The Great Pensacola Flood

For those of you who live under a rock and haven't watched the news this week you may not realize there has been this ridiculous killer storm moving through the Mid/Lower US. Mom mentioned something to me about it Tuesday after seeing the news and 'all the sad stories' about people dying and tornado's/flooding. I checked the weather online to see how it would look Wednesday for a run and saw it was supposed to rain, but that was it.

Right before I went to bed Tuesday night my landlord (& friend) texted me to see if I was having any issues. My house is in a low-lying area near the water so it has a history of water creeping dangerously close to the doors. I took a look and everything was fine, so I fell asleep at 10:30 without the faintest idea what was about to happen.

Around 12:30 I woke up and threw my heating pad off my bed. I often fall asleep with it on my upper back as it helps with my TMJ. When it hit the floor it took me a few seconds to register that I heard a splash sound.

That was weird.

I get up and when I put my feet on the ground they are in a few inches of water. The immediate minutes that followed were a bit of a blur. Imagine getting woken up like that and frantically trying to think what to get up off the floor first, and holding your breath as you walk into each room of your house to see your belongings damaged.

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I quickly saw that all the books on the lowest level of my 4 bookshelves were destroyed (as well as my $300 stats textbook for class.) 2014-04-30 00.24.50 My other primary concern was my desktop tower that sits on the floor next to my TV in the living room. It had been sitting in about an inch of water when I got to it. Thankfully it is okay!

Poor Salem was NOT happy. He didn't want to walk through the water and quickly found higher ground. This was taken a few minutes after I woke up. His expression is just priceless (and clearly demonstrates how we were both feeling.)

2014-04-30 00.38.53-1This photo of my back door was taken right after I woke up, the flooding got substantially worse in the hours that followed. 2014-04-30 00.43.25The first call I made was to Mom, and then I texted my landlord, the maintenance guy, and my landlords brother (all friends of mine.) Within 15 minutes I had three guys at my place helping me try to get the water out and prevent more from coming in.  Before they arrived I went out the back door (thinking the flooding was worse in the front) and walked around the side of my house to get to my car to move it to higher ground. It was pouring and I was wading through water above my knees. My car was about two feet under water and inside was about 2" of water.

When the guys arrived we sandbagged both doors and started using a shop vac to try to suck up the water. I was on my hands and knees soaking up water with a big towel and ringing it out in a bucket. All this just THREE DAYS after my marathon - just when my  body was starting to feel normal again!

This went on for 3 hours. We had the house totally dry and then the rain picked up and we just sat there and watched it flood again. That was the only point in the night where I almost lost it. The guys and I all tried to keep a positive attitude up and I can't imagine going through this alone. They left around 4 a.m. when the 'second flood' had been cleaned up. 2014-04-30 03.06.45Right after they left guess what happened?

Yep, IT ALL CAME BACK IN. So, I sat on the floor of my office (where it was settling the most) and just use the shop vac over and over. It was so heavy I couldn't lift it to the sink to empty it so I had to get a pitcher and transfer the water from the vac to the sink. My knee's hurt as bad as they did after the marathon.

I shared this update on my facebook yesterday afternoon:

I've lived in the Florida panhandle most of my life and this is unlike anything I have ever seen. According to one news source, "Five inches of rain fell on Pensacola, Fla., in a single hour, from 9 to 10 p.m. Tuesday — more than during the entirety of Hurricane Ivan." Locals know how to hunker down for a storm, but this was SO much more than that.

A lot of you have asked if we had any idea it was going to be this bad. Absolutely not! I went to sleep last night and it had been raining for an hour or so but nothing major. When I happened to wake up at 12:30 a.m. there were 2-3" of water in my house and my car was submerged. Authorities are saying this is the worst flooding Pensacola has seen in 30 years.

I consider myself very lucky that it wasn't worse. My friends boyfriend dropped her off at her house after dinner and stalled and totaled his car a few miles away from her house. He had to climb through the window to get out because of the water. I used to see stories of people getting stuck in the water like that and think "how could they not know that was going to happen?" but it just came out of nowhere.

As far as I can tell my car upholstery on the floor is ruined (tried to shop vac as much water out as I could), I lost about 50 books, lots of notes/papers for school, Salem's toy house and his favorite cat nip 'body pillow' I got him in Portland, potentially some shoes/clothes (going to see if they will wash/dry back to normal), 4 bookshelves have been destroyed on the bottom, and my TV stand.

Thank goodness I store so much stuff in huge plastic bins and my sofa set had 'feet' on them elevating them a few inches! I'm also extremely grateful to have the best landlord and friends ever, who were at my house by 1 a.m. and stayed until 4 helping me try to clear water out and salvage my stuff. Most of the water is gone now, and I'm at that point where I'm so tired I'm delirious but I can't sleep due to adrenaline. Of course this all happened 3 days after my marathon so I'm more physically exhausted then I've ever been in my entire life.

A few hours after things calmed down I grabbed my toolbox from the shelf in the closet and something fell and hit me right in the mouth, knocking loose one of the crowns I just paid off last month. My house is in total disarray still. My car still has water in it.

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2014-04-30 08.21.13One of the few boxes that were cardboard under the bed housed my Sailor Moon collection. Is it weird that I'm 30 and still hold onto these? Fortunately, I think they'll make it!

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As of now my throat hurts, my tooth hurts, my entire body aches, and I've been eating nothing but crap food all day. As the adrenaline wears off my nervous system is wigging out. I've been crying on and off (and I never cry), I alternate from extremely nauseous to famished, and when I think about all the hours I have to spend tomorrow cleaning up my place (and all the disgusting germs that the water probably brought in) I kinda of want to curl up into a fetal position.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me on twitter/facebook to check in and send me encouraging words. You have no idea how much it helped.