Saturday, September 17, 2011

Refugee Camp Weekend

Busy week at work = I haven't had the time or the energy to get a blog post written in quite some time.  Disclaimer to all of you who live in the area:  you're probably way way way beyond sick and tired of hearing about the F-L-O-O-D (or what's now being labeled "The Great Flood of 2011") and don't want to see or hear about anything I'm writing in this post any more than I actually want to search for the photos and actually write it.  Pretty sure that's why it's taken me almost a week to sit down and write about last week's events...and we didn't even get any water.  I don't need to see anymore rain, mud, or nasty brown river water for quite some time.  Feel free to close this window now; I promise I won't be offended :)

For you all that don't live near the Susquehanna Valley, I'll give you an introduction the Susquehanna River--she's back in her banks now, thankfully.  As I write this, I actually just heard the weatherman on TV say that the river is 19 feet lower than it was a week ago, woah! Also trying to search for a few photos to try and give you out-of-towners a feel for just how high (and fast) the river rose.  FYI, I was too annoyed to go out and run around town trying to capture pics of my own; therefore everything you see is courtesy of someone else...mostly from the local news photo galleries and facebook postings.

Keeping an eye on the river levels.  What you can't see from this pic is that the river rose 20 feet between 10 PM Monday and 10 PM Thursday.  I think we had some 11 inches of rain during that time period alone. 
River at "normal" levels, looking South 
River level, looking North.  The Market Street bridge, Walnut Street bridge, and Harvey Taylor bridge are seen.  Our neighborhood is just North of the furthest bridge pictured.
To give you an idea of what the river area looks like typically, see the two photos above.  There are concrete steps leading down to the river (not sure why) and an extra-wide concrete path at the top of the steps.  Next to the path is a hill/embankment and another path known as the Greenbelt that follows along the river at street level (at the level of the bridge-decks in the photos).  The Greenbelt runs parallel to Front Street; our neighborhood sits an additional 2-3 blocks off Front Street.

Intersection of Front Street and Delaware Street, our neighborhood sits 2-3 blocks further back off of the river.  The Greenbelt mentioned previously runs just behind the bench and trash can you see.
Oh there were plenty more where this came from...dumb people wading in the river and playing over the storm drains sucking excess water into the sewers.  Let me think for a minute: letting my child play in a raging, flooded river + sewage and failed wastewater treatment plants upstream, really? SMRT.
Another view near Front Street and Delaware.
These were taken before the extensive flooding and river crest (i.e. we took a quick walk down to the river as we were finishing moving all of our belongings to higher ground and preparing for evacuation).  I really don't have a visual picture in my mind of how much water our neighborhood took on at the peak of the river's crest.  We're lucky enough to have great friends and a great community that Mike and the neighbors were all working together to clear each other's houses simultaneously, conducting a seemingly organized yet obviously chaotic Thursday afternoon house demolition/remodel that cleared the entirety of all of our first floors before personnel came by to shut off our electric and gas lines for the weekend.

We packed up and caravanned East, to Hummelstown.  Carolyn and Dave were amazing and most gracious when they offered us...all of us...a place to crash.  Let's be serious, I'm sure none of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into--it was surely a site to see (and probably quite comedic) to see 7 adults and 4 dogs fit into their 2 bedroom apartment for the weekend!  Someone quickly dubbed it THE REFUGEE CAMP, a name that inevitably stuck. All in all, we spent Thursday and Friday night having cozy, quality time with some great friends (who truly have become our Harrisburg family), drinking beer, laughing, and making memories.  Saturday (while I was at work) they all headed back to survey the damage and re-decorate our living rooms!

An empty Olde Uptown during the evacuation...our street looks so empty!
City Island under water.  No baseball. 
The Harrisburg Senators playoff series was moved to Richmond, VA.  They ended up getting swept in three...some home-field advantage that turned out to be :(
Old Shakey, the pedestrian bridge to City Island.  You almost have to experience this for yourself and see what it's like to walk across with normal water levels to really get a feel for just how high this water level is!
An aerial view of the interchange and entrance/exit ramps I take to work each day.  Shipoke area neighborhood of Harrisburg can be seen in the left portion of the photo. 
Shipoke up-close, just South of downtown Harrisburg.
Long story short...our life is back to normal.  The lives of others are still getting back to normal, and there are many, many people who sustained varying levels of damage to their lives and their homes.  There's plenty of clean-up yet to be done (when the waters receded, everything was caked in a layer of mud...yum).  We were lucky enough to not have any damage, but know friends and co-workers who did.  

At present, Blogger is driving me nuts with all sorts of different technical nuances, so I think I'm done-enough with this post (and I"m sure you've seen enough flooded river photos).  To leave you with a laugh...for those of you who didn't see this posted to Facebook...this was Friday afternoon at the "Refugee Camp".  

Clockwise from top left:  Kaia--chihuahua, 3 lbs.; Tank--chihuahua, 7.5 lbs.;
Arnold--English Bulldog,  60-ish lbs.; Danny--English Bulldog, 70-ish lbs. 
What a combination! They actually get along surprisingly well!  You'll have to excuse my lack of clarity...I need to get the lowdown on my Bulldog breeds and weight statistics :)  Happy Saturday, it feels like fall here! Cool, crisp air.  Sweats on.  Enough said.

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