Friday, August 2, 2013


raining cats and dogs Friday afternoon

I posted the Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day rain song on Facebook.  It was pouring.  I heard jokes about seeing an ark in progress.  Now I hear there are flash flood warnings.

In the midst of this, it occurred to me how different a rainstorm is here than in Haiti.  Thunder and lightning and rain are just no big deal to most of us.  We don't think much about drainage.

I wonder if the little fish in my sister's fountain pond will still be there in the morning. This afternoon, the pond level had already risen several inches. 

This evening as we drove back to the hospital, we said, "Wow, look at all that water rushing down the road."  My sister complained that her socks were wet, and I thought how fortunate I was that I hadn't put any on, as my sneakers have holes to let out water - and therefore let it in. (They were great shoes for Haiti, but I may need to rethink these shoes now that I'm back in snow country.)   Wet feet aren't a problem.

On the way home from the hospital, though, it was still pouring, and there was water streaming through the parking garage.  How glad were were to have that parking garage! No need to make a mad dash to the car. As we pulled out into the dark, rainy night, it occurred to me that if this kind of rain were happening in Port-au-Prince, there would be a lot of people whose homes would be washed out.

earlier this summer

Here I notice the intermittent hum of the sump pump in the basement, but I'm not worried about any homes being washed away.  My father points out that there are big floods here, and I do remember the Flood of '82, when all the high schools were dismissed so we could help sandbag (do I date myself?), but that was slow, so slow, not the result of one good thunderstorm.

from  30th Anniversary of the Great Flood of 1982: Where were you?
As the magnitude of the disaster became clear city officials set up sandbagging stations around town, manned mainly by high school kids. They filled more than a million sandbags to reinforce dikes and protect property. Volunteers fanned out all over town, piling sandbags, evacuating residents and rescuing belongings. It was a civic effort whose story survives as legend to this day.
“The number of people that came to do whatever they could do,” recalls Dick Fox, “the sandbags, whether that was a friend or competitor or customer. And so you know it really was a community spirit kind of thing.”
Fort Wayne’s plight and her spirit made national headlines, the nation called us ‘the city that saved itself’. And on March 16th President Ronald Reagan flew in from Washington to praise the city’s resolve, raise our spirits and join in the fight. Fort Wayne’s three rivers would hover above flood stage until March 26th. By the time the waters receded 9000 people had been evacuated, 2000 homes destroyed, 56-million dollars in damage.

In Haiti could also pretty much assume that there would be no power in our neighborhood. When a thunderstorm was in progress, the electric company normally shut it off even if they'd turned it on earlier. Here I was surprised when my sister made sure my dad had a flashlight in case the power went out.  That possibility hadn't even occurred to me - but I also didn't feel the need to get one. (Honestly, I don't remember a single time the power has gone out here in Indiana just because of the rain. The Blizzard of '78, yes.  This doesn't quite stack up against that.) If the power goes out, I'll just go to sleep for the night. No problem.  I might even sleep better with real dark and no little noises from various electronic devices.  Maybe Piper the hedgehog would even take a nap instead of running on his wheel.

I heard this was to be an unusually active hurricane season.  So far, so good.  Let's pray that continues. When it rains hard in Haiti, just a normal rain, it floods.  If Haiti takes a hit from a hurricane, it will be a disaster they can't afford.  Just praying the heavy rain will stay away.

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