I never thought that we would see another epic event like the floods of '93. So much so that I even did a Thursday Throwback post about it a little while back that you can check out here. Now keep in mind that it's not that I thought we wouldn't experience it again because I was being arrogant. I just thought that both the city of Ames and Des Moines were now better equipped since then to prevent something like that from happening again. Apparently I was wrong. Especially as it pertains to Ames.
I should have known how things were heading as I was getting home last night. 13th Street is one of the main roads in Ames that connects to the highway and several parts of it were covered with water. By the time I was less than a mile from my house, I saw that a huge portion of the road had already submerged one vehicle. Cars were turning around trying to find alternate routes. The problem was that several of the alternatives weren't a whole lot better. A drive that should have taken me 5 minutes ended up taking 30. The best road I could find still called me for having to drive thru what seemed like a mini-lake. I have to hand it to Cruella. She hung in there and got thru it without stalling.
It didn't take a genius to figure out that there would be water in the basement again. I just figured it would be in the same room where we had problems before. That one was still being worked on from the last rain (which was only a couple of days ago) and was nearly completely dry. But this recent torrential downfall started it up all over again. As if that wasn't enough, the rain also infiltrated one of the other rooms downstairs. There was so much water that come morning there was an inch of water in the entire basement. The carpeted basement. Oddly enough, the one room that had no carpet-- the bathroom --did not have a drop of water in it. Go figure.
Then I go outside and see that the police have closed off our street to thru traffic. I initially couldn't figure out why though. There was no standing water anywhere. But as I walked out further to the intersection, I saw why. The road at the bottom of the hill was entirely submerged in water. So much so that it looked like there was a little river running across it. Ironically, it happened to be right at the entrance of the newly built aquatic center. I know they had to be salty over that. Even after that water on the roadway was eventually cleared off to allow thru traffic (which still took a few hours), they couldn't do anything about the aquatic center's parking lot. Today got up to 100 degrees and nobody could enjoy the benefits of the aquatic center because its parking lot was now a lake.
Once the road was opened, I took a break from cleaning the basement to see how extensive the damage was across the city. The first place I headed to was Hilton Coliseum. Remember back in '93 how it flooded so much that there was standing water inside? Well it happened again this year. The height may vary depending on what news source you go to, but they all agree it was well above 5 feet in there. If the pictures are any indication, that was a conservative estimate.
Lastly, I headed to Duff Ave. It was another main artery which connected Ames to the interstate. The news had said that pretty much all of the businesses on South Duff had to close due to flooding but I wanted to see for myself. They weren't over-exaggerating at all. Water had taken over the entire area. It was an equal opportunity flood too. It made sure that it took out Wal-Mart as well as it's competitor Target right next door. The first picture at the top gives you the view of South Duff's demise. You can get an even better look at the photos if you double-click on them. Gotta' love that Pano app for the iPhone!
I don't know what the official tally is for total amount of rain we had, but I would have to think these flood were worse than 1993. The most telling factor of that is that Ames was pretty much closed off from the rest of civilization for most of the day. You probably could have gotten in from the north, but there's nothing up that way until you hit Minneapolis nearly three hours away. I just hope it's better come tomorrow so my trip to Dallas won't get prolonged. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.