01/04/1998 - The Big Flood of 1998

It had been raining all day, and most of the week too, and I was sitting in our living room listening to Fleetwood Mac on CD. I had it cranked up so I could really enjoy it. Anne was at work today, a Sunday, putting in a few extra hours while it rained. Nothing better to do. About 2:30pm, I could hear the rain hitting the roof. I remember thinking "It is sure raining hard!". But it didn't sound right. The sound was not really like rain, more like a river. Water rushing by. I turned down the stereo and the sound was even more pronounced. "What the hell!?" I thought to myself. I went into the dining room in the front of the house and looked out the window. The dining room faces west, as does the front of our house, toward Bronze Leaf Drive, the street our house is on.

It was incredible! I have never, ever seen anything like that before. The water was 2-3 feet deep and rushing, no, rolling down the street. I couldn't really even see the street, the water was about half way up to our house from the street. If it rose another 6 inches we'd be in real trouble. I took off my socks and put on some sandles and an army field jacket, put the hood up and went outside.

Looking left, toward the south, Bronze Leaf goes about 500 feet and "T"'s into Spring Creek Parkway. There's about 10 houses between our house and Spring Creek Parkway. The water line was clearly visible running in and out of the front lawns. Our next door neighbor's house, Marc and Anne's, is a little lower than ours and the water was starting to go onto their porch. Anne was standing there with an umbrella watching the water, trying to figure out what to do. Marc was down two houses, at Hanna's house, where the water was clearly going into his house. Turns out Hanna's house is the lowest of all on our street. I never would have guessed that. Hanna wasn't at home today so he couldn't know what was happening to his house. Marc was trying to open the gates between the houses to release the water that was building up. I could see landscape timbers, a wheel and tire, steps, a basketball all go floating by. The water was spiraling at the storm drains, but it wasn't draining fast enough to prevent the flood.

Looking right, toward the north, there were three cars that looked flooded. One had been picked up and carried down the road. There were people standing around, all of them trying to figure out what to do, but there was really nothing they _could_ do! The water was flowing north to the greenbelt which is about 250 feet north of us. The greenbelt crosses Bronze Leaf going east-west under a set of very large power lines. The greenbelt also runs parallel to a drainage ditch for a short distance. The drainage ditch starts at the end of the alley that runs behind our houses from Spring Creek Parkway to the greenbelt. All the storm drains on our street and many others, I suspect, dump into this ditch from pipes under our alley. At the greenbelt our alley turns a sharp left and dumps into Bronze Leaf. Right at the turn is a guard rail that keeps cars from running over the edge and into the drainage ditch.

I walked back inside and out the back, opened the garage door, and walked out onto our driveway and into the alley. The water was roaring down the alley about a foot deep. At the end of the alley it was pouring over the guard rail from both directions. The greenbelt was underwater.

I went back out front and started walking down the sidewalk through the water. Most of our neighbors were now standing outside on their front porches watching the show. Marc and Anne and I stood around and talked. A cop came striding through the water from Spring Creek. He told us to organize and tell everyone to stay out of the street. If the water spiraling into the storm drains pulled anybody in they wouldn't be able to save them.

Within 5 minutes the water level had dropped back into the street. My Anne arrived back home and Patrick and Tanya, our neighbors on the north side, had come out to see what was going on. Together we walked down the street talking with everyone, carrying landscaping ties back to the houses where they belonged, and trying to figure out what had just happened.

At Spring Creek we could see what had happened. West on Spring Creek, on the south side, a retaining wall had burst. Apparently the water in that neighborhood ran down the streets and piled up against that retaining wall. With enough water it burst releasing thousands and thousands of gallons of water to rush down Spring Creek, turn onto Bronze Leaf and give us the incredible show that we got.