Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dreading and Hoping - Record flooding of 2011

Two years ago, I blogged about the river rising - it was the last time I worried enough to rent a storage unit in nearby high n' dry Natchez, Mississippi. Back then I had trouble sleeping and my heart ran fast in anticipation. It went to nearly 58 feet, the third record flood year in five. 

As of two days ago, we knew this year would be worse with officials saying 60 ft (flood stage is 48) on the 20th of May - just a little over two weeks. Yesterday morning on my way down the levee to pickup crawfish, I received a call from a friend asking if I thought there would be any storage units left in Natchez. I replied, oh sure. Then I met a very depressed farmer at the convenience store who said "You better be getting your stuff out. My father was on the levee board and it can't hold 65'." At the time I didn't know they'd revised the assessment. Within just a few hours, that declaration went from 60 to 65 feet, and a couple of unofficial corp engineers say likely 68'. This would be twelve feet above the river level in 1927 when much of Louisiana was under water and you could boat just about anywhere from the river to north Louisiana. 

So from my somewhat lackidaisical attitude yesterday morning when I thought it was going to 60 to quiet desperation yesterday afternoon, quite a change. I tried to rent a storage unit in Ntz yesterday and they were ALL taken. Finally I found one in Brookhaven which will cost a fortune to make several trips. 

I’m torn between trusting the levee officials and the levees and leaving most of the furniture and a couple appliances to seeing if we can move everything. The thing is we don’t know where the water will come from, what the result will be as far as evacuation, and if or when. So we must prepare for all, whether we know ahead or get caught in the middle of the night with no vehicles. We are also hearing that the Black River behind Monterey is rising and if it jumps that levee we may be screwed even if the Mississippi levees hold.

Is it any wonder, I heard on CNN that the only state that had a rise in anxiety in the last couple years was Louisiana - the hurricanes, the river flooding three out of the last five years, the oil spill and now this.

I’m sincerely hoping I’m going to all this trouble for nothing because the devastation will be catastrophic. We’re even planning on shutting down the crawfish business early and probably our snow ball biz if necessary and dragging them to Natchez to a safety. We’ll put stuff inside each of them as well. It will mean pulling loose from utilities and resetting afterwards, but it’s better to be safe. If we lose our house AND our livelihood, it would be difficult to recover. 

Ironically, yesterday was the last day anyone was allowed to drive down the levee. If you drive it now for any reason, you'd be arrested. Here are a couple shots I took while driving with the river at 50'. Picture it at 65!

I'll be blogging each day about the process of packing up, the decision making, the questions, the fear and trembling, and the hope.
Stop by.

And if you've been through a similar situation or are one of those affected by the Alabama tornado outbreak, God Bless you. 
Share your story here.



Michael Malone said...

Keep safe, Marley.

Bill Kirton said...

What a horrible situation to be in. It all sounds so inevitable. I hope it turns out to be less bad than you're suggesting Marley. As Michael says, keep safe, please.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, guys. I just it all is just a big gigantic inconvenience. But the governor has already declared a disaster so we know there will be flooding and damage no matter what.

M.V.Freeman said...

Oh, I so feel for you. To make that decision, what to take, what to leave. Its so HARD!

As you know I was in the middle of the Alabama storms. We (thank God) did not sustain too much damage--just a tree down, but many lost everything, they have nothing to salvage--250 plus dead in this state alone.

With no power, we left to go to TN. I was faced with what I needed to bring. It came down to this: Some clothes, the most important paperwork, my computer and nook. That's it. The rest I figured if it was still there when I came back -lucky me.

Funny, I didn't have much heartache about it, especially when we arrived in TN to find that the house we were to stay in was the only structure barely standing after being hit with a tornado that leveled the rest of the neighborhood. We spent the next few days clearing it out. This experience changed me. When I returned home, with everything intact I feel grateful and guilty, since so many have nothing.

I pray for you, that you don't have to deal with the loss of you home. Stay safe and may only good come of what at first seems catastrophe.