Monday, May 27, 2013

June 2012 Duluth Flood

For those of you who missed the fun of the June 2012 flood we had in Duluth I will fill you in on a few details.  We got a warning that we were going to have some very strong thunderstorms which could drop several inches of rain in the Duluth area from the weather service ahead of time so we were luckily able to do some preparation, I was smart enough to move all of my computer stuff out of its normal home in the basement and a few other things, but the amazing part of this event was how long it lasted.  We didn't get a huge storm that flooded the basement and then moved one, we got separate bands of storms that flooded the basement 5 times in one night!   That and the amazing levels that the water got to, far higher than we had ever seen it before, considering that the limiting factor for our water levels is the height of Superior Street, there is little higher that the water could get, under any circumstances.  We ended up getting 10 inches of rain in one night, and there was ~100 million dollars of flood damage in the Duluth area as a result.  It was amazing, to give you an idea of the extent of this storm, I drove to the gas station during one of the early bands before the flooding really kicked in, to get some last minute supplies, I had to dodge a deck floating across the street.

This first picture (and I apologize for the blur, it is very hard to focus when it is raining in absolute sheets) is the driveway, with about 8 inches of water going over the top of it.
This is the basement, you can see my bed to the right, the water is starting to coming in under the sliding glass door, if you look you can see about a foot of water pressed up against the door itself!  We ended up with about an inch and a half of water through this part of the basement, but this is not the lower part of the basement.
The brand new parking lot at Whole Foods Coop the next day, there is not actually a creek here, Brewers creek runs through a culvert through Duluth, or at least it did before this storm hit.  Parts of the retaining wall for the parking lot, along with much of the fill, made it up to four blocks down the hill from the rushing waters.
Another view of the parking lot, wowsers!
Lester River Bridge, I should mention that under normal circumstances you can jump across Lester River at the mouth, and the rocks just to my right are about 8 feet above the water level.
Knife River bridge, with trees jammed into the guard rails.
The debris stuck in the railing of Knife River bridge the next day.
A view of the water rushing under the bridge, it should be mentioned that this was about 8 hours after it had stopped raining so the water had gone down quite a bit.
This is the remnants of the bridge over dribble creek the next day.  Dribble creek is under normal circumstances a dribble, often not even enough to rise above the gravel in its bed.  During the storm it was about 8 feet deep.
The outside of the sliding glass doors shown above the next day, you can see the water marks on the doors showing how high the water actually got against the glass.
Our poor five inch rain gauge, with water all the way to the top.
The mess in the basement, this was the last hurrah of the hot tub, we ended up cutting it out and getting rid of it after the storm.
The water marks on the furnace and water heater.  The furnace survived, with a lot of work.  The water heater did not.

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