Monday, December 13, 2010

High and Dry

Here is the flood warning issued by NWS about noon Saturday:


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SEATTLE HAS ISSUED A FLOOD WARNING FOR THE CHEHALIS RIVER AT PORTER FROM SUNDAY EVENING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  AT 10:45 AM SATURDAY THE STAGE WAS 16.6 FEET.  FLOOD STAGE IS 21.0 FEET.  MODERATE FLOODING IS FORECAST.
FORECAST...THE RIVER WILL RISE ABOVE FLOOD STAGE AROUND 9 PM SUNDAY AND CREST NEAR 24.3 FEET AROUND 10 AM TUESDAY.   IMPACT...AT 22.0 FEET...THE CHEHALIS RIVER IN GRAYS HARBOR WILL FLOOD PASTURE LANDS AND MANY ROADS...INCLUDING SR 12 BETWEEN OAKVILLE AND ROCHESTER. HIGH TIDAL LEVELS AT ABERDEEN WILL WORSEN FLOODING ALONG THE LOWER REACHES.

And this was the flood warning issued on Monday morning:

945 AM PST MON DEC 13 2010 THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE CHEHALIS RIVER AT PORTER UNTIL WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. AT 8:45 AM MONDAY THE STAGE WAS 20.4 FEET.   FLOOD STAGE IS 21.0 FEET.  MINOR FLOODING IS POSSIBLE.  THE CHEHALIS RIVER AT PORTER WILL CREST NEAR FLOOD STAGE AROUND 10 AM TUESDAY...THEN FALL.  IMPACT...AT 19.0 FEET...THE CHEHALIS RIVER IN GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY WILL LOCALLY SPILL OVER ITS BANKS WITH SHALLOW WATER ON SEVERAL ROADS.

In between Saturday and Monday we had different predicted crests at different times. You will note that officially the river is predicted to crest tomorrow morning (Tuesday 12/14) about 10:00am so technically we are not all the way out of the woods, but I do believe the worst is behind us. 

That Saturday warning, with the river projected to crest at 24.3 feet had us worried. Here’s why: In 2009 the river crested at Porter at 22.74 feet and this is what it looked like in our front yard.

And this is what it looked like out back:
Chairman Meow, slightly fascinated, slightly frightened.
As you can see 22.74 feet was a problem for the pond. The pond was under construction at the time so we had no fish in it. I can imagine a variety of scenarios if we had fish in the pond at the time, none of them good. I was on the fence: Netting and moving fish stresses them, even if you are good at it, it also represents an opportunity to injure them if the netting does not go smoothly. On the other hand, the water the flood brings is really toxic, and if the pond were to be submerged, the fish could just swim or be swept away. And I just didn’t care for the thought of the fish swimming around in that shitty, smelly flood water.

So late Sunday afternoon I panicked and we did the Koi round up, transferring the fish from the pond to the Quarantine tank. Here's the set up:

Most of the netting went OK and I don’t think we injured fish, no torn fins or any of that, though one of the fish did lose a scale in the blue bowl. They seem pretty content schooling in the Q tank:
We were not able to net them all. There are a few fish that are by nature more skittish than the rest and when the net goes in the pond, they run and hide, and stay hidden. Ah well, we got most of them transferred.

Here is how things looked out on the road at the worst:
and from the woods out back:
Note the blue bowl and nets at the ready:

This pump can suck the pond dry in about an hour:

I kept it set up and ready in case the pond did get flooded. I figured I might be able to remove water faster than it could flow in and that way keep the remaining fish in the pond until the flood waters abated. Fortunately we did not have to test this cockeyed theory.

And just to make it a three dimensional chess game:  Saturday afternoon, in my haste to prepare for the flood I 'tweaked' my back.   Those of you with back issues know this can be pretty painful to unbearably painful.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (that seems to be the new metric in ER circles) I was in the range f 12 to 15 ... on a scale of 1 to 10.  Mrs C nearly had to drag me with the truck from the shop to the house.  Suffice to say she got me there and I was propped and wedged into a 'commanding' position sufficient that I could bark directions as she did all the work of getting the Q tank ready and filled to recieve fish.  Behind every broken down old geezer there is a good woman, doing lots of hard work. Thanks Babe.  Once the pain meds kicked in I was back to hobbling around.  I was convinced to go for a ride up the the clinic for a once over and a new bottle of pain pills. The drugs do help.

Oh by the way, the bread came out pretty good.  Obviously I was not paying enough attention during the second rise, but I had other things on my mind:

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