Here are some photos Kirk took of how the flood looks. This is looking up at our house, which fortunately, is safe on the hill above the flood plane. In the foreground is our pasture, which is completely submerged. I feel grateful in that other than the llama incident, flooding is not too big of a deal for us. Just a small inconvenience taking longer routes to drive somewhere while our road is closed, and haying the sheep up top for a week or so. I moved the water trough and a few other items up out of the pasture this morning. I forgot a few wood fence posts that were stacked down there, but oh well, it was maybe $40 worth, they’ve probably floated away.
Others have it much worse, if their houses and other buildings have been damaged, if they lost animals, if they have to live somewhere else for a few weeks, and if they have to haul their livestock far to get it out of the floodway. I’m also grateful that we have a pump station in our dike district, so once the river recedes, we can get rid of our water much more quickly than areas that have to wait for it to evaporate or break up part of their dikes to re-drain their valleys. We really have it easy compared to many people in this state right now.
Next is a view looking across our pasture. In it, there is a single shipping container (the kind they put on the back of semi trucks). But, oh, there used to be two of those out there -where did the other one go? It floated away, and is now lodged way back in the weeds on the neighboring lot, across a drainage ditch, in a place where likely nobody will ever be able to retrieve it without cutting it into pieces.
I have to utter a little I-told-you-so to myself, because our ex-neighbor Nick had bought these things as a cheap way to have “instant buildings” on his property. I tried to tell him they weren’t a good idea in the flood plain, that the water would move them who-knows-where. But I could tell he thought I was a silly girl who didn’t know what she was talking about, and he insisted they’d be fine. I’m just glad the thing traveled the other way, and didn’t take out our brand new fence! And, it’s out of our valley view now, so at least we only have one tacky thing to look at. There was a ton of debris and freebie farm junk over there too, and most of that is now lodged in our fence. But now we can dispose of it, something I’ve been itching to do, but not feeling legal to before now!
Third is a view of the road disappearing into the flood waters. From here, the water goes for miles through pastureland. I can never really wrap my mind around how much water this is, to fill up an entire valley. This is the fourth flood I’ve seen here, and it is still amazing to me and everyone else here. Neighbors still all stand in awe when the water comes, everyone just gathers, stands and stares (or helps rescue a llama, when necessary!). And after the water goes, and I look out, I cannot re-envision the water or believe how high it once was. It just seems impossible.
Fourth is a closer view of how the water roils on the opposite side of the road. The county has re-designed this stretch of road more than once, in an effort to enable it to withstand this incredibly erosive water action. In previous floods, the waterfall action of the water would erode under the pavement and blow out the road, and it would take months to repair. Now, there is a concrete curve on that side, and wire baskets of rock underneath that. The cement curve helps guide the water over into a more graceful waterfall motion, so that it can’t start digging under the asphalt. And the wire baskets allow water to travel under the road, so that pressure can equalize on either side more quickly, to reduce the force on the road bed. This design seems to be working, it lasted through the 2006 flood, and seems to be holding up now. This is the rough waterall through which the llama took a tumble. The road sign in the photo has been knocked over from the current.