Remember how I said the road will be covered by lunchtime? It was:
By dinnertime the water was through our gate:
It reached a high point around 10PM Tuesday night, still a few inches below the bottom row of post boxes (2010 had the two bottom rows underwader, so the level was a good half-meter below the worst flood we’ve experienced here).
By the time we woke up yesterday morning the water had already begun to recede, but the view at the weir downstream was still impressive:
Measuring by how much of the tree trunks are below the waterline, I estimate the water was flowing about a meter deep over the weir. That’s a LOT of water, people!
By lunchtime yesterday, we could see the road again…well, the mud covering the road, at least. And late afternoon we had a visitor taking advantage of the temporary wetlands with an abundance of forcibly relocated crabs and frogs.
This morning the river is safely back in its channel, and all that remains is lots of mud riddled with the little scratches of crabs that woke up to find they’re not in the water any more, and that there are predators about.
As stressful as it is to see the water rising, I’m glad I got to experience this one last time before we leave. It is humbling and inspiring to see the power of nature unleashed in this way.
Before you read on, take a look at this post I made almost a year ago. I’ll wait.
Taking the minion to daycare today was fun. It’s been raining for two days straight – aftermath of tropical cyclone Dineo last week a couple thousand miles north-east of us. Heading out, I almost ran into a fallen tree blocking half the road. Of the three access roads connecting the northern part of town, where daycare is, to the central part of town, where we live, two are closed due to flooding. Five of the schools in town are in the northern part. Traffic was a mess. I ended up taking the highway that runs past town to get back home, rather than deal with a road riddled with four way stops and a single lane bridge currently carrying the full brunt of morning rush hour traffic.
The storm drains are full – they’re not taking away the water any more. Rumour has it that in another town people have been water-skiing in the streets by hooking a ski rope to the back of a pickup truck. Sounds like a Jackass film in the making. The Vals River is visibly rising. I’m considering preemptively evacuating my car before the road becomes blocked. I estimate by lunchtime it will be too late. It looks like I’ll get to experience one last flood before we move.
Our new house is located between a lagoon and the ocean (oh, yeah, we found a house, our offer was accepted, just waiting on financing now), but luckily it’s at the top of a hill. Sure, the hill is actually a massive sand dune, but the wise man built his house on the sand, right?
Update: The river is in the road. My lunchtime estimate appears to have been a bit generous. I moved my car right after writing this post, though, so it’s safe.
When I left you yesterday we were still expecting some more water. It never came. In fact, by sunset the river was well on its way to being back where it’s supposed to be.
Actually, the river’s drainage is quite effective and the moment new water stops coming in from upstream it quickly reverts to its normal level. The exception was in 1988 when some trees got caught underneath the bridge by the weir and formed a dam. That time the river rose until it covered the surface of the bridge visible in the background on this photo.
I’ve mentioned before that we live next to a river. Well, the river has gone through some…changes since Saturday.
Last week still, it looked something like this:
Saturday we had a fair amount of rain, both here and in the catchment area, and it looked like this:
This morning we were woken by frantic knocking at our door. It looked like this:
Apparently the catchment area received a lot more rain last night and the river overflowed its banks, flooding our access road. Reportedly the guys at disaster management called the fire department to notify us, but the fire department didn’t know where our building was. A comforting thought.
Luckily, we’re all Afrikaners in the building and the saying goes, ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan(a Boer makes a plan). So, we cut the fence of the animal park next door and evacuated the cars that way round. The fire department showed up (eventually) and cut the lock on the access gate to the park and we could get out. Our parking area has been temporarily relocated to the security firm who’s our neighbour on the other side:
In the hour since I’ve taken these pics the water level has risen by about another three inches. Now it would have been too late to evacuate our cars.
I have to get to work now, but I’ll be back later with more updates and more photos. Have a great day. Mine’s turning out to be quite exciting.