ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Watching, waiting & praying

I’m sitting here in the Nord End listening to what is sure to be an award-winning emergency programming performance coming from the staff and management of WILK. I’m also sampling the wall-to-wall flood coverage from our local television stations. And I’ve never before heard so much constant bantering coming from the police scanner as the WBPD, the WBFD, the National Guard and various other volunteers evacuate the lower-lying areas of Wilkes-Barre. In a word, this is nuts.

The evacuation order says those affected by the Agnes flood of ‘72 must pack up and get out of town by 4 o’clock today. While we watched the waters back in 1972 stop advancing just two hundred yards from here, I remember some of the sewers, the manholes, the sinks and the toilets backing up. So, while we were affected at this general location, we were not flooded per se.

Here at the modest adobe, we’ve taken a ton of water in the basement, in the front bedroom and the posts that support our pool have sunken into the deluged soil to the point that the pool appears as if it might collapse with just a bit more prodding.

In 1972, I was 13-years-old and had no idea anything of note was up until I climbed out of bed to find WBRE off the air. And when I told my mom about the snow in lieu of programming, she explained that the entire valley was flooding. So when I headed over to first Tank Hill and then North Street to have a look, I was absolutely beyond amazed to see the utter devastation displayed there before me.

We’ve had a few close calls since 1972, but after the levee system was reconfigured the way it was--raised to 41 feet--I figured that Wilkes-Barre would never again face what it faced back when I was but a struggling young sprat. Never.

But as far back as 2001, I met this guy prone to sudden outbursts of kayaking. And because of the friendship we formed, I started learning all sorts of things concerning hydrology, acid-mine drainage, storm water run-off and how replacing the forests in the higher elevations with fields of asphalt would eventually make storm water run-off an issue we’d all have to learn about at some later date. Sadly, from what I’m hearing and seeing today, that date may have arrived.

In my opinion, Wilkes-Barre has made a ton of progress since the nadir of it’s existence some eight years ago. And I do not want to see it laid waste all over again. So with that, I’m prepared for the worst, but praying on bent knee for the best.

And if you know me at all, you already know I've never been accused of being even remotely spiritual.

Later

4 comments:

Gort said...

Maybe you should Kanjo some credit for getting the dikes raised to 41 feet. But I ask to much.

Mark said...

Go easy, man.

That's Kanjo's legacy...protecting the Wyoming Valley from the oft-menacing Susquehanna.

I'm not stupid, I'm just not in favor of putting a rubber dam in front of free-flowing raw sewage.

And, truthfully, you were very ill-advised to suggest that I am some sort of partisan warrior.

But nice try.

Gort said...

I also opposed that pipe dream. Glad to see you give credit where it is do.

Mark said...

Yeah, you and yours opposed it.

But that was long after KD and I brought it to the forefront as a locally pressing issue.

Whatever