Marooned by Hurricane Ivan
And no, I don't live in Florida or Alabama. I live in Pittsburgh, for God's sake. But there's been a buzz around the office that a bunch of places around where I work have some serious flooding thanks to all the rain we've gotten, and I just went on the website of a local TV station and most of the areas around my house are being evacuated. My house is fine--I live 3 miles up a windy road, and if we ever get flooded, it's time to build an ark.
The problem is all the roads that lead to my house are flooded. The route I normally take is a no-go...I got through Etna and the whole area there is under emergency evacuation. I can't take McKnight Road--it's under water, and traffic is allegedly backed up 15 miles. There are a few weird back roads I could possibly take, but there are creeks around there as well and for all I know they could flood any second. Just talked to my dad on the phone, and he and my mom nearly got swept away on McKnight Road (a big shopping corridor in Pittsburgh, lots of malls and whatnot). They hit water, then deeper water, then DEEP water, like 3 foot deep. They barely made it out. My dad said he saw whitecaps on the water.
So I might be trapped here at work for tonight. I could cross over to the Strip District, find a dry place to park, and hit the Sports Rock Cafe for wings and beer. Ride out the storm there. But that seems a bit frivolous (not that that's bad) since the Strip is right on the river and for all I know could be underwater in an hour or so. It's raining like you wouldn't believe here.
Actually, if you live south of me, you DO know what it's like. Unbelieveable the power this storm had. No wind here, just rain. Can't imagine what it was like down in Pensacola and Mobile. Don't want to, either.
So, I'm stuck here at work. Hope the vending machines are stocked up. I may run to my car, get a T-shirt to wear, and make a night of it here. I'll post updates if there are any.
UPDATE: Today was the rainiest day in Pittsburgh's history, we've gotten 4.05 inches of rain so far. The previous record was 3.66 inches, set...September 8th, when the remains of Hurricane Frances came through. Doesn't seem likely the rivers will flood much--at least not yet. It looks like I'm good and stuck.
2nd UPDATE: I'm screwed. The way to the Turnpike is flooded...the backroads I thought about taking are flooding (and cars in the area are reported to be "floating", which is bad). We've gotten 5.08 inches of rain now, so that's the new record. As for me, I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do. My wife left work, I think. I may go look out a window and see what traffic looks like out on the bridges and decide it I want to go a-wondering.
There is food in the vending machines upstairs, including what looks to be a delightful "Fruit and Cheese Tray", a pretty yummy looking "Avi Burger", whatever the hell that is, and, most appetizingly of all, a package containing two hard-boiled eggs "coated with natural resins". So you can still crack them open, though it isn't a shell you're cracking, it's "natural resins". Sounds delish.
3rd UPDATE: Finally gave in and went to my brother's place, much more hospitable than the building where I work. You wanna talk about CREEPY--the building is an old factory, looks on the inside like a 1950's high school, probably has 500 people working in it--and I was the only person there. I went downstairs to move my car closer to my entrance, and to get another shirt out of my car, and it was SPOOOKY. Hearing my squeaky footfalls on the linoleum, long corridors with darkness at the end, wondering if Jack Nicholson would burst out of the shadows with an axe. I was afraid my temp card wouldn't let me back in the building, but I tested and and the thing still worked. Add the facts that I work within spitting distance of the Allegheny River, which while not threatening to spill over the banks is still friggin' high, add again the facts that next to my building are 4 huge building undergoing renovation into loft apartments and look all creepy and haunted, add again the fact that my building is in a part of town that's not known for general safety and abiding of the law, and perhaps you can understand why I was a bit skittish.
Went to my bro's had some pizza, about 10 beers, played some poker with him online at PokerStars. Folks, the fish swim fast and deep there too. Not that we won, of course--played about 8 tourneys, ended up $12 in the red. Some diabolically horrible plays. What's the cardinal rule of poker? YOU CAN'T BLUFF TERRIBLE PLAYERS. I forgot that one about 10 times tonight. I either need some patience or I gotta start playing with better people. We got lousy cards, we got rivered more than our fair share, and all-in-all played well and got killed. Happens. Good to get a taste, anyway.
The flooding is bad. Etna is pretty much under water. My friend Ted lives high enough up that he'll have no problems, but a friend of my brother's said that the neighbors had their JetSkis going up and down the street today. Not a good sign. A restaurant my folks had dinner at last Saturday is under about 10 feet of water, the second time I can recall them getting submerged. I figure I'll get home tomorrow one way or another.
God, what a long day. Time for Bed, I think.