When It Rains, It Pours

Holy moly.  I don’t recall ever seeing so much rain at one time.  And I remember Hurricane Alicia in 1983 and with what may be the worst flooding in our area, Tropical Storm Allison (hit twice, back-to-back) in 2001.

I kid you not — our property just witnessed 4-5 inches of rainfall in less than 30 minutes.   It literally opened up and let loose on us.  The back fence along the creek?  Not even visible from inside the house.  Just a blinding wall of falling water.

Hearing the downpour from the back bedroom as it began, it sounded like a lot of water.  When I got up to look out the window, what struck me wasn’t that I could no longer see the back of the yard, it wasn’t even the gutters mimicking Niagra Falls, inundated with roof run-off.  It was what I saw when I looked down that concerned me the most.

Cripes.  A lake of water was quickly collecting against the house in the course of just a few minutes. Uh oh.

I sprang to action.
Sprinting past Scott in the office (he had no idea what I was doing), I grabbed two shovels from the garage and slipped on my gumboots.  When Scott came out to see what I was up to, I put the shovel in his face.  “We’ve got some digging to do!”

This was some serious water; it just kept coming, and kept coming.  I’d never seen anything like it. We both got to work post haste, me on my trench, he on his, working feverishly to relieve the water that was now 6″ deep around the back of the house; the weep holes of the brick façade were completely submerged.  Oh no.  

The soggy earth was easy to move and two shovels made quick work of the ground, excavating nearly a foot down and 20 feet out for both relief trenches.  Gotta get that water flowing.

Slowly, slowly the water began to drain out to the yard, away from the foundation.  But it’s not moving fast enough, cannot keep up with the rain that is still falling and falling hard.  Something is keeping the gutters from emptying.

Scott had an idea.  He ran and got the plumber’s snake and inserted it into the 100′ section of drain pipe.  He turned, I pushed.  I peered around the corner to see what looked like Old Faithful at the edge of our property.  That’s more like it.  “It’s clear!” I yelled back to him.

Lightening struck a few times, and a couple of them were quite close.  Good thing I’m in rubber boots, right?  The rain was really coming down by now and my boots quickly filled up with water to the knees.

As quickly as it began, it stopped.  Frenzied, sopping wet, and looking at each other, we realized the worst of it is now over.  The crisis, averted.  The best part?  No water got into the house.

Scott and I gave a joyful high five.  Teamwork, that’s what I’m talking about; only 15 minutes had passed with all of that.

We went back in, drenched, to a house with no power.  It’s another fuse that needed replacing, the power company told me.  Yeah, we’ve heard that before.

Scrabble anyone?

* * *

Before the sky opened up, we took the boys to Brazos Bend State Park for a morning nature walk. The girls have been staying at their cousins, and we gained another boy (cousin) in the exchange.  It’s been like a mini-vacation for us since the little mess-and-noise-makers were picked up on Thursday.  It’s all back to normal by the end of the week.

Here are a few scenes from the park for your visual pleasure, processed entirely by my camera in usual fashion.

Water lily, greater egret in the background.
Anhinga, sunning.

If only we’d known what was coming.  The clouds built rather quickly.

A developing thunderstorm in the direction of our house.

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39 thoughts on “When It Rains, It Pours

  1. The crawdads are swimming in our front lawn after a month of straight rain…we do not have to shovel it…in NY State where I was before Tennessee they have had the equivalent in snow so I am happy. It will eventually dry. Glad you are safe. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Yes, water is better than snowfall, as far as I am concerned! Lakes on the property are fine by me, as long as they don’t wind up in the house. Thanks for stopping by to comment. Nice to have you here!

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  2. Brilliant post. It reminded me of one time a few years back. The last time we had a proper summer over here (2006!). We had a hosepipe ban but, ridiculously, while it wasn’t legal to use a hose to water one’s veggie plants etc, it was legal to fill swimming and paddling pools with it. So every day I fill the kids’ paddling pool at the bottom of the garden so I could empty it on the plants at the end of the day. Mid afternoon, just after the kids finished school for the summer, the heavens opened and we had half an hour of the heaviest rainfall I have ever experienced. It came in through the roof and the floor. Hubby was at work of course. So I ended up on the roof clearing the gutters as lightning crashed around me. Crazy! Serious stress at the time as we were leaving for a three week trip to Canada the next morning and I was in mid-packing frenzy. But it was impossible not to see the funny side when a lake formed at the bottom of our garden and the paddling pool ended up floating on it!

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    1. By funny story, Gina, and I missed this comment somehow! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. The floating kiddie pool is indeed a sight to see. As for watering veggies during a drought, I just used bath and dishwater instead. Ours must be pumped up from the aquifer — nothing so frustrating as seeing the neighbors convert precious drinking water to ground water through their automatic sprinkler system!

