Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hard to comprehend...

...what is happening in middle and west Tennessee over the last two days.

Widespread rainfall totals in excess of 12" from a train of storms that refuses to quit. Every body of water in this region is setting a new "all time" flood record. Water rescues are happening in places that have not seen a drop of floodwater in decades.

I tried to ignore the sound of the rain when it started back up at 6:00 this morning, but I just couldn't. Within an hour we had gotten 4 more inches on top of already swampy ground. The creeks on both sides of the house climbed higher than we had seen before; when the water touched the corner of the house we grabbed the dogs and changes of clothes and headed for high ground. We almost waited too long, as the neighbors pond was overflowing its levee in a solid sheet of water and washing across the road. The floodwaters weren't just covering the low spots, they were forming cascading blankets across the slopes.

Sometime later this afternoon we should be able to try to see how close to home we can get to find out what has been happening there. Meanwhile the videos coming out of Nashville look like archival footage from Katrina.

ADDENDUM: Made it home, the house is fine, water entered the crawlspace but not the structure Much of our drinking water supply infrastructure was obliterated and there is damage to fences and such, probably not much that a few hundred dollars in supplies and a week's labor can't fix. We definitely are among the lucky ones in Tennessee today!


At 3:57 PM, Blogger fangsheath said...

While flooding is very familiar to me, flash floods are mostly out of my experience, having lived most of my life in southern La. where we don't really have the topography for them. I do remember one in Tallahassee, Florida which inundated a group of cars in about 6 feet of water within half an hour. In another hour the area was water-free.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger twobraids said...

the rain at your place must have been incredible. Looking over the topo map that includes your home, you're actually pretty high up in your local watershed. There just isn't that much collection area above you.

I'm glad you and Peggy are safe and things are relatively undamaged.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

The rain was as heavy as I have ever seen it, much like the intense rain bands of tropical storms. At one point during the 4-inches-per-hour deluge yesterday morning I could not see the martin house about 60 m outside the window.

Being up near the head of the hollow is extremely advantageous in a flash flood, I have discovered. Being in a relatively wide flat bottomland is also very helpful, since once the water does spill out of the creeks it spreads out and slows down fast. This is pretty much how I had hoped things would play out if we ever got one of these truly epic rainstorms. Last year when we had a big flood that everyone said was "the highest ever seen" but in fact turned out to be the highest in only about 10 years, the extra depth and force of the water farther down the hollow was amazing. This time, the lower parts of the hollow are still inaccessible because of washed out roads and no-longer-extant bridges, so I can only imagine what it looks like. Even here the changes in the morphology of the stream channels are quite impressive and far greater than last year. In some places they realigned themselves several meters to one side or the other, in just one single morning. The power of water in motion is an awesome thing.


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