So this morning around 3am we awoke to the sounds of a massive thunderstorm in our area. We live on the third floor of our apartment building with vaulted ceilings so thunder always sounds a little amplified and this was BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN energy outside.
Shortly after falling back asleep we had the EMERGENCY ALERT go off on our phone which woke us up again. They said that we had a flood watch until 9am.
We didn’t think much of it do to the fact that it rains heavily in our part of St. Louis pretty often. Usually unless you are living near a river you don’t really have to deal with it much.
We woke up and he had received a text from work stating that his job was closed, but then within about 15 minutes they stated they would be open but simply opening campus a little later than usual. My job never closes because as a nursing home we are expected to work 365 days a year regardless of holidays or inclement weather.
We got in the car and it started raining a little harder. Which was what we expected, heavy rain today. I figured we’d be a little later than usual so I texted my boss that I would be late to work.
We headed down the small side streets near us to get to Lindbergh (which if you live in St. Louis you already know what that is. It is an old highway that has really become a major artery for the city and connects a majority of the city.) We were shocked at how congested it was because it’s not that many cars on this street so early in the morning.
When we got to the end of the street we noticed the street lights were not working, there was no traffic lights either. We assumed that it was due to the weather, someone might have hit a light pole or something and caused a shortage. When we got the head of the street we could not make our usual right turn. There were barricades up and the street was mostly underwater.
We tried to go straight and that too was closed. In the distance we could see cars bobbing in the water. Some of them with headlights on which meant that people had to abandon their vehicles while driving in them.
We continued on some side streets to try and navigate a path to work. We ended up on some side streets that were near the old highway. A lot of those too had barricades closing off streets. Entire homes looked to be submerged!
We had never seen this kind of flooding near us before. Usually the biggest amount of flooding we ever had to deal with was when the the gutter wasn’t draining properly and pooled near the house. .This….this was terrifying!
We ended up on some more side streets and had to use GPS to try and naviagate where we were. We didn’t know how to get back home, or much less if we would be able to. We couldn’t turn around on the road we were on because it was a one way. The road in the opposite direction looked packed with cars simply not moving trying to figure out how they were going to get anywhere.
We were able to find a path that was hopefully clear enough for us to be able to get back to the house. It was jam packed with slow moving vehicles and some vehicles on smaller side streets were just completely submerged.
I can’t imagine how places deal with flooding so frequently. We were mildly lost and a little anxious but I can’t imagine my entire home being underwater or a car that you’re still making payments on completely submerged, and for some folks, on and running!
As we made it closer to our neck of the woods we say a creek (which is filled with radioactivity, but that’s a story for another post) actively overflowing into peoples yards and into local businesses.
This was a hefty dose of reality that the world is not ok. Massive heat waves and now unseasonal flooding. To see people walking in the streets completely drenched trying to find a way back home because their car was now bobbing along a newly placed river that been in a drought not 24 hours earlier.
Lakes and ponds which were half empty yesterday were now spilling into their surrounding areas.
My heart goes out to all those effected by this storm in Missouri and surrounding areas as well as those in other states who are being struck by other storms. It is never a fun time to lose your house or you’re belongings to nature. Especially when you’re income doesn’t facilitate the things you need to just buy a new car or move to a new house.
On the ride home I hopped on social media and saw friends going through similar experiences. Half of our little town is under water, living in the Valley of Flowers is not a fun time.
I will never forget this experience. It was anxiety inducing and we made it out unscathed and just mildly inconvenienced. I feel bad for the homes, buisnesses, and animal shelters that are lost or losing so much. To the photographs that will be water damaged and never seen again. To the priceless air looms that are floating away. To the electronics people worked hours to buy that will never work again.
I just pray that it’s business as usual for most.
May everyone make it through this safe and sound. And may the next two days of rain be significantly calmer.