Friday, June 25, 2010

Treading Water

I'm sure you are all tired of reading about the rain we keep getting here. In fact, I'm sure some of you would be happy to take some of our rain if you could and let it be known, I would be happy to give you all that you wanted. But I can't, unfortunately.

I opted to mow the lawn on Tuesday evening, less than eight hours after a torrential downpour, leaving tracks through the muddier part of my lawn even though they were forecasting no rain for the next 48 hours. I just didn't trust the forecaster. So we pretty much received torrential downpours on Wednesday morning and an even larger downpour on Wednesday afternoon. If you poured water from a 55 gallon barrel right on top of your head, it would have seemed mild compared to the storm we got Wednesday afternoon for fifteen minutes.

It let off right as I was heading home for the day so that was nice but as it turned out, I was a long ways from home. My normal five minute commute, if I get stopped at the one stoplight, turned into over a half hour. Every where I drove here in town, water was over the road at depths of several feet. I had to splash through six to eight inches of water in the parking lot just to get to my car. Driving home became a lesson in geography remembering, i.e. which way kept me on high ground. It involved driving up on curbs, going through parking lots and even driving through a car wash backwards.

About half way as I was parked at one of the shallower intersections with only ten inches of water, which by the way is floorboard level in my twelve year old Civic, I got hit by a wave from a large truck. I almost immediately lost one cylinder out of the four and wasn't sure I could keep it from stalling all together. But I did and limped towards the daycare on three cylinders, possibly with another cylinder sporadically firing judging by the loudness of my spare change jumping in the plastic alcove I toss it in. My daughter and I made it back home but both of us were a little bit high on the fumes from all the unburnt fuel blowing out the exhaust pipe.

All told, we only received 1.12 inches during that downpour but on already saturated ground, it might as well been 12 inches. So according to a nifty sight that I found at our state university, the numbers from the beginning of the year are now:

161 - Number of rain events we have had out of a total possible 176 days.
27.27 - Number of inches of rainfall we have received
15.98 - Our average rainfall we are supposed to receive
11.29 - Doing the math, the number of inches of excess rainfall that you should have kept

If you just look at June so far:

22 - Number of rain events we have had out of a total possible 25 days.
11.06 - Number of inches of rainfall we have received
3.58 - Our average rainfall we are supposed to receive
7.48 - Doing the math, the number of inches of excess rainfall that you should have kept

The positive spin on this whole thing is that my parents have missed much of these last few rains on the farm though the chances of them getting a crop planted this year are still less than 50%. It will either happen in the next two weeks or not at all and it will take at least half that time to simply dry out. The other good point is that the seven-day forecast has only one day where rain is predicted and that is just a 30% chance, completely opposite of what it has looked like for the entire month of June.


Vince said...

I was amased when I saw that the weather system seems to be sitting over you, and just you. It's almost like a Hurricane in one position. A espically vindictive one.
Honestly it was how I found that masthead of your blog by going in on the deepest part on goo-earth and found Van Buren.

Ed said...

Vince - I love Google Earth and can spend lots of time gazing. Yep, the Des Moines river only has one bend like that and it falls directly in Van Buren county. Where I grew up is off of that picture but my heart has always been along the river and someday I would love to buy some land along it and build a house... up on a bluff of course.

Murf said...

I can't stop laughing at the mental picture of you driving backwards through a car wash.

geri said...

I installed google earth after you mentioned it in my blog. Fascinating device!

Has been crazy weather up here too but fortunately not that much rain compared to yours. Flooding is scary esp when you're out in the streets like that because you'll never know when the waters can get too deep for your car.

Ed said...

Murf - Let me clarify things. I was driving forwards but the wrong way through an automatic car wash. It was the best way to get to the other side and remain on high ground.

Geri - Google Earth is addictive to map freaks such as myself. Especially when you start playing with the layers. They have Chicago's mass transit system along with stops laid out which I used a bunch before previous trips to your area. It was an easy way to figure out how close I would be to a stop on the transit other than just intersections named in the CTA literature online.

Beau said...

Incredible.... I feel for the farmers especially. And here we're drying up.

MamaHen said...

Wow, I really hope things dry up there for ya'll. that's awful.

sage said...

Wow, what an experience. Are you sure your name isn't Noah?

R. Sherman said...

For you this shaping up like "Son of 1993." We're starting to get the residual down are way as the Mississippi is backing up into the bottom land wrecking the corn fields for miles.

TC said...

I'm just glad that wasn't your car!

PhilippinesPhil said...

That's rough. Reminds me of some of the rainy seasons we can get out here. I've seen it rain for more than two months almost nonstop daily. We aren't that far from the sea here though, so give it some time and it all drains off. You all don't have that luxury. Strange how it can do that there in such a relatively small localized area.

Ed said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. After another huge storm last night, they are sealing off the floodgates and closing off streets up here in the urban jungle. Not sure what the condition like is back home. But already, they are predicting a crest over last years crest and just a foot short of the record in 1993. That was before last nights gully washer. I'm guessing I'm going to have flood pictures posted pretty soon.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I checked this out while sitting in a dark computer room where the only functioning thing was the phone (and thus the DSL) We are still about three inches short for the year, but this rain should do something. Weather Weather weather.

Bone said...

Wow, that's a lot of rain! I don't think I've ever heard or seen the two words "shallower intersection" together like that. That's a first.

The rain and I haven't been agreeing much lately, either. It started pouring just as I got the fire going in the grill a few nights ago. It's also hindered my running. Of course, we've not had anywhere close to as much as you.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Its SUPPOSED to be raining here everyday now, but STILL rainy season hasn't really kicked in yet. It did give us a good soaker last night though... It rains so hard here and then it all runs off, hardly any stays in the ground.