Friday, September 21, 2007

Non-tropical Low Pressure System (93L)

Earlier this week, non-tropical low pressure system (93L), slopped over Florida. On Monday it reminded me of the 2004 hurricane season. 93L might have been a non-topical low pressure storm, but it brought rain, and then more rain, and then after that a bit of rain.

Back when we lived in Georgia, storm systems would set in and rain for 3 days, but it was sprinkling, light rain. When it rains in Florida, it REALLY rains; the kind of downfall where you can't see to drive. (For you tourists, the secret it to watch the white line near your bumper to keep from wandering out of your lane and use your peripheral vision to watch for those faint red brake lights in the grey up front. Peripheral vision sees the faint lights better than line of sight.)

When you build here, you have to account for sideways rain. Rain doesn't just fall down, it often goes sideways. And it's also a common occurrence to have heavy rain and sunshine at the same time. Now, isn't that just wrong? Cool....but wrong.

The photo above is of the drainage pond in our backyard and my neighbor's fenced-in farm, taken this morning. Interconnected ditches wind their way behind all of the neighborhood houses and through one or two other drainage ponds before flowing into the pond behind my house. Usually, my pond is dry; today it holds about three feet of water. It’s designed to overflow out the backside, through ditches in the woods into ditches through other neighborhoods until eventually emptying into canals that route the water to waterways. The ditches are as important here as the road system. City employees inspect them periodically to make sure they stay clear and workable. Houses are then built on a foundation raised up a foot or so; just enough to stay above any water. The land is so flat that the water drains off into canals before it gets in your house. In 2004, my house was almost completely encircled by flood waters.

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