16 July 2012

Nature Be Scary!

Rain. Living in the Sonoran Desert, we are always thirsty for rain. Especially since we are in the twelfth year of drought. Normal rainfall average is supposed to be eleven inches per year; we've been lucky to get nine the past few.

Well, I think we got an entire year's worth last evening in a storm so intense it snapped power poles, flooded cars in parking lots, and generated nearly 100 calls to the city fire department in an hour--and that doesn't count the outlying fire departments.

Rain in the desert is a spotty chance. Some areas get doused, others may barely get a sprinkle. I've seen it rain in the front yard and not the back. Last night was our turn for the torrent, and I am sorry to say we were unprepared at my house.


Usually that black mucky area is grass in the winter. This summer it fried to a crackly crunch so early, we decided to not waste water trying to save it. Unfortunately, dead grass doesn't hold the soil; quite a bit washed up against the wall where the grate empties into the desert--and of course, clogged the grate. Hence the river and lake in the back yard.

On the side of the house, water backed up when debris washed up against the back gate, forming a damn dam. Where was that water to go but into my house? This has happened before, you see. When the storm is especially intense the pvc pipes under the gate can't let water through fast enough. I had just cleaned those out the other day, but that wasn't enough.

Our guest bath flooded about three inches deep and tried to flow into the carpeted hallway. We threw every towel we had at it, even sarapes, extra blankets, and old comforters. My husband wondered about the back gate as he bailed water into the bathtub with a sand bucket from my son's childhood days. Out I ran into the deluge.

When I opened the back gate, I nearly fell over from the power of freed water rushing into the yard. It was at least a foot deep. I propped the gate open, grabbed the nearest tool (which happened to be a hoe) and started digging a canal away from the house to channel the water more quickly.

It was still pouring rain. I was soaked. All I could think was, "Don't get into the room with the boxes of my books. Don't get my books."

I had already texted my son at the gym, telling him to stay put until the storm ended. What I didn't know was that the place had immediately lost electricity when the power poles snapped a mere two blocks west of there. Lightning struck the nearby JC Penneys store and water collapsed the roof.

My son told me how he ran out to the car. Sirens of ambulances, fire trucks, and police wailed non-stop. My 1995 Lexus sat between a Jag and a Corvette in a lake that had formerly been the parking lot. Luckily, the engine started and he was able to drive to higher ground, unlike the unfortunate lower-sitting cars to either side. The only damage was to the speaker system. He had to wait for the river that filled the street to recede before he attempted to drive home. He was rather upset we hadn't answered any of his phone calls, but then he saw we'd been a bt busy ourselves. He came outside and helped me dredge more mud away from the house.

I am so grateful we are all okay, that the car still runs, that the damage is just some soppy carpet. It could've been so much worse.

As my son says, "Damn, Nature! You be scary!"


  1. As ridiculous as it sounds, I feel somewhat responsible for your trouble. You know I've been pissing and moaning on FB about no rain at our house, etc., ad nauseum, for about a week now. I guess the Rain Gods decided to put their money where my mouth was and, well, you suffered.

    Oh sure, we got rain at our house. Pouring, drenching, rain so hard we couldn't see even to our front walk. It looked like a shower curtain of water. So that's why I feel guilty, but I'm glad Parker got home safely and your books didn't catch hell. Love you girl...Massachusetts

  2. Soppy carpet is not so bad when you consider other possibilities. Glad you are all safe and by now, hopefully, dry! And the books?

  3. Books are fine--yay! And I agree, soppy carpet is a small inconvenience compared to what could have been. At least my arm and back muscles had been strengthened digging the patio foundation so hoeing mud didn't bother me at all. :-)

  4. Hard to believe you might need flood insurance in the desert. Glad all is well now though, with the exception of the carpet.

  5. Unusual to think you might need flood insurance in the desert! Glad all is okay, with the exception of the carpet.

  6. Trying one more time to comment. Blogger is a nightmare these days. Seems unusual you might need flood insurance in the desert. I'm glad all is well with the exception of some carpet.

  7. Wow Jude, we were having a delightful day in the swimming pool yesterday here in Queen Valley not that far away from you. We could hear thunder in the distance I guess that was your house. Great video.

  8. LOL Thanks, Cathy. And for Linda R, I received your comment on my email feed but it doesn't show up here on Blogger. I feel your frustration! And thanks, carpet can be cleaned or replaced, so I'm grateful that was all.

  9. Hey the comments showed up in the spam folder--bloody blogger!