the city when we have a big rainstorm. As one person so eloquently put it, if more than two people in New Orleans spit at the same time, it's gonna flood. Grrrrrr!
Come on New Orleans, get it together!

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