Actually, it’s pretty much just the flooding that I’m going to talk about. The only way that fire is involved in our lives is the sad lack of a woodstove in our living room, but I’m not sure we can be so dramatic as to call that a plague. And Pavi and Magoo can both be pests, but they are considerably fuzzier than a horde of locusts and therefore a lot more pleasant to cuddle with. Things that are good to cuddle with can’t really be called a plague either. But there has for sure been some flooding around here. Both Preston and I have found our jobs affected by the fact that about 10 miles of I-5 is completely shut down between here and Portland.
In this picture, you can see where the cement barriers are supposed to be as they come in to the picture at the bottom. And then you can see where the flood waters have moved them all helter-skelter across the road. Also, if you click on the image, you can just make out a chunk of the roadway itself sticking out of the water on the left side near the road sign. I don’t know what all is involved in repairing the road to open it up again, but this makes me suspect it’s more than just waiting for the water to drain off.
These pictures were all taken by a co-worker of Preston’s, near the Chehalis/Centralia corridor where the freeway is still closed. Many of the pictures are quite close to places where Preston and I had looked to buy a house. We are thankful in many ways that we chose to buy in Olympia, and this is one of them.
The whole Centralia area is in a big flood plain, and I know there have been debates over time about how much should be built around there. In particular, there was a lot of debate about Walmart and the huge parking lot that covers over a vast amount of the wetlands that used to hold and absorb the extra flow. I believe it was shortly after the Walmart parking lot was built that the big flood of ’96 happened. This year, they’ve added on to the Walmart complex with a huge Home Depot and adjoining parking lot extending further into what used to be the wetlands.
We are fortunate to live in a house on a hill over a fairly deep ravine, so we didn’t have any flooding issues in our house, although we were briefly worried about the fact that our garage is below street level, so we were worried we might get some flow in from the driveway. But we suffered no ill effects. There were parts of Olympia equally underwater, in particular there were cars window deep in parking lots in the mall district. (Hmm, might it have something to do, again, with all the paved parking lots…?) My office wasn’t directly affected, nor was Preston’s, although the Chehalis river, normally about a mile away, came within a quarter mile of his building. Both of us have been dealing with the effects of the main shipping thoroughfare being closed, and I imagine there are businesses much harder hit than ours. For instance, I work at a snowboard shop, and the only two ski hills currently open in the area (Mt. Hood and White Pass, if you’re curious) are south of the I-5 closure. It’s still possible to get there, but it’s a 2+ hour detour each way. Those resorts have to be taking a hit if they are losing out on all their normal Seattle business.