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flash flooding

i’d heard about it. i knew it to be something that happens here. but i’d never SEEN it. until today. so okay…it rained a lot here yesterday. all through the evening. maybe all through the night. when i set out for my hair appointment today, though, it wasn’t raining. by the time i left the salon, however, it had begun again. nonetheless, i soldiered forth to run errands in metairie; it rains here all the time—i can’t let that stop me from doing things, right? WRONG! i can. and in the future, i will.

it was a little after 4:30pm when i set out for the 1100 block of veterans boulevard. the cars were all crawling. at first i thought it was because stoplights were out, but then i discovered that that had only been the case in one instance. so on i crawled until around the 1800 block, when i noticed a side street that looked less like a motorway than a waterway. a coursing waterway. sheesh—glad i wasn’t headed there, i thought. but as i crept farther along, i realized that the water was no longer just on the side streets nor just in the gutters at the side of the road. suddenly, it was the road.

an old Times-Picayune flooding photo

cars ahead of me were now plowing through several inches of water. coursing, rising water. and on it rained. pouring, driving rain. i started seeing debris in the road, and the world was dark, as black as if it were midnight. some cars were pulled over, as if they could go no farther. it looked like i was caught up in some kind of post-apocalyptic flight. i have to turn back! i thought. this is only going to get worse! so i did. i turned back, and fortunately the other side of veterans was slightly higher ground. not flooding yet. however, i had to get back to the highway and back to my house. this involved driving through waters that, at some moments, i feared would sweep my little civic away.

once, many moons ago, i drove my old nissan sentra through a really big puddle in the law school park-and-ride shuttle lot. the car simply shut off immediately. all systems stop. da hell? i thought, re-trying the key. but it wouldn’t turn back on. i learned that i had gotten water under the distributor cap. that driving through any fairly deep amount of water must be done carefully to prevent this from happening because the result is that you are stuck, stuck, stuck. a car with water under the distributor cap will not start again until that water has dried on its own. in my case, that was at least the time it took for me to catch the shuttle, sit through class, and come back. in the meantime, my poor sentra could do nothing but sit, helpless, right where it had died.

this is what i thought about today as i crrrrrawwwwled through water that, in places, reached the bottoms of car doors and lapped at them like a persistent cat. all jokes aside, i was shook. if my car died out, what would i do? the rain was not letting up—still hasn’t. the water was rising and roiling and climbing over curbs. and i didn’t even have on rain boots. i had on converse. low-top converse! *sighs* any-hoo, as you can see from this writing, i made it home. i feel lucky and grateful for this and, from now on, when i tell somebody i’ll make it somewhere “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise,” i won’t be speaking in jest.

UPDATE: here’s an article with photos on the day’s event: http://www.nola.com/hurricane/index.ssf/2009/12/flash_flood_warning_issued_for.html …damn you, metairie!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “index

  1. trE

    I’m glad you were able to make it home b/c some people do not do what you did (turn back) and their cars flood over and then they wonder why… I don’t think I could handle the rains New Orleans has to give… I’m still trying to get used to the rains NC offers.

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