Epic Flooding

The first thing I smelled when I opened my front door at 5 this Monday morning to take the dog out was river water. Thus, the tragedy of the weekend renewed.

I’ve lived here in Wimbledon 15 years. I have never seen anything like this. Sure, there’s a little creek hidden in a treeline at the edge of my little subdivision. I’ve gone there many times, like a kid, to look, to wade, to sit beside it with my dog. I’ve written stories about it. Published them. Sure, there’s a river at the far end of the larger Fieldstone Farms neighborhood, and sometimes it gets out of its banks. But this time, both river and creek became lakes. The neighborhood elementary school is flooded, and its playground is gone, with water up to the basketball goal hoops.

Sunday afternoon, I put on my late husband’s old yellow slicker and slipped my camera in a buttoned pocket and set out on foot to see it all for myself. The rain still poured, and I walked. I cried as I walked and told myself I’d keep on walking until the rain stopped. If the rain would just stop, the flooding would stop, too. I walked right through flood waters. My neighbors were outside watching as water inched higher and higher. They measured. “It’s up a quarter of an inch,” one said. “You are getting quite detailed about it,” I said. “I have to,” he said.

Fieldstone Farms is a large neighborhood of about 2,000 homes, with a dozen or more smaller subdivisions. I walked to the intersection of Lexington Parkway and Fieldstone Parkway, where a right turn takes me to a park and to Cotton Lane. Yes, there’s a little river way down there, hidden in trees, way down an embankment, but you can’t see it from this intersection… Now, two cars submerged…

This is Summer Haven, next to Wimbledon. It’s on my long walk. There’s never any water to be seen. The man in the truck said hope wouldn’t do any good and prayer wouldn’t do any good – what’s gonna happen is gonna happen. I prayed anyway.

A close-up of Summer Haven. Note the mailbox. Note the air conditioning unit. These people were rescued by boat Saturday evening. A knock at the door. Police. “You’ve got 15 minutes. We’ll be back for you. Get ready.”

A school bus escorted by police arrives to take people from Fieldstone Farms to a shelter. They were being rescued by boat from their homes. This is three subdivisions away from me. I was standing curbside when the policeman stopped and asked if I was waiting to go to the shelter.

This is Wimbledon. MY neighborhood. It’s a circle. This is the arc of the circle opposite me.

There’s a quiet babbling creek way behind these houses hidden in the treeline. Probably some of my neighbors didn’t even know it was there. The creek suddenly grew and took on a life.

Neighbors watched and waited as the water filled backyards and crept up to garages.

This is my walking trail — the sidewalk between these two houses that now goes into “lake.” Solid lake behind these houses, which is all normally a big grassy common area. I remembered our block party back there two weeks after Nine Eleven and how peaceful it was that evening and how comforting it was to be surrounded by neighbors. The house on the left got six inches of water in the garage; the water was rising two inches per hour. The people moved belongings upstairs, held their breath, and the water stopped rising.

A neighbor child’s swingset…

A neighbor, surrounded…

Neighbors who live across the street from me assessing the situation. Will it keep rising? Will it get to us?

The view from my side of the circle. The water begins 7 houses down from me.

So far my house is dry. There’s an incline from the back of the circle to the front. But the floodwaters touch us all. My feet in 3-4 inches of the risen creek. My heart hurting for all. We don’t have flood insurance here. You won’t ever need it, we were told when we bought.

UPDATE: 7:00 AM MONDAY MORNING: I just walked around Wimbledon Circle — in the middle of the street — the water is gone from the street. So happy to see asphalt! Backyards and common areas are still flooded, but all seems well now in Wimbledon. The sun is out!

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5 Comments on “Epic Flooding”

  1. corey says:

    Epic!

  2. Sherry says:

    Good grief! Thankful that you are ok.

  3. Karen Brady says:

    So thankful you are okay.

  4. Louise Colln says:

    Kathy, I begin to understand. I cried for everyone.

  5. Jim Taulman says:

    Truly devastating for so many. Glad you are safe.


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