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My Flood Experience... hoping you don't need to use it.

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Several years ago, the area I lived in received 17 inches of rain in 24 hours and the knee deep trout stream near my house turned into a monster. We were woken by my golden retriever in the middle of the night as trees crashed down around us. We had made no preparations. I heard the roar of a waterfall as it cascaded into my basement. First I hurriedly ran all our camping gear upstairs (cook stove, lantern, etc.), then valuables were cleared from the first floor. After just 20 minutes it became eerily quiet... the basement was full... no more roar of water. I was about out of time. Anything remaining on the first floor was stacked on countertops and tables. Next, I ran outside and tied up the boat, it was already floating away, and we might need it to escape later. I wore a rock climbing harness to do this safely in the waist deep moving water. After the flood there was mud everywhere. The remnants of an old deck was left in my yard by the flood. I salvaged the old decking and used it to make a temporary side walk to keep us out of the mud as we cleaned up. I got old fire hose the fire department had culled out for free and screwed it to the boards... so in my case we really could roll up the sidewalk at night. I later made several more of these walkways, using pallet grade white oak. This was published as a tip for staying clean at muddy construction sites, but it was inspired by disaster: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/tips/roll-up-boardwalk.aspx?nterms=62092
  • Miriam I
    Miriam I Bay Shore, NY
    on Oct 29, 2012

    That's an amazing story, Brian, hope everyone stays safe.

  • Monica Koerperich
    Monica Koerperich Ocean Springs, MS
    on Oct 29, 2012

    Mr Campbell, you are very, very clever. Love this walkway. At first I thought you were from N.O. untill you mentioned basement. I am glad you ,and your family are ok. In the future, please try not to get into water like this. You don't know what hazards may be in the water. Men, and their toys. Goodness me. Here we have snakes, gators, electric wires. That harness was a great idea. I just love this story, you have a talent for writing.

  • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
    Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry Saint Paul, MN
    on Oct 29, 2012

    Thanks @Miriam I and @Monica Koerperich It was quite the ordeal. Another idea I came up with was using an old bathtub set on blocks out in front yard at the curb as a super-sized clean up sink. I set the drain so it would use the street gutter as the drain... to avoid making mud in the yard. Filled the tub with soapy water and washed our muddy possessions, then drained and filled the tub with clean water for a rinse cycle.

  • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
    Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry Saint Paul, MN
    on Oct 29, 2012

    I added 2 flood photos. One of the water receeding from the house, when it was safer to go out, and one of the raging water tearing out a train bridge by our house. You can see the railing just before the span dropped into the channel.

  • Monica Koerperich
    Monica Koerperich Ocean Springs, MS
    on Oct 29, 2012

    I knew you were smart, and clever. Yes this is great idea, tracking in and out feels self defeating. Making more of a mess while trying to clean another mess.

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