Week 36: The Flood, 9/8/11

Tuesday: rain. all day and all night.

Wednesday: rain. all day and all night.

Thursday Morning 6AM: My mom calls and asks me to get down to the garage to help move cars. For a while it seemed fun, very “Gone in 60 Seconds” with all the cars running and people hopping in lines of cars then pulling out one right after another. that lasted till about 8AM when the water started to hit Tioga street. Then it got scary and frantic. Each time we came back to get more cars the water was further across Tioga and by 9AM we couldn’t go through it and had to go side streets.  VanDuzers were throwing sandbags while still pumping gas.  We have one determined town.   Never in my life have i driven so many trucks, especially diesel trucks.  Although the situation was pretty dire and scary i still felt like a badass plowing through water in a giant diesel truck.

Thursday afternoon: the river keeps rising. businesses on both sides of the river are taking on water, the streets are closing, and Gays has water all the way up the front doors. My dad and others begin using canoes and kayaks to check on their businesses. Water is hitting many business and houses from more than one side as the creeks and streams flood.  The pic above is the creek behind the garage.   More than one house floats down the river and explodes against the main bridge in town.  They just hit the pillars and the rivers currents are so strong they just crush the houses and pieces come appear on the other side.  Most of the roads in town are now closed.  My power goes out for four hours, then miraculously comes back on!

when i got home around 11, my dock was under water as well

Thursday night: we wait. we wait for the river to crest so the water will begin to recede and clean up work can begin.  We drove downtown and stood under the red light with about 40 other people and just looked at the town.  Water covered the roads looking East and South.  It was an eerie sight.

Under the red light looking south

under the red light looking east

Friday morning: 8AM, clean up begins.  Luckily the garage only had a few inches, so we concentrated on the Skidder shop which had 30 inches.   I am officially now the shop vac queen.  my shop vac muscles will be VERY sore saturday.  Bartons had 37 inches which also seems minimal compared to Gays which had at least 7 feet i think.

See the water line in the Skidder shop, about 30 inches.


What happens when the water goes down: my dad's office

Saturday: 8AM: Move all the cars back to the chevy lot.  This was more fun that moving them out during the flood. AND i got to drive the enormous silver truck (drive by the dealership it’s in the front line on the used car lot, was on the corner of the front display).  i felt like a could drive over a car. it was awesome.  my sister and cousin came up from DC to help, so we moved from the skidder shop (they had things under control) to Dana’s Hardware to help them sort out. 

Friday morning, the water was still receeding, thursday it was over the metal roof.

Sunday: My sister, mom and I went to Gays to help clean.  It was overwhelming.  and this is after they had been at it for a day. they did so much in one day, but there is still a lot to do.  the water line was way higher than i could reach, i’m guessing 8 or 9 feet?  Also, I was so caught up in our small town disaster i forgot for a while it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  I’m kind of glad i spent the day cleaning instead of watching the coverage.  I know it’s monumental and deserves recognition, but it just makes me so sad.  and cleaning made me feel useful and like i could actually do something to help, whereas with 9/11 we are all so helpless.  that said, the coverage i did see and the new monument are very moving and impressive.

Major props to: (1) WNEP who had a live newscast all day thursday and did a fantastic job keeping people informed. (2) Everyone who helped feed people cleaning.  There were grills set up all over town during the weekend with people buying food themselves, grilling, and giving it away to any volunteer in town.  They did such a great job keeping everyone fed.  (3) Facebook- the greatest way to share pictures and stories in real time. (4) All the friends and employees who worked so hard to help everyone in town. This is really the advantage of a small town.

A couple ways to help:

1. The Red Cross is collecting cleaning supplies and pet food at the 911 call center in Tunkhannock, at the top of the hill past Shadowbrook.

2. Donate to the United Way: https://secure.donationreport.com/donate.html?key=GHIHJHIA0333

i know both of these methods will get all donations/help directly to the Tunkhannock area.


One thought on “Week 36: The Flood, 9/8/11

  1. great recap, Maria. Interesting to see your perspective. I competely agree with your props and it did feel good to see how everyone was pitching in with their own ways of contributing.

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