Feeble Knees

Monday, May 15, 2006

Worst in 70 Years

You'll be seeing my neck of the woods on TV a lot in the next few days. The worst flooding New England has seen in seventy years is just starting to happen, with reports that it's going to get a whole lot worse soon.

Thankfully we are still high and dry, so far. We have a brook out back that is starting to creep into our yard, but it's nothing compared to what some of our neighbors are dealing with. Our basement is dry - so far we've only got two seeping spots around a hairline crack in the floor. Considering how much rain has fallen (estimates are around 6+ inches in this area) it's amazing. Our septic hasn't failed yet either, but we're keeping an eye on that as well.

I keep watching the brook from the upstairs window. There's a very short list of routes that we'd be able to take to evacuate if necessary - one, to be exact. There's only two ways out of our neighborhood - one of them is already flooding. Thankfully the remaining route heads for higher ground. Yesterday, and again today as Bug slept, I pulled on my boots and went out back to see how bad things were getting. I sloshed through the tall grass, but the water was only covering my foot. I don't know how much more the ground can absorb. I made the mistake of stepping into a recently mulched spot where we planted a tree for Bug and was quickly in mud up to my ankle - it was solid packed earth just a few days ago.

It's not over yet. Another three or more inches of rain is forecast for this afternoon. Pretty much all the major and smaller rivers in southern New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts are forecast to crest in the next few days - many are already in flood. Dams upstream in New Hampshire are weakening and the water keeps rising. So the worst is yet to come.

In an area where home prices are some of the highest (and most mortgaged) in the country, this could spell a huge economic blow for many. It's probably safe to say that the majority of people around here do not have flood insurance. We live near a brook and we don't have it. It's never been much of an issue around here.

The irony is that we New Englanders have always been a little smug about the fact that we really don't have too much to fear by way of natural disasters. We don't have earthquakes. No volcanic activity. No wildfires. No tornadoes. Very rarely we get a glancing blow from a category 3 hurricane, but unless you live in a coastal community, that's not really a big deal. We don't really have too many (if any) poisonous insects, snakes, etc. We can get a bit of snow here and there, but we'll tell you, if you ask us, that we'll take the snow over some of the things other states deal with (like tornadoes). So we all have a false sense of security when it comes to things like this.
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