Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

We spent a few days following Christmas at my parents' home. We slept in the guest bedrooms in the basement. Tuesday morning just before five am Utah Dad woke me up. "I hear water running," he said. I was irritated about being awakened and mumbled a grouchy, "then go turn it off." "It sounds like a waterfall," he told me.

He went into the bathroom and then the basement kitchen to investigate. In the bathroom he discovered that the washing machine, while not running, was completely full of water and was spilling onto the kitchen floor. I went upstairs to wake my parents and we spent several minutes soaking up the water on the floor with towels. We also discovered that there was very little water pressure in the house. My dad went out to the garage to get his wet vac and heard the rushing sound of a river (there is not supposed to be running water near their home). The water main pipe about 180 yards up the road from my parents' home had broken and water was gushing down the street and filling the culvert just behind their house. My dad called the authorities.

After we soaked up the water, Utah Dad, my mom and I pulled on our coats and boots and went tromping through the foot of crusty snow with our flashlights to see the flooding. As soon as we opened the door we heard the sound of a rapid-filled river.

My parents have a twenty acre farm. The road past their house goes down a small hill before the road goes back up another steeper hill. A land dike separates the road from my parents' yard, garden and fields. The road is about three and half feet lower than the dike and it has deeper ditches on either side of the road. The dike has a buried pipe that was used for irrigation. This pipe was gushing water and a five foot wide river ran down through the fields--melting the foot of snow, filling the old pond and widening as it rushed toward the canal that divides their property at the east end.

We climbed up the dike (where the kids had gone sledding the day before) to watch the road fill with water. Two deputies blocked the road from oncoming traffic (not much on the country road in the middle of the night). In the few minutes that we stood there watching, the water began to crest over the dike and melt the snow near us. The swirling, fast moving pond stretched thirty yards up the sides of the road. It was at least three feet deep on the road and closer to ten feet deep in parts of the ditches.

We went back to bed. When we woke up they had turned off the water and drained it off the road. They worked to fix the break in the water main and my parents finally had water on in their house by late afternoon (we had already headed home).

It definitely livened up our short visit and my parents were very grateful that Utah Dad had heard the water so that the flooding in their basement wasn't worse.

I didn't the camera out until the area had been drained. Here's the video I took (mostly for the benefit of my siblings).


Marcus, Angie & Bug said...

and no pictures at all? i agree - if it were summer that would have been fun!

Rheanna said...

What an exciting adventure :o) Glad it didn't do too much damage!