Once in a while, it is good to be reminded of the power of Mother Nature. Our daughter and friends were here one evening recently, enjoying a late-day swim and a summertime supper.
A breeze began to kick up. The skies began to fill with clouds and we heard a rumble so faint that Caroline tipped her head and asked, “Was that thunder?”
Everyone decided to call it a day. We said our good byes, and shortly after they all drove off, the rumbling intensified in to distinct thunder.
We heard the crackle of lightning and the rain started to fall. And then it began to come down in buckets.
Doug and I watched out the back windows, facing west.
I gasped in disbelief as we both saw what looked like the mouth of a river form before our eyes, coming across the back soybean field.
The water began rushing so hard and so fast it seemingly instantly turned our lawn in to a moving body of brown water at least 4 feet deep.
Just the night before, we had a heavy downpour as we were finishing our chores for the evening. By the time we got to the house, we looked as though we had just taken a swim.
It continued to rain for about an hour, coming heavy at times. So, on this night, the pounding rain had no place to go.
All of the farm fields and pastures and lawns were already saturated. We watched the river run, and the force of it washed much of our driveway away.
Our neighbors downstream from us found themselves stranded when their drive washed out completely, and the roads turned in to rivers.
My nephew Todd went out to check his farm fields and discovered an accident waiting to happen when he came upon a stretch of U.S. 250 that looked fine from the surface of the road, but the embankment supporting it had been completely washed away.
It was a stretch of perfect-looking asphalt with nothing holding it up, essentially a potato chip about to break if any weight were to be applied.
Todd reported it right away, diverting disaster, and it remains closed. Another heavy rain last night brought that rushing river across our farm once again, with more topsoil and limestone being washed away.
All of this prompted memories of the July 4 flood of ’69, when the rains came and didn’t want to stop.
As I began sharing stories of that summer — being forced to dump milk from the tank because the milk hauler couldn’t get to our suddenly stranded island; searching for livestock that had been washed away; worrying over a dear sister who was away at a rustic church camp — I realized I am now the Old Timer telling stories from my youth.
I was 10 years old and remember it vividly. So these rains that came over three separate days within one week remain mild in comparison to the flood that brought 9 inches in about 12 hours and took several lives.
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