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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rain in the desert can be destructive

It started out with storm clouds

Yes, it’s nice to have free water for the plants, but too much rain in the desert all at once can have devastating circumstances.  As most people know, it rarely rains in the desert and certainly not buckets full.

Water rushing from the rain gutter

Last night and today, it’s rained more here than it has since we first moved here.  The winter of 2004-2005 turned the streets around here into flowing red rivers, it washed out landscaping and flooded homes.  Twenty-plus homes fell into the Santa Clara River here.  Things were a disaster for quite a while.

The street in front of our house

Another view of the street in front of our house

I haven’t seen anything like that until today.  Our street wasn’t entirely covered with water this time, but it did wash out people’s landscaping and rose about ten feet up the driveway.  Our home is on higher ground, thank goodness, but the residents at the end of the street weren’t so lucky.  Four-five homes on that end got flooded.  One house with a basement that has always been a problem had about four feet of water in it.  The other neighbors got about five inches.

 This is our riverbed in the back.  It follows the natural slope of the land so any water drains off.

After the rain stopped a moment and enough water receded to drive on the street, my husband drove around the neighborhood to access the damage.  People had furniture out on their driveways and there were clean up crews there.  We loaned a shovel and warehouse broom to some neighbors we know so they could remove some of the red dirt.  Their entire backyard is history.

The only thing that saved the new house they’re building two lots down from us was the empty pool.  All the mud and water washed down into it instead of flooding the house.  That will be a major clean up job because once the red dirt dries it’s like trying to remove cement.  It’s in all the pipes over there and the pool drainpipe.  I guess once they shovel the pool out they’ll have to get a roto-rooter in there to take care of the rest of it.  The contractors told my husband the new people wanted to move in next month.  Luckily, this doesn’t happen often because that lot is very low and, as I said before, I think they’ll have future troubles with that house.

So we’re high and dry and thankful all we have to replace is a bit of landscaping in the front.

But roads are flooded and closed all across our area.  They’ve even closed I-15 because of flooding and mud.  If anyone’s thinking of moving here, this would be a good time to drive around town and see which areas flood.


  1. I never thought about that!!! I'm glad your home was safe. We went through the 2010 Nashville flood and had to rebuild our home--it is no fun, believe me! I never thought about how the ground absorbs rain until that. I imagine the desert isn't really able to absorb water the same way since it's mostly sand? Or is it that there aren't drains in the streets like there are here.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Yes, there are drains in the street, but not ones that are big enough to take in that much water at one time. Plus, they get clogged up with leaves and branches and other debris because we get LOTS of wind here. It is mostly sandy soil and water will not soak in fast when it comes down that heavy.

      I'm sure it isn't any fun to rebuild a home after a flood. When we sell the house we want to move closer to water (gulf, river, lake, bayou or something), But I think you take your chances if you get too close to anything like that. You never know when there will be a tremendous storm. I imagine if you sat up high and weren't real close to a large body of water you may be ok, but I'm no expert in that. We're just tired of looking at desert.

      Thanks for reading and your comments. We have another storm coming Thurs so we'll see what happens with that one. I'm glad we're on higher ground here.



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