Friday, May 11, 2007

The River

As all this news circles-about regarding the floodwaters here in central Missouri, I am at something of a disadvantage. Logistically, at least. For I don't have television. I own 3 televisions (one in the living room, one in my bedroom, and one in the kitchen). But due to a fight with the local cable provider several months back, I don't have cable. [I decided I could spend that $50/month in better ways.] And there are no television stations here that are strong enough to receive without cable. So I haven't seen television in several months, and you folks are surely seeing TV images that I have not and will not.

But I did manage to nab a digital camera today, since I promised some photos. So here they are, with my all-too-verbose verbiage.

We consider this the back of my office building, but in fact it faces north – toward the Missouri River. This is the loading dock – where I often saunter out during breaktimes for some fresh air. When I'm standing there, I gaze north toward the Missouri River. Here's how it looked today. But here's what you cannot know. From this vantage point, in normal times, I can barely see the river. The channel is so deep that the river is generally below my line of sight.

Standing at our loading dock, I look a little to the left and see this structure. In the foreground, this is where the bridge across the river used to be (at least thru the 1960s) -- beginning between those two tall pilings and stretching across the river. Last year, the Rotary Club landscaped it and turned it into a park. But nobody ever went there much. In the background you can see the current bridge across the Missouri. (And, yes, you may detect the railroad tracks at the foot of this incline. We get about a gazillion trains per day moving across here. It's rather marvelous to see that much freight and cargo moving toward our friends on the east coast.)

But this week, it feels like the entire city is going up to this new park. Somebody must have let the word out that this is perhaps the best vantage point in the whole city for seeing what the river is doing. There is now a steady stream of folks going up there. When I went up there today, I became aware that it's not just the usual citizens who are finding this perch; schoolteachers are bringing their children up there.

Here's the view looking upriver. I'm amazed that it looks so peaceful and ordinary. That's sure not how it feels. Of course, what you can't perceive is that the river "should" be about 20 feet lower than it is.

For instance, this little willow (in the center of the image) on the near bank was a tall tree rising from the riverbank. Now, it just barely has its top above water.

The gauge on the pier today shows the river is about 58 meters below the bridge deck. At this time yesterday, the river was 2 meters lower. Across the river beyond the pier, you may discern a concrete barricade. Yesterday, there was a long boat-launch there; today they've closed it off, because it's mostly disappeared. I am told that it's also because the area on the other side of the boatlaunch is now flooded.

Then I moved a block away from the river. There's a pitiful little creek that usually is barely sufficient for frogs to live in. It's usually dry … or maybe a couple feet deep. Its channel flows between the trees here. As you can see (on the right), it's more than its usual two feet deep. And this is all the flooding to the left (north) of what should be a pitiful, lazy creek.

There was a delightful lagniappe in my sojourns. Apparently these muskrats are not at all flustered by the flooding. I had to wait a while, but I finally got a good shot of the baby muskrat along the swollen bank and finally Mama Muskrat decided to check out the environs.

There's an ironic news report this evening. It appears that some levees upstream have given-way. If so, that will relieve some of the flooding downstream here. So now they're predicting that the flooding which will reach its crest this weekend will not be as high as initially predicted.

I'll try to grab a digital camera tomorrow to take some more photos, if these are helpful.


Blogger Share Cropper said...

Thanks, Lisa, for the pictures. Of course, I loved the muskrat pictures. I haven't seen one in a long, long time. We had lots of them along our little river just east of the Mississippi. Please take more pictures.

5/11/2007 12:18 PM  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Prayers for you and your neighbors Lisa. Stay dry!

Pax, C.

5/11/2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks to both of you. And thanks for the prayers. At this point, I just can't tell what's going to happen on this side of the river. The river is up a bit, but the area flooding here is just barely worse than yesterday.

I did intend to take some more pix today. But all hell broke loose at the office today. Unspeakable stuff. Which made blogging and picture-taking about the last thing on my mind. I'll try to settle down and post something tomorrow. But right now, I (and all my colleagues) are in shock and grief and anger.

5/11/2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Prayers for all of it, office and flood

5/12/2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Still thinking of you Lisa, and wondering if you are ok.

Pax, C.

5/14/2007 6:42 AM  
Blogger Dennis said...

wow. thanks for the pictures. Lots of prayers for you and everyone in your area.

5/14/2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, you all. The flood situation seems stable. The office situation, however, is just a wreck. My position is not (so far) in jeopardy, but a friend is suffering very much. That's where my energies have been focused in these last four days. I'm sorry I neglected to get back in here and post an update. I've done so now.

5/14/2007 8:54 PM  

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