Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby- Our Flood- 6/24

The weather was rainy- the news said Tropical Storm Debby was going to dump some rain, a few winds, and that was it. Nothing huge.. no warnings, nothing to listen for except the possibility of a tornado warning. We've had rainstorms far bigger than what they were predicting. In an instant things could change, we knew that, so we took precautions, and responded quickly when within 15 minutes, our home was on the brink of being flooded. Here's our story.

We went to church on Sunday. Our friends and family from up north called worried. We took this picture to assure them that there was nothing to worry about. This was on our way home from church:

When we got home, we got changed, and heard the intensity of the rain increase on our roof. My concern was our pool, as it's in our screened in lanai, and I didn't want it to overflow. The rain was bad, but the week before, we'd seen heavier rain. We looked into the front yard, and there were puddles in the street.

The rain continued to pound. We looked outside again, and saw this:
The street was beginning to get water in it. Again, not totally unheard of- Florida storms can be a little crazy. As my husband pointed out, the water was over the sidewalk. Our property is on an incline, up from the road, so honestly, we weren't really stressed.

That's when things started to change. We noticed the water was starting to really rise, and the rain was intensifying. It couldn't get as high as our driveway, we thought, because of the incline. This was about seven minutes from the last picture:

We decided it would be a good idea to try to move the car closer to the house. Our garage had stuff from the storage unit in it, and we wouldn't be able to put it in there. We pulled it sideways, as high as it could go. The rain continued to fall.

I ran to the back of the house and realized the pool was three inches under water already. I ran out because I saw the neighbors back yard was full of water, too. The water OUTSIDE of the screened in lanai was higher than inside our patio. What would happen if the water outside came into the lanai??!

I ran back into the house, grabbed plastic, tape, anything heavy, towels, and enlisted the kids to help shore up the doors, from the inside! Water was starting to come, and sit into the tracks on the bottom of the sliding glass doors. We have three doors across the back of the house- one in the den, one in my room, and one in my daughters. We moved the furniture away from the doors, and as close to the middle of the house as we could. My son has a picture window that's almost floor to ceiling in his room. We went in there next and took this picture:

There was a total of fifteen minutes from the puddles over the sidewalk picture, to that one. Fifteen minutes until we sat and watched and prayed that the water wouldn't come into the front of the house, because it was coming into the back of the house, through the sliders.

Two of our neighbors were outside, doing everything they could to pull debris from the storm drains, one, hurried inside to try to call the county for help.

The county turned the pumps on, and fifteen minutes later, it looked like this again:
During the whole storm, I was inside with the kids, and my husband was mostly outside, trying to help our neighbors, and save our home, car, and garage. The neighbor to the right of me was barely affected, the two neighbors to the left of me had 4-7 inches in their homes.

These are some of the pictures that my husband took as the water was receding:
The water line went a quarter of an inch from going over the windowsill.

The water line, as it receded.
The highest it got was a quarter inch from the top.
The kids were scared, I maintained my composure in front of them, but was freaking out as I updated my status via facebook, begging our friends and family to pray for us, and our town.

The next day, we had blue skies, nobody could tell anything happened, until they saw the water lines, or piles of ruined household items at our curb, and at many of our neighbors.

The day after Tropical Storm Debby

That's the hubster; he's 6 feet tall.

We are extremely blessed, as the flood did no major damage. We had to pull up the laminate floor in the back, and allow it to dry properly. There is one section that might totally need to be replaced. The water came into the garage, and we had to throw out a large amount of our stuff. Many memories, holiday decorations, pictures.. and my husband handled it magnificently. I, on the other hand, sobbed. (The fact that I was six weeks postpartum may have had something to do with that.) But looking back at it, we were blessed because we could have lost so much more. Stuff is stuff and can be replaced.

Our old neighborhood basically got annihilated- some homes had 18 inches of water in it!  I'm very grateful we survived with very minimal damage, and with only a little bit of water in our home. To everyone that was affected much worse that us, I will continue to pray for you.

So.. our friends and family may look at us like we're insane when the next storm comes around and we go above and beyond to try to protect our home, but I don't care. I never experienced a flash flood like that.. but to know that the county could have prevented it, by ensuring the pumps were on- broke my heart.



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