June 28, 2011 — Stormy weather

We had major storms over the weekend.  The fire department had 14 calls in 48 hours.  It’s all kind of a blur to me now, in part because of sleep deprivation.  We went out for rescue calls, burning trees, downed power lines and structure fires.  What we spent most of our time doing however, was pumping water.  We got so much rainfall in so short a time on saturated ground that parts of town became flooded.  Fire trucks are great water pumps.  We pumped out the street in front of senior housing twice.  After the last downpour we had to pump water from the catchment basins over the levy and into the  Mississippi River.  The big city pump that lives in a pump house down there was out. 

From Spring 2011

This is where we were pumping.  You can see the water in the foreground on the left and the 5-inch diameter hose going over the levy to the right in the background.  The fire truck (Pumper #111) is partially hidden behind the pump house.

From Spring 2011

This is the flooded area we were pumping out.  Normally, it’s a small, quiet pond, known locally as “The Slough”.  The ominous roll cloud  that can be seen approaching did not drop any rain, thankfully.

From Spring 2011

This is how much water we had in front of the fire house.  Stacey’s car is for scale.

From Spring 2011

Did I mention we had wind?  And at 1 a.m.  We didn’t get much sleep.  It wasn’t a tornado, but very near 80 mph straight line winds.  Glad this is not my house.  The whole area for several surrounding counties was affected.  It’s not nearly as bad as the tornado was, but still there was lots of destruction, flooded basements, downed trees, etc.  Some places are still without power.

From Spring 2011

A parent robin died with its nestlings.  In ecology we call this disturbance, an abiotic factor,  causing density-independent limits on a population.

From Spring 2011

Out of all the fallen trees, this is my favorite one.  It’s in Martin Park in Canton.  The root ball lifted the sidewalk 10 feet, but didn’t break it.  It just separated at the joints.

At home, our power was out about half the day.  Everything on our back porch was blown from north to south.  Our garden tool shed was knocked over, breaking the eggs of the wren whose nest was inside.  Savannah cleaned this up with great sadness.  Today we went to Quincy and rescued all the fish and invertebrates in my marine aquarium there.  Though the power went on while we were in the act, I wasn’t confident it would stay on.  We brought them home in pitchers, with a power inverter and air pumps to keep their water oxygenated.   Everything is still alive. 

We spent the afternoon clearing the yard of debris.  We had no trees down, but lots of medium and small branches.  I did all the chainsawing, while Savannah helped pull the branches to the roadside, where city crews will later pick it up.  We got a little firewood out of the deal. 

OK, now for some happy pictures!

From Spring 2011

We spotted these cattle egrets on the way to Bob and Jaime’s little get together.  The egrets are perched on a cattle feeder in a pasture with a bunch of cows.   How cliche’.

From Spring 2011

This bullfrog was living in Bob and Jaime’s little fish pond.  At least it was, until Taylor chased it around so much that it left.

I tease.  It is my solemn duty to harass teenage girls.  Mission accomplished.

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