Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I lived in Vegas during the 1999 flood, but I was out of town the day it happened. Yesterday I got to see the action first-hand for the first time. Vegas averages three inches of rain per year. Yesterday, three inches fell in a half hour.

I was driving home from the Apex office when it hit. My windshield wipers are dry rotted from the heat, so they were literally falling into shreds as they worked furiously in the pouring rain. I came to the top of the hill on Craig near the US95 entrance, and ended up behind a cop with his lights on. Unaware of what was going on, I was certain he would cite me for having unfit wipers in the middle of a rain storm. But he just sat there and did nothing. So, I rolled down my window, stuck my head out to see what was up (I really couldn't see much out of my windshield) when I saw something I'll never forget. Everything west of Craig Road literally looked like a lake. There should have been a road, a McDonalds parking lot, and a strip mall parking lot, but all I saw was a lake, a few cars covered in water up to their hoods, and a firemen running to their rescue.

I turned onto 95 South in order to get the heck out of dodge. As I drove south, I saw the water rising to the right of me, as the flood began to engulf the southbound lanes of 95. It was still raining furiously. At this point I began to feel a little uneasy. The water on 95 was not dangerously deep yet, but was getting deeper as I went. I ended up exiting at Lake Mead and joining a host of others at the Wendy's there to wait out the storm.

My experience was intense, but not nearly as intense as it could have been. When I got home I saw TV pictures of people being rescued from the tops of their cars by helicopter. I saw Gowan Road turned into a river. This morning I learned that the Stokes family had inches of water stadning in their home, and that the Carder family had inches flowing through their backyard. All that info makes my story a little less signifanct. In the end, I guess I was pretty lucky.

And, after reflecting on all of this, and being the mechanical genius that I am, I think I'll take a few minutes today and install new wiper blades on my car.


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