Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 flood alert followup

 This is the island side of the dike.  I'm not sure what the big green pipe is, but it's pretty big.  maybe 8' tall and 6' in diameter.   Note that there's a gate in the upper right hand of that picture. You'll see that same gate in the next picture. 
This is the river side of the dike.  Note the gate.  the river level is 8-10' above the land inside the dike, and this isn't at peak water.  When the dike was installed in 1920, the land inside the dike was drained, and over the last 90 years has subsided quite a bit -- if the dike breaks, the island fill fill up like a bathtub, even if there's not a flood.  The reason that I worry during flood season is that...
 during a flood a huge quantity of debris comes down the river.  This picture was taken in the same place, about 4 hours later.  There's probably 60 trees, lodged in the pillars of the highway bridge, forming an impromptu beaver dam.  This sort of dam redirects the water into the dike, eroding it, and causes the water level to go up higher than it would otherwise.  The highway department sends out a trackhoe that sits on the bridge and knocks the logs loose as they float down the river, but they were a little slow this time, and a huge logjam formed before they had their equipment in place. 
 This is a business located a few miles north, at the intersection of highway 530 and interstate 5. (Satellite view here; this is the business located due east of the shell station; i'm standing with my back to the shell station as i took this picture)  The water in the foreground is about 2' deep, and is moving from left to right at about 6mph.  that's a pretty fast, deep flow.  The state patrol has closed this road at the time of this writing, but the businesses in this area are probably going to get a few feet of water.   My cow pasture is 2 miles upstream, but strangely enough doesn't have any flood water on it at all, despite being in the same flood plain.  Go figure.   Local news coverage here.
 At the gas station being slowly submerged, I saw this cool hovercraft.  It's a specialized rescue sled, and it's pretty darned cool. 
 No propellers; the nozzles at the rear propel and steer it.  You can see the skirt around the base; any flat surface -- water, dirt, mud, whatever, and it'll move right across it.  I've never seen one of these before, and they're very cool.

While I was there the water went up 6" more.  Pretty soon these guys won't have to unload this gadget.  It'll just float right off.


Across The Creek Farm said...

Good luck bro

Anonymous said...

How about rigging up a hovercraft to tow a barge. Then a flood becomes the most fun time to move stuff.

Random thoughts: How much high ground do you have? How long does it take the land to recover from the flood to support animals again?

Here everyone would be capturing the logs and reselling them as firewood.

Best of luck. bc.

Bruce King said...

The state considers "marketable timber" to be owned by the state, so it's actually a crime to pick the timber out of the water. They ignore folks who pick wood out who cut it into firewood, but that's a waste of nice, big trees. In the logjam I pictured there were probably 20 trees that are 36" at the stump and 40-80 feet tall. Lots of good lumber there.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Hope all goes well at your farm. That looks like a pretty serious flood. Makes me appreciate our snow. I'll take snow over floods.

lytha said...

In 1992 (I think) the Cedar River in Maple Valley flooded over its dike and right through the property where I kept my horse. The horses were gone by then, but the river came 6 feet high in the barn. The barn was built to withstand flooding so the structure remained, but ground level was a mess. When the water receded, I couldn't believe what was left on the property. Mostly logs, trees, telephone poles, but above all, mountains of river rock, just rock, no soil, undulating over the entire 5 acres. I learned a lesson about properties next to dikes.

Anonymous said...

a rescue craft like that was gotten by our local squad. rescued a woman who had a minor injury. tied her to the streatcher. tied streatcher to the craft. sunk. She drowned. great rescue. problem was training and procedure.

dont live near big water.

Anonymous said...

So the flood is made worse by the logjam, and the government owns the trees. If the government let the trees be taken away by salvagers maybe the logjam would never happen?