Friday, March 19, 2010
After the Flood
Our epic rainfall ended with a final day of drenching on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I snapped photos from the car as Chris and I drove to work.
Barrels mark where the water had been crossing the road. . .
. . .and where it continues to cross the road. Or in this case, loiter.
That's a hayfield, not a pond.
That backyard is knee-deep in water.
Almost everyone with a basement had flooding. In many cases, the depth could be measured in feet.
We, however, were lucky. Our grading and down spouts kept up with the water, and our basement stayed dry.
Our house sits only a few feet above water-level, but it is the water-level not of a river, but a wetland. Wetlands, by their nature, are wide. A rainfall that turns a steep-sided stream into a torrent will barely raise the level of a wetland.
This whitewater pours through the foundation of an old mill. What the photo doesn't show is the enormous overflow cascading through the woods off to the left.
We had some puddles along our paths and under the shed, and the vernal pools filled, but beyond that, in skunk-cabbage land, nothing appeared to change.
Our piece of wetland is a finger of this: the Charles river floodplain. What you are seeing is not the river itself, but the wide, wet area around it that usually looks like a field full of bushes.
It is unusual to see any rise in this water level. I have watched the water in local ponds go up and down by ten feet as the rainfalls and droughts come and go, but it takes a massive amount of water to put the trees under water here.
Back at the ponds, mature trees are toppling into the water now.
It is significant to note that the day after the rain stopped, the road that crosses the wetland was still high and dry. But the second day after, the road had flooded and had to be closed. Wetland water moves slowly.
We would need a kayak to get to the kayak-launch area right now.
With the warm, sunny days that have followed the rain, my winter-sown seeds are starting to germinate, and the peepers are serenading us at night. Spring has come!