I'm in Arkansas for a week and ALOT has been going on. My brother, John Isaac, graduated from high school on Friday night and my mom and dad's 30th anniversary is today. We partied all weekend, AND we've been dealing with major storms. Friday, John's graduation was at the University of Arkansas at 5PM. I need to write sometime about how it makes me feel to see him graduate, but that's for another post.
This is the story of what happened about 10 minutes after graduation. We left the stadium and quickly found John, snapped a few photos, and worried about the quickly darkening sky. It was angry looking, a storm was imminent. Dad said he was going for the car and just as he left, the clouds BROKE! Rain poured down on the graduates and their families. Everyone (about 1000 people rushed into a 100 square foot area under the awning of the stadium. We couldn't get back into the building because everyone was trying to get out. The other high school in Rogers was graduating an hour after the Mounties and they were also trying to get in. It was a MESS. Rain was gushing down at the edges of the crowd and Rachel, mom, and I were crushed together with two high school's worth of graduates and their families. The poor people at the edge of the crowd were drenched. The heavy rain lasted about 15 minutes and meanwhile dad and Nathan drove the van around to meet us. We managed to stay relatively dry, but other poor people didn't. We had several friends coming for the War Eagle (other high school in Rogers) graduation that had to walk across the stage drenched. It was two graduations to remember.
This flood of excitement reminded me of a time a couple of years ago that Allen and I got completely soaked by heavy rains in Rogers. We were living about a mile from my parents in a duplex. We had moved in at the end of June and as soon as everything was settled, our place flooded. We woke up on the Fourth of July to wet carpet and an inch of water in our linoleum kitchen. Luckily, there was not too much damage to our possessions and our kind landlord, who lived in the next door duplex took care of drying the carpet. We decided the flood had been caused by his landscaping efforts in our backyard and also a lack of guttering. He assured us that the next heavy rain would not enter our place because he got a pump to divert the water from the corner where it had entered. We were confident in his promises and waited for the next rain without worry.
It came about 2 weeks later. Our landlord was home and he set up the pump while I started to make dinner. I was frying eggs and walked out our back door to check the flood level at about seven. A waterfall was coming off the edge of the house where the roof made a V with itself. This worried me slightly, but I knew the pump should keep the water away from the porch. About 10 minutes later I again went to check the water. By this time there was a small lake in our backyard and the deepest part was about an inch away from our foundation.
Allen! I called, I don't think this is working! We knocked on our landlord's door and he too came to check the situation. Meanwhile, the water was creeping higher and higher. When it was 1/2 and inch from the top of the foundation, we decided we better do something. Someone decided to use the 10 gallon trashcans (we had two, one for us and one for the landlord) to catch the waterfall off the roof and dump it into the ditch about 10 feet from the house. We hoped that we could move enough water to divert it from coming over the top of the foundation. Allen and the landlord worked at this for about 5 minutes, but the water kept rising! I got all my towels and put them in the corner where the water would enter...but they started to get wet, so I decided I better help with the trashcan brigade. I ran to the next door neighbors and stole their trashcan.
Actually, I say that I ran, but it was more like swimming/sprinting. The water in the yard between our houses was at least 6 inches deep and the mud was deeper than that. It was also lightening and thundering, but we were much to worried about diverting the flood than getting struck. I drug the trashcan back to our place and our landlord's girlfriend also entered the battle against the flood. Neither she, nor I were strong enough to dump 10 gallons of water, but together we could fill it (it took about 20 seconds if you want to know just how much water we were dealing with) and then we both drug it to the ditch and dumped it.
I really wish that we had a video of that night because we must have looked ridiculous. 4 grown adults with 3 ten gallon trashcans catching a huge waterfall and dumping it into a ditch! We all looked like we had jumped in the lake and we probably should have just given up, but we had already cleaned one flood out of the carpet and nobody wanted to deal with another.
With all of our efforts, we were keeping the water at bay, but it was not receding to a comfortable level, and the rain was certainly not stopping. It kept raining and raining. We were also getting tired. Finally, I decided that a new plan must be thought of and in desperation I called my dad. Mom answered. I NEED DAD OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!! OUR HOUSE IS FLOODING! She probably thought I was crazy, but dad came in about 5 minutes. He also helped with the water brigade for a few minutes, but being an engineer, he quickly thought of the new plan that we needed.
We'll make a new ditch, he said. This ditch will allow the water to flow away from the house and into the other ditch (which was now more of a river with all the rain and also our help from the trashcans). The BAD news was that nobody had a shovel, and it wasn't like we had time to run to Wal-Mart, but the GOOD news was the the ground was basically a swamp. Allen, dad, and our landlord got on the hands and knees (good thing they didn't drowned!) and dug the ditch. It took about 5 minutes, meanwhile the girlfriend and I continued the trashcan brigade, but immediately the water started flowing and a new creek formed. The water was still pouring down the waterfall off the duplex, but now it was being diverted from the foundation and into the ditch. Hurray for ingenuity and engineers!!
Our duplex didn't not get more than a little wet that night. I did have to wash all my towels, but the water did not make it to the carpet. We also returned the neighbor's trashcan. I don't think they ever knew I had it.
I will write about the rest of my stay in Arkansas later. Its been exciting. There has been hallway/bathtub tornado experiences.