Sunday, May 02, 2010

How a simple trip to the mall became an adventure

Currently Reading: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Now, to set up this story we have to go back a week or so to when CC decided to join the YMCA.  She's really been enjoying it, taking her Zumba classes 3 or 4 days a week.  She decided to add belly dancing to that as well.  Great!  She took her first class earlier in the week and had a great time so we went out Saturday to get one of those skirts with the coin things on it.  You've seen them, it's what belly dancers wear.

It was raining when we left.  No big surprise there.  We had the occasional storm warning, flash flood watch, whatever.  We get those all the time.  I'm sure you get them too right?  I lived down in San Antonio 23 years and we were always getting flash flood watches and warnings.  Got them in Memphis too.  That was just a sort of heads up that you should avoid driving in places where the water tended to pool.  Don't hang out by the river or creek.  Careful at those low water crossings.

We got to the mall early afternoon and got CC's skirt then decided to have lunch.  It was raining when we got out of the car but the water was no more than an inch or so in places.  Again, the usual stuff.  Puddles here and there, a bit of water by the curb.  No big deal.  Even when we were getting lunch we didn't think much about the pouring rain we saw out of the window.  We're at the mall.  It's a big parking lot.  No rivers or creeks near us.  No big deal.  Hell the mall isn't even at the lowest point in the area.  The land slopes down a bit further.  Nothing to worry about right?

Right, well this was the scene when we got out of Macy's.  

And the water kept on rising.

And rising.

This is our car.  I waded out to see if it was possible to get it out of there, move it to higher ground.  No way that was going to happen.  

Of course, we weren't the worst off.  Check out this BMW convertible parked right in front of us!

We left the car there and just walked home.  Yes, you read that right.  We walked home.  Of course we had to wade around that big lake in the parking lot and there were several places where the current was moving pretty fast (but not fast or deep enough to be a danger).  The police had closed off the mall parking lot and were directing traffic to get people out.  Smaller roads all the way home were blocked.  People were having a very hard time trying to get out of the area.

When we got home, we turned on the news and WOW!.  You had parts of the highway closed due to flooding.  At one location they had this great footage of a portable building floating alongside the highway then it smacked into the bridge.  A car later floated up behind it and smacked into the back of it and the building just fell apart.  Pretty wild stuff.

This morning it was a little better.  We called the insurance company and AAA and arranged to get the car towed out of the parking lot.  We went to the mall and surveyed the damage.  It wasn't bad so much as dirty.  All the debris and mud and stuff that was carried by the water was covering everything.

Our car is not looking so hot.

Check this out though.  The Macy's exit where we came out Saturday.  The water was rising so high, so fast, they actually put up sand bags.  Now that's what I call flash flooding.

Right now the problem is we've got more rain heading into the area.  A lot of drains are clogged with leaves and branches and stuff so things aren't draining like they should.  Several areas have lost power.  It's a mess out there.  About the only vehicles moving around are the 18 wheelers and tow trucks.  City officials have said repeatedly that if you don't have to go out today, don't. 

So I guess today we'll kick back here at the apartment, watch the rain on TV and just wait for things to dry out.

If you want to see the rest of the pictures, including shots of the inside of our flooded car, I've posted them online here.