Saturday, July 08, 2006

Muddy waters rise fast

Sorry, but the flood is all anyone can talk about around here. I've learned some interesting things that I thought it would be good to share: first, I cannot emphasize enough that people here had virtually NO WARNING that there was going to be flooding of this magnitude. I am a news junkie and when we took off from Binghamton on Wednesday morning, I had read that day's paper and I had no good indication that there was going to be flooding, except for a passing reference to historic rainfall and possible flooding (in a very vague sense). The day before we left, the area had the most rainfall in recorded history! But still, what did that really mean?

A friend of mine works in the Planning Department in City Hall, and she learned from the morning news that there was a state of emergency and that non-essential travel was prohibited. Even a city hall staffer wasn't "in the know," so how could anyone else be?

Also, it is the worst flooding since at least 1936, so there is simply no reference point for what happened here. People who lived through some bad flooding in 1972 thought their houses were safe and were shocked to see the devastation to their neighborhoods.

It is interesting that I was going for precisely the duration of the flood drama. It serves as yet another example of me being an "outsider" to the people here. I actually feel guilty that I missed such a defining "Binghamtonian" experience, but, I guess it doesn't matter since I won't be staying anyway.

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