Some of you will smile at this: Bullwinkle, dressed like a magician, stands on stage, top hat in hand. He says "Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" And Rocky always replied with a semi-whiny "Again?!"
Back in September 2008, My house flooded and I lost practically everything I owned. The culprit: contractor garbage and a large tree felled by nearby Municipal construction blocked the large drainage canal that runs behind My house. The damming forced the water into the town's streets and down into My lower cul-de-sac. In less than 2 hours, the water rose to 4 feet above street level, some 28 inches inside My house.
That happened after several days of heavy rain and a storm that had gone on for almost 6 hours. But what happened this past Friday--the 13th for those keeping count--happened in about 10 minutes with barely one hour of heavy rainfall.
Here are the pictures:
These are the street views from the balcony of My house. The cul-de sac has an empty house, partially destroyed by the September 2008 flood, seen fully in the second picture.
Was the canal blocked? No, I checked, and the water raged through it like it was supposed to. So what was the problem?
The drainage system for this street--a street that sits at the bottom of a shallow bowl that drains almost 2 square miles--was blocked. Not blocked by debris, or at least, not visible debris. No, it was blocked because the drains and manhole covers were paved over.
Paved. Over. The Municipal employees in the picture above were searching for the drains and/or manhole covers, to no avail. But I'll point out that the man holding the large staff and actually appearing to do work was not a Municipal employee: he's one of My neighbors.
When was the paving done? October 2010, as part of a "prep" for destroying the house to make way for the new floodgate system. Did the neighbors complain? From the day the paving was completed, ostensibly by a company that the Mountainous Mayoress favors with alarming frequency. So what about that abandoned house, trumpeted last fall by the Largely-Immobile Mayoress, one Perza Rodríguez? Well, you can see it was still there, still abandoned.
Until Monday, the 16th:
Around 10:40 AM, those two vehicles in the picture rumbled down My street and proceeded to demolish the hell out of the house. See the roundish different-colored patch on the street "beneath" the digger? That's where the manhole cover is, under some 9 inches of tar. And to the left of the rubble is where the drainage duct is supposed to be, also under several inches of tar. The water pump is to the right of the blue truck, but it pumps when water comes into it: with the drains to it blocked, the pump is a paperweight. With barely 2 weeks to go before the official start of the hurricane season and some 7 months after the "start" of the Mayoress' water gate, only now is the project on the front burner.
Now I know Her Mayoral Mountainous has a lot on her plate. A lot. Often 4-5 times a day. But even with a lot on her plate, a project like this, less than a mile from City Hall and one that threatens some 20-25% of the businesses in town, is not chopped liver. What you see above is the result of a one-hour thunder storm with the canal running free and clean. Imagine what will happen if We get another sequence with 5-6 days of near non-stop rain.
You don't have to imagine. Look at the 4th picture. Note the light pole on the right. Beneath the Calle Elena sign is a painted line. That's how high the water rose when Hurricane George hit My Island in 1998. That line is 6 feet 2 inches above street level. Back in 1998, it took almost 30 hours of rainfall to reach that level, on saturated ground, with a semi-blocked canal.
Based on this last rainfall, even with a canal running clear and dry ground, My street could have seen a similar flooding in less than 6 hours.
Do you think I'm sticking around to see how much I lose this time? I don't care if Her Mayoral Gargantuaness eats her way through the summer, but I'm not slogging through My street in thigh-high water to retrieve My last intact possessions again.
The Jenius Has Spoken.