So I wake up about 7:30 yesterday to the sound of helicopters flying low over the river, think not too much about it since it’s not that unusual occurrence, and go about the usual business of getting through an early morning with a five and a seven year-old (read: chaos.) It’s a beautiful day. Sun is shining. Birds chirping. All is well. Pull out of my driveway at about 10 o’clock and notice two port-o-potties sitting in the entrance to the boat launch about 100 yards down the street from my house. Strange. Take a cursory glance down toward the launch and, without thinking, say “Holy #$*@!” My kids start giving me that “Daddy said a bad word” stuff but before they can get more than two syllables into it they lapse into an eerie silence. (Believe me, any silence with these kids is eerie.) I roll the car to a quick stop and we sit, me, my wife and my two quiet kids, mouths agape, watching this brown, wavy water lapping up against the potties, water that’s supposed to be running about 75 yards to the west in the main channel of the Delaware. The whole roadway is gone, trees up to their first branches in this whirling mass of water. Way in the distance, blue garbage cans, tree stumps, a white propane gas can and a orange and yellow kids plastic playhouse go flying down the center of the river, 20-25 mph at least. Amazing. It hardly rained on here on Saturday.
We drive about another 1/2 mile. A small village of houses right on the banks is under 15 feet of water. An elderly couple smoking cigarettes sit on the pack of their pickup truck staring glumly at what turns out to be their house. A crowd of people has converged to watch in awe, shake their heads, and feel helpless. We stop further up the road, at this point still open, and listen as a group shares the latest on when the river will crest and how high. The great flood of ’55 is mentioned in soft tones…32 feet…14 feet above the flood line. This one won’t be as bad…probably 26-27 feet. Only 10-11 feet over. Oy.
By the time try to get home at 4, the roads are closed. The only way home is a gravel road that snakes down from the big hill behind my house. A quarter mile on each side of my driveway, the road is flooded and impassable. Houses are under. Funny, I never really noticed the gentle incline in front of my own property.
The power goes out at 6 p.m. Still not back on as I write this about 24 hours later. Looks like another night with candles and pizza. But considering the alternative…