Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Wild Weather

The forecast was for rain this weekend and I was looking forward to working in the greenhouse. I love working in the greenhouse when it rains. I love the warm humidity and growing plants. I love the sound of rain gently drumming on the roof and sides.

While the predictions were for heavy rain and possible flooding, I’m quite certain that there was no mention of gale force winds. Working in the greenhouse yesterday felt like being in a Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. The wind howled. The plastic covering flapped. The supports bent. Water flooded in under the doors. And then the lights went out. Queue the dramatic music.

It was late afternoon and good time to go home. My usual 20 minute ride turned into a 45 minute odyssey as I desperately tried to find a road into Middlesex that wasn’t flooded. I finally ended up driving to Dunellen and then taking Rte 28 west into Middlesex. I live on that side of town and knew that it wouldn’t be flooded.

Then it was a quick dinner and shower and, you guessed it, off to work for my final nightshift. I gave myself an hour to get there knowing that Rte 22 regularly floods in the area of Scotch Plains. I managed to get as far as Watchung before being detoured off of 22. The traffic was heavy so I went the other way up the mountain to Rte 78.

Rte 78 has a posted speed limit of 65 mph. New Jersey drivers consider speed limits as minimum speeds, rather than maximum speeds, so you can imagine my surprise to find the traffic crawling along at 40 mph. The driving rain made visibility almost nil. I exited in Summit and inched my way back down the mountain through gushing streams of water and downed tree branches, arriving at my office in Westfield exactly 59 minutes after leaving my house.

Then it was hours of listening to the building groan in the wind while worrying about my basement. Water had begun to seep in as I was leaving. I have a sump pump, but if the water comes in too fast, it overwhelms the sump pump which then shuts down and I’m forced to bail until I can get ahead of it and get the sump pump working again. My concern was that I wouldn’t be home all night and if the sump pump shut down, my basement would flood. My furnace and hot water heater are elevated a few inches off the floor but much more rain than that was expected. Plus what was coming off the mountain.

For those of you who don’t live in New Jersey, Middlesex is located at the foot of the Watchung Mountains. Rain and melting snow drain straight down the mountain and into my basement. Hence my familiarity with sump pumps and bailing. And, no, I wasn’t told about this when I bought the house. In fact, there were people living in the basement when I bought it so how was I supposed to know that the basement regularly gets water in it?

Thanks to the time change, I left work an hour early. Which was negated by the hour it took me to get home. Rte 22 was still blocked, so it was back up to Rte 78 and then creep down the mountain through gushing streams of water and downed tree branches. I arrived home to the beautiful sound of the sump pump still doggedly working away.

Not much sleep today. I was up every two hours, checking on the basement. So far, so good. But I think it’s time to move. Thanks to global warming, there will be more and more severe storms. I’m tired of losing sleep and bailing out my basement.

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