Saturday, November 30, 2013

Flood watch

My farm is located next to the North Fork of the Stilliguamish river, and this river has two faces.  On one hand it's pretty and has great fishing, but on the other it's the closest thing to a flash flood that this state has.

Most of the area that it drains is steep mountain foothills, and for the first few rains of the season the water soaks into the ground.  But after the ground is good and wet, WATCH OUT.  Any rain that falls comes into the river in a couple of hours.

In fact, I was so impressed with the torrents of rain that I bought this little weather station and it's been confirming that I get 1" or more rain for days straight.  In an 8 day period I got 9.7" of rain.  I'm going to compare that with the rainfall from hurricane sandy.  I get hurricane levels of rain but spread out over a week or 10 days.  And then I get it again.  And again.

So that graph up there shows the river rising 10' in 12 hours -- and it really DOES rise 10' up the banks.  I used to consider my 12' bank to the river to be 'high bank', but after watching this river do its thing, I'm glad I have it or I'd be underwater 15 or 20 times a year.

at 13 feet the river would start going over the bank into the lower parts of my fields; at 15' I'd have water 4" deep around the house.  The barns are actually elevated above the house by another 2-3' (the old farmer who built this place clearly valued his livestock and equipment; probably figuring he could build another house off the income).

So I make the rounds; all of the animals are bedded for the cold that's expected on monday, all of the equipment is parked in safe places, everyone has food and water; and I go back to the house and my bed and really like hearing the rain on the window.

1 comment:

Bruce King said...

As a followup, we got more than 2 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, the river rose to 7 feet, about 3 feet less than the predicted high.