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  3. LOL! Too funny. Only because I remember almost the same thing happening to us. Our first house was down from the driveway, and we had a nice set of stone steps from the drive to the front door. Well, we had one of those “the sky just opened” kind of storms and those steps turned into a torrent of a waterfall. What can you do? Dig trenches for your life!

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    1. Aw, Libby, I missed this comment! We have lots of those “sky opening up” moments. Had one just the other night, in fact. Last year, we were playing a bit of catch-up following the worst drought in 50 years.

      It was so good to talk to you this week. I wish you well on your endeavors!

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      1. oh, no worries Shannon. I know you’ve got your hand full right now. Good luck with the carnival.

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  4. Excellent photo’s. Beautiful. I agree the weather is freaky, really really hot, really really dry or really really really wet. Mother nature is starting to act the way we do, I think! Or she trying to tell us something…:)

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    1. Good to have you here, Penny! We love the weather here in all its facets. The Water Planet — a unique collection of bi-polar molecules, at just the right spot in orbit around our sun. All the water we’ll ever need is all right here, conserved in the Earth’s crust and atmosphere, and we’re heavily reliant on it’s weather activities to keep us hydrated.

      I also believe Mother Nature is speaking to us, “Welcome to my home! Enjoy your short stay, mingle with the company, but please take your shoes off and don’t jump on the furniture.”

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    1. Thanks, Bobbie. Wishing and praying for some rain up your way. Hang in there. It was tough for us last year, but as with everything in life, we got through it.

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    1. Thanks! Glad to have you stop by. I think you and I may be cut from the same mold. Nah, scratch that — it connotes plastic. “Two peas in a pod.” That’s better.

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  5. We must’ve got the storm you did a bit later. I have never been in a storm like that before! We were driving when it hit, and the highway’s ditches were instantly turned into raging rivers even with the surface of the road. A sink hole appeared on the shoulder. By the time we got home the rain had stopped, but our neighborhood pond had had so much water so suddenly that our normal two foot wide creek was about twenty feet wide, fifteen feet deep, and sprinting down the greenbelt. We nearly lost a bridge, and there were swimming holes instead of soccer fields.

    This morning, the ducks from the ponds were wandering straight up the middle of our street – I postulated that they were still angry at the state of their pond and wandering in search of a better spot.

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    1. Oh, then I’m sorry to have sent it your way! At least we have absorption here. I’m guessing your topography is slightly rockier and sandier. I was able to mow yesterday with a heavy lawn tractor — even with water still in the ditch (which I avoided).

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  6. Wow, wish we were getting some of your rain! It is soooo dry here and no rain and tomorrow another 100 degree day. Maybe we switched places? It looks like Texas here.

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    1. Yes, it is rather swapped isn’t it? You can have the triple digits. Keep ’em as long as you like. I’m rather enjoying our “cool” weather in the 90’s.

      Scottie’s been keeping us abreast of any impending inclement weather. He and Brian may be cut from the same mold. 🙂

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    1. Long term plans: Adding screens to the top of a couple of lengths of gutter might prevent crepe myrtle “fluff” (flowers, debris the consistency of cotton) from lodging in the horizontal drainage on the way out of the yard. That is what ultimately led to the collecting water and was popped free by the plumber’s snake.

      I think I told Scott at one point that I thought a squirrel family might be stuck in the 4″ pipe. What came out sure looked like it!

      Our gutters manage the water in a pretty heavy downflow, but after a few minutes of THAT, they simply gave up. It was a lot of water in a very short period. We watched the creek rise a foot or so in the hour following, as it all drained off.

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  7. Wow! and Gosh! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What a thriller of a story, but glad you got the job done. Excellent photos, Shannon. I love the way you put the lily in sharp focus with that blurred background. A wonderful shot of an Anhinga, too. Send that rain to west Texas. Our lakes would fill again rather quickly.

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    1. We have plenty of rain to share. One good shower per week is plenty — we’ve had no less than 15 good drenchers this week.

      I also love the flower shot. The egret was flying through. If I’d been in drive mode, I might have had him with wings fully extended while landing. But nope, I missed it by a milli-second. As usual.

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  8. Whoa, that is crazy to get so much rain in such a short time! Quick thinking on your part, though. It’s dry as the Sahara up here, our lawn is turning brown.

    Those pictures you took are incredible! They seriously look like they could be in a magazine.

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    1. We had the Sahara thing last year. I lost MANY plants, wrote off our acre lawn as “toast” (I don’t water). Surprisingly, the turf grass came back gangbusters, no help from me. It’s now covered in tiny little mushrooms! Soooo much water this week.

      Thanks, Darla. That anhinga was posing for me; he gets all the credit. He gave me a better shot when he turned his head to tell me to go away.

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