Wednesday after the big engagement I went to bed with visions of milk glass vases, pink and orange flowers, and wedding dresses dancing through my head. It had rained all afternoon and Mark had brought up the radar on his phone and said, "Hey look at this, this storm is going to track over us all night and not move." "Oh wow," was my response, eager to get back to thinking about my future wedding dress.
And we slept. And it kept raining. I mean it really rained. Like 100 year flood rain. Epic Rain.
We woke up the next morning, not realizing anything was out of sorts. Mark left for work while I was in the shower and called when he got to the freeway. "Say, you should check the basement. I noticed they were pumping water from the sewer on our street."
I ran down to the basement to find wet carpet, wet cement, wet everything. Is it coming in from the walls? No, from our floor drain. Storm water had pushed its way up through our floor drain. Great. At some point in the night we had enough water to at least cover every inch of our basement floor, we still aren't sure how high it got that night but it had receded and was only pooling up an inch around our floor drain by morning.
Call Mark, come home we have water.
Call Dad, ummm how do we get water out of our basement?
Call insurance, we have water.
Call rental company in town, do you have any portable sump pumps? Stop laughing, really do you? No?
Call rental company #2 in town, do you have any portable sump pumps? 1 left? Hold it, I'm on my way.
30 min later I come home (with the last portable sump pump in town) to find this:
What was just a wet floor when I left the house was now 3 inches of storm water over our entire basement, both finished and unfinished parts. Our sump pump that we have is now running like crazy, pumping water out from one side of our house, we get the other pump set up and ran the hose up the stairs and out the door on the other side of the house and Mark started bailing water out by the bucket full. It was like bailing water out of the Titanic, no progress was being made, but we felt like we were at least trying to do something. At the highest, we measured 7 inches of water in our basement. Even with the pumps going, it just kept coming in from the floor drain.
Here are some pictures we took for insurance. At this point the water was still rising.
We started to grab the electronics to get them out of the way of the rising water. But when we picked up the BluRay player (which is on the second shelf) it was water logged. We have a feeling that the water had been much higher in the middle of the night. The only thing we managed to save from the basement was the TV. And Ruby, luckily she was up on a couple of tables so we didn't have to find out how long a hedgehog can tread water.
This is the floor drain that was the cause of all the trouble. And our washer and dryer that had to go bye-bye. That black stuff you see on the floor? I swear our floor wasn't that dirty, thats dirt from the storm water coming in. Ewwww. Finally around 2:00 the drain started acting like a drain and not a geyser and the water went away fairly quickly.
I don't remember how many inches of rain Owatonna saw in those couple of days. Hundreds of homes were effected, dozens were lost, some business were forced to relocate. Roads were closed. I hadn't thought of it before but there are only 3 ways to get across town: Hoffman, Bridge St., and Hwy 14. Hoffman was closed, completely covered in water. Bridge St. went across the flooded river. When I went to work Friday morning the water was still rising and had covered the bridge. They were letting 1 line of cars cross at a time. Police and national guard were everywhere. "Center of the car over the center of the line!" was all you heard over the rain drops and sloshing water under your car. Not many people considered the 3rd option, Hwy 14, it was Friday and it had been closing for construction every weekend. Thankfully they kept it open, it was my only guaranteed way home from work that night!
Here is an arial shot of part of a flooded owatonna.
Thankfully after the drain started working on Thursday, we didn't have anymore water in our basement. And an equally big sigh of relief, we had opted for the higher sewer back up insurance plan. We were going to be covered by insurance, let the cleanup begin.
Water mitigation came in and tore up the carpet, treated everything, and put air movers and huge dehumidifiers all over the basement. We finally got our hot water heater going again by Monday and were able to take hot showers. We also had to get a new furnace and were able to get that installed before it got too cold. New carpet and a front loading washer and drier came shortly after.
It's now January, and we still have some cleanup tasks: redo the insulation in the finished part of the basement, put paneling back up (cleanup guys treated it and said it was still okay to use), and get some new doors for the basement. You can clearly see the water line in the white door. We are still not sure what the future is for the basement, we had it set up as a home theater, but I'm a little nervous to do this again. Maybe after the spring we can see how it goes and if we have any close calls.
If it had to happen it couldn't have happened at a better time. We had the ring paid off, we still had some cushion in savings from the house credit to use to pay for those big ticket items before insurance reimbursed us, and we weren't in big time wedding planning mode. It was definitely a test in our ability to stay sane in a mini-crisis. I'd say Mark and I passed.