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07 January 2009

And now for something completely different...

I was snowed in for two weeks or so, and yesterday the wind knocked my power out for a few hours, but today there's a different hazard: flooding. I had a haircut appointment at 1, but after driving from here to Route 8 in a hard rain, crossing a lot of impromptu streams in the road along the way (and seeing Kennedy Creek, a salmon stream, turned into a raging torrent), I was surprised to see that the divided highway was closed. I considered going home, but instead decided to try the back way, which joins Route 8 further east and which just might be open. There was a lot of water in some parts of that winding back road, but eventually it spat me onto an open section of Route 8.

I drove to Olympia, and it was close to 4 when I was able to turn towards home. As soon as I drove down the ramp onto the 101 I saw a large flashing sign: Rte 8 Closed. There's a bifurcation on the 101 going north, where the righthand side exits and remains 101, but the left turns west and becomes Route 8, and the traffic was being funneled to the off ramp to the rest of Route 101. In this region there aren't multiple roads to places, so it was becoming apparent that if I was to be channeled to the north I mightn't be able to reach my house at all. The line of cars crept along, then in the distance I saw a sign "Except Summit Lake." When I neared the exit I was able to break away from the others and drive to a police cordon. "Where are you headed?" the very wet state trooper asked. "I live at Summit Lake." "Do you have a license or something printed with the address?" /me hands him something, and he waves me through: "Drive safely - watch for water over the road."

There are many rivers (19?) over or near flood level including the Nisqually River, upon whose banks I spent so much time - as Wa He Lut is just east south (ooh sorry - that was a cardinal direction sin ;-) of its delta. In 1996 the Nisqually River, which originates in the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier, flooded due to a combination of snowmelt, rain, and the release of water from Alder Dam. The dam was going to break if they didn't release water, it was said, but the resulting flood was jumborrific and washed out a huge area. Wa He Lut (and a lot more) was destroyed; I drove as near as I could that morning and the entire valley was water for miles and miles, as if Puget Sound had swallowed it. At the time I was painting murals in a doctor's house, so the sudden out-of-workedness didn't cause me any problems; my father had heart surgery at that time, too, and I remember sitting in a waiting room during his surgery, working on a design for the third mural. After a while the waters retreated, but everything it had touched was contaminated. I hope today's combination of factors doesn't mimic those of 1996.


posted by - 4:35 PM

What an adventure! It's a shame you can't just open the Estate Tools for the Puget Sound and drop the water level a bit. I wish you a safe and secure next few days. Stay dry!
I hope you stay dry too. And everyone else near you.
Yikes! good thing your hair is shorter now, as you may be "stranded"!
What we need are the moles to swing by and dig a plug hole in the valley - drain the water off to somewhere that needs and (and build an old temple at the same time!).

p.s. Enajh, I'm calling the FBI about that joke. That's possibly an act of war or something.
yeah, that joke abraided my funny bone.

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