Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Great Pennsylvania Flood of 2011

The weather this summer in Pennsylvania has been unpredictable and unprecidented in many ways. Since the beginning of the summer, we've experienced 3 major storms which have left as many as one-hundred thousand people without power for up to a week. We also experienced an earthquake which was centered in Virginia and now we're drowing in flood waters as the result of several days of heavy precipitation, beginning with Hurricane Irene and topped off by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

To date, 8 people and 2 bison (yes, from a local zoo) have lost their lives as a result of this most recent deluge. Water levels are expected to crest on Saturday morning at the highest level in 40 years and the second highest in recorded history!

Evacuations are taking place in the lower-elevation towns/cities and emergency personnel are risking their safety to rescue those who don't get out soon enough.

Personally, my family has had to endure over a week of days without electricity through all this activity. Earlier this summer, I was heavily pregnant and it was VERY hot and not fun at all. This last time, it was a little easier since Levi was no longer heating things up inside my body... but now we have to worry about keeping 2 school-aged children, a toddler and an infant comfortable, safe and happy. That's definitely easier said than done.

To prepare for whatever inconveniences lie ahead for us this weekend, I've scrubbed the bathtub and filled it with water. Unfortunately, this is our only bathtub in our only bathroom and so no one will be showering unless we have an opportunity to refill the tub immediately thereafter! I've also got several jugs of water and pots filled in the kitchen in case we end up needing drinking water. The supply of bottled water was rather depleted from earlier in the week and so it wasn't worth making a trip to the grocery store filled with desperate, supply-grabbing people. Hopefully I won't regret only making these minimal preparations if indeed we do lose power or water over the weekend.

The other issue is that Trevor's birthday party is scheduled for Sunday and I have no idea if anyone is even going to be able to make it, considering that half the roads in the general surrounding area are closed due to flooding. The poor kid has already waited almost 3 weeks past his birthday to have this party (end of summer birthdays are never easy); I can't imagine telling him it has to be rescheduled.

At this point, we'll have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Occasionally, I'm checking facebook to be stunned by the video footage captured by people witnessing some crazy stuff first-hand. Mostly, I'm just hoping that my friends, family and neighbors stay dry and out of harm's way until all this craptastic weather is outta here!! Good luck to all!!

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