by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
We (by we I mean the According To Whim team) all live in north central Texas. During the spring we will get some nasty weather. We are just inside what is called Tornado Alley, so we are used to some unpleasant weather every once in a while. One bit of weather we are hardly ever effected by is hurricanes. They will come and go down along the coast (about 8 hours away) and if it's bad we might get some rain or something as an after effect.
Not this time.
Hurricane Hermine (what a dumb name) came into the Gulf of Mexico this last week, came on shore (after it was no longer a hurricane) and caused a lot of bad weather all over central Texas. I happened to plan my day of filming at Trinity Park on the very day the remnants moved into North Texas. Our day was mostly shot (hurray for NetRunner) but that night is when it got real unpleasant.
It didn't cause hail or tornadoes in Fort Worth that night, just rain. Lots of rain. It had been raining on and off all day (and the previous) but I didn't think much of it. I thought most of the bad weather was over with... WRONG.
Flashback to a week or so after we moved into our new place in here in West Fort Worth. I was outside talking to the neighbor and he made a comment that I REALLY should have listened to. He said "did you know it floods here when it rains alot". I said, "No," and quickly filed that bit of information away. Well, the night of the 'flood' my wife said, "Should you move the car in case it floods?" I said, "Nah." I had this preconception in my mind that 'flooding' here in the city involved not being able to get to your car parked in the street without stepping in water.
Flash forward. It's the day after the Trinity Park shoot, and I am getting ready to go back to work. I just blobbed toothpaste onto my toothbrush, and there was this banging on the front door. I went into the living room. I could kind of see outside through the blinds, and could see some people and a couple of cars in the street. I thought to myself 'maybe there is a gas leak or something'. I quickly threw on some shorts and a shirt, and went to the door. It was a woman, my neighbor.
She said, "We got flooded out last night." That was all. I didn't comprehend exactly what she meant for just a moment, until I looked over her shoulder and into the street. There were several cars at strange angles in the middle of the street. One of them was my wife's. In fact, it was up partly on the sidewalk. I came out and saw a nice little friendly gathering of neighbors chatting here and there. I walked down to the car and noticed the water line along the side of the car. I moved over to the driver's side door and opened the door. There was standing water in the floor, and the cup holders were full of water. Everything had a film of filth on it, and everything was soaking wet.
The rain came down so fast and hard that our street became a river... literally. The water got up as high as the windshield on her car, and as high as right under the dashboard inside. To my guess that was about three and a half feet deep. The water actually picked up about five cars in the area and moved them.
I got the keys, and got the car into neutral to see if I could get it off the sidewalk and back into the street. I didn't want to try to turn the car over in case the electrics would fry out. We couldn't shift the car, so I left it. After I got out and was talking to my neighbors, the car actually tried to start itself (without the key or anyone inside it)! I guess the electrics were shot. I went inside to get a wrench and undo the battery cable, and while I was inside it tried to start up on its own again. I got out there and undid it. Once you opened the hood, you could see massive amounts of debris on the motor. The neighbor looked at the oil dipstick and said that water got in the engine, and that was bad news.
The car is (was) only two years old. It is (was) a Kia Spectra5 and was bought to get the wife back and forth from college. It appears that was it's destiny and once it had accomplished that (she graduated in June) it was done and went off to that big car lot in the sky.
For an hour or so, I was in some distress about the car. I wasn't sure that the insurance would cover it since it was not parked at the home address. I was assured by my father in law that insurance was insurance, and it would be covered. It was, and by the end of the day, a wrecker came and hauled it away.
I am cheap ass. When I get cars, I don't bother with GAP insurance. I don't see it as a good use of money. Well the value of the car was about ten thousand, and we owed nearly fifteen thousand. For some unknown reason, I purchased GAP insurance on this car. What a relief! That three hundred dollars saved me nearly five thousand! Sheesh!
For those of you who want to know how my house wasn't flooded out, the answer is simple. All the houses on the street are up higher than the street itself. Also a couple of the cars that were in the water didn't make it either and found the same fate as mine.
A few hours later someone from the city of Fort Worth came by, interviewed me about the damage ,and took some pictures. He told me that the issue wouldn't be fixed until the city had money to do so. He was from the 'flood water' department. I couldn't believe there was actual department for that.
So I have gotten all my claims started and approved for a new loan to get a new car for her so things are moving along nicely. Who would have thought that deep in the heart of the city this sort of thing could happen?