Monday, September 15, 2008

All the Boards Did Shrink

As the rain slacked off on Saturday afternoon, I took a closer look at my back yard. As usual after a heavy rain, the low part of the yard near the wooden back fence was under water. The puddle was larger than usual, but nothing too unusual:

We've even gotten puddles there in winter, formed by snowmelt that later refreezes to form miniature ice rinks. But behind the fence, a little hard to see in detail, was a much larger collection of rainwater, beyond the playground next to my daughters' school and across the street, a five-lane arterial known as Wise Road. I couldn't tell exactly where the water began and ended, so I walked around the block to see.

Across Wise Road from the school is an undeveloped parcel of land measuring 5.7 acres. I don't know if any building has ever occupied the site, but for now it sports grass and weeds, and a For Sale sign. As I turned the corner onto Wise Road -- which had been closed to car traffic by the village at that point -- I could see that almost the entire five-plus acres was submerged, with the water nearly reaching the houses next to the parcel. A section of Wise Road was likewise completely underwater, and so was a part of the school's parking lot, which connects to Wise.

This is the view of Wise Road. The vacant parcel is to the left.

This is the parcel itself.

The water was deep enough -- a foot or two, I figure -- to support a rowboat. One person was in the boat when I took this pic, but later I saw four high school or college girls in it, and they not only rowed around the submerged land, but onto the submerged Wise Road. They waved and yelled, "We're boating on Wise Road!" One of the girls had to get out at one point on the road to move the boat along, and I could see that the water was no deeper than about a foot.

This is the view from the school parking lot (note the painted stripes). The aluminum light pole marks the side of Wise Road closest to me, the telephone pole the other side.

After taking in the view, I went home and rousted my family out for a look at the water. "Come on, I'll show you something you won't forget," I promised.

Ann's comment, when she saw the water: "I don't like this. Who's going to move it?" Drainage, child. By Sunday afternoon, the road was open and the water confined to the vacant land. Today, the land wasn't submerged anymore, though I suspect it's still pretty soggy.

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