Friday, March 21, 2008

...And the Rains Came...

You'd have to be living under a rock to have missed the coverage of the Great Flood of '08. Here in Fenton, just south & west of St. Louis, the water is getting deep. The Meramec River is swelling out of its banks right now, and is expected to reach record levels. This happens every now & then; we also had "Great Floods" in 1982 and 1993. I'm just not sure our community was quite prepared for how quickly and intensely this one would come on. In some places, they are tracking the water levels in terms of how many feet it is rising per hour.

Since Tyson & I were both off today (for Good Friday), we took a short drive around town and took some photos of the water.

We first went to the intersection of highway 141 and Interstate 44. I usually drive through here (under the overpass) to get to and from work each day. Here's what it looks like today.
As I said, the water is continuing to rise at an alarming rate, and the area where all these people were standing will likely be submerged by this evening. In fact, if you can make out the Taco Bell on the far right side of the photo, they are already closed because their building (and the Steak & Shake next door) will both be under water before the river crests tomorrow night.

Yep, I usually drive under here to go to work. See how traffic is backed up on I-44? That's because MoDOT has closed all but one lane of the highway while they try frantically to put up plastic/concrete/sandbag barriers to keep the interstate from going under in this spot.

The river hasn't flooded this particular intersection by spilling out of its banks. It's sneaky here. The river water is literally spewing out of the ground via the storm drains that usually carry rainwater away from the highway.

After inspecting 141 & 44, Ty & I went to what's known as "Old Fenton." This is just down the road from our house... and he was shocked to see that we couldn't get to the park where he usually plays. (The park is, by the way, completely submerged at this point.)

Tyson was fascinated by all of this water. We talked about how dangerous this type of flooding can be, and he really seemed to take to heart the fact that, while it's a bit exciting and awe-inspiring, the flood is also very sad & disappointing. He understands that those buildings are where people live, that they had to leave their homes, and when they return... well, things will be a ruined mess.
As we were walking back to our car, though, we got to see something that was truly amazing:
These are just a few of the volunteers who have come to our town to try & save some of the homes & businesses that are in danger. The Fenton Mayor went on the news last night and asked people from the community to come and help sandbag the most threatened parts of the town.

They expected 50 or so people... and got nearly 400.

People have come from miles & miles away to help our community. Tyson was really impressed by all these people "coming to the rescue." We wanted to help out, but Tyson is still too small, and I am, at the moment, a bit too pregnant. It was really touching to see the community coming together to try & help these people who are in danger of losing their homes and businesses.

It was truly a bright spot in an otherwise dark situation.
Well, we are going to spend the rest of our Good Friday decorating Easter Eggs & finishing up the packing & cleaning that has to be done before Sunday night. Of course, I'm sure I'll find at least a little time in there for some knitting. I've recently stalled on Elefante, but have been working like crazy on Sweet Pea's blanket. It won't be done before he arrives, but it should be close...

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