Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Move it or lose it.

Such was the case this past Sunday in my Uptown neighborhood. After being awakened by a thunderous storm early in the morning, my roommates and I congregated in the kitchen for a short chat, amazed at how loud the storm was and how long it lasted.

After returning to my room, I soon heard my roommates calling me from downstairs.

“Melissa! You’d better move your car!”

We’ve had several heavy rainstorms since I’ve been in the new apartment, yet none of them had left our street flooded. This storm, however, dumped around 6 inches of rain on the metro area in a short span of time, leaving our pumps working madly to keep up.

From the front porch I could see that the water was nearly a foot deep in front of our house, and the cars parked in front were clearly in danger of getting flooded. Due to a lack of parking on the Avenue the previous day, my car was around the corner.

After ringing the neighbors’ bell to alert them of the condition on the street and suggest they move their cars, I moved my own to a street five blocks away that looked to be a little higher and drier.

As I trudged back home through the murky water, the rain continued to fall and the thunder continued to roll, and I almost prayed (I don’t pray) that I wouldn’t be struck by an errant bolt of lightening while sloshing beneath the ancient live oaks.

My glasses were so fogged up and wet that it was impossible to see, so I took them off. I’m blind as a bat, so it was impossible to see regardless. Several times I stepped off a sidewalk into the street, only to find myself in water that was above my knees.

Once home, I dried off and decided the only thing left to do was take a nap, and so I did.

When I woke up about two and a half hours later, the sun shone brightly, the sky was blue, and the streets were dry. By the time I was ready to make my Sunday pilgrimage to my favorite bar in the Quarter, the day was hot and humid, and there was no trace, at least in front of my house, of the deluge that had occurred only a few hours earlier.

By the time it was over, numerous streets in Orleans Parish were underwater. At least 30 property owners in Jefferson Parish report flood damage, and the Times-Pic showed a photo of two kids in an inflatable boat floating down a street in St. Charles Parish.

Looking back, I wish I had thought to dig out my camera and take some pictures, but it never occurred to me.

My roommate’s car did not fare so well as mine. Parked directly in front of our house, it took on a few inches of water, and I've no doubt that at least one of my neighbors' cars flooded as well. I got lucky, especially since my car is a piece of shit, and a few inches of water might have caused the entire thing to fall apart completely.

All in all, it might have been a grand, if inconvenient, adventure, were it not for the fact that this storm may have been a dreadful harbinger of things to come.

I know, I know…I always sound like little Miss Gloom and Doom, but it’s for good reason. Our pumps and drains could not even handle a thunderstorm, albeit a monster one. How on earth are we going to manage something bigger?

Time will surely tell. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my eyes open and getting myself ready to “move it or lose it.”