Monday, April 25, 2016

"It's Floodin' Down in Texas..."

So opens the lines to the "Texas Flood", a song written by Larry Davis in 1958 and made really famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan some 25 years later (you can watch a live performance here).

We endured the flooding, losing Pam's car about 100 yards (~ 100 m) from the safety of our neighborhood's gate.  It stalled in high water, and I got out of the car, waded to the gate, ran about a quarter of a mile (400 m) to get my Jeep, then drove back to retrieve Pam, my mom, and Mom's luggage (we were on our way back from picking her up at the airport).  All of this occurred about 1 AM.  We are all safe and well.  The house had no flooding, and our rain runoff pathed as we had hoped.  We were also blessed in that we lost no trees, at least none in the immediate perimeter of the house.

Just for an example of scale, the 20 inches (50 cm) of rain which fell on our five-acre (two-hectare) property can be expressed as 2,715,439 gallons (10,279,055 liters) of water.

Here is a video recorded two days later, after the torrential pouring had stopped (video link):

The entire drainage ditch was widened at least 50% by the fast moving waters.   The next day after the above video was recorded, we had heavy rains again (video link):

We now need to have a new hardscape plan to prevent further erosion of our drainage ditch, which will include four-inch (10 cm) thick flagstone and bullrock.  It might include the building of a retaining wall where the ditch bends around the front of the house and heads downhill.

Here are additional pictures from this "Texas Flood":

Pam's car, the next morning.  The water receded considerably, as the the night
before the water was up to the bottom of her headlights.

We had gotten through the worst part when the car died.  This is along the
drainage creek path -- the creek which actually (and ironically) runs along the
rear border of our property.  It had overflowed its banks and was over my
ankle-bone as I took this picture.  It was knee-high hours earlier when we
stranded the car.

I drove through the ankle-deep water in the Jeep to take this picture of the
water and Pam's car.  The Jeep, with no modifications, can traverse 30 inches
 (~80cm) of water.  Had we known it was going to flood like this, I would have
put the rear seat in the Jeep and we would have used it to go to the airport.

This is taken from our street, which is about 10 feet (3 m) above the
foundation of the house.  The leaning oak after which we have named our
home can be seen in the foreground. 

The water drains from the large pipeline right-of-way which runs across the
front of our property through the trees at this point, which is to the left
of the property in the picture above, in front of the two-car garage (the
structure on the far left).  Here we will add flagstone to slow the water's
velocity before it hits our drainage ditch.

This is the bend to which I referred above, and it is at least 100% wider than
it was the day before the rains.  I will probably build a retaining wall, as another
heavy rain could cause the tree to fall.

This is the way it is supposed to work, with the water draining around the
foundation pad and running downhill to the creek.  This part worked well.

Our deer returned to feed again, and paused long enough for me to take his
picture before entering the thicket.

The wildflowers remind us that there is life after the storm.  These have seen many, and continue to return and bless us
with their beauty.  These grow in the front of our property.