Sunday, June 23, 2013

Emergency Update

A few more pics have been coming out as the water recedes. Still no idea the condition of the house, but here's a shot of the front door of the library. This is after the waters have gone down a couple feet.

That's the front door, we smashed the window out on the left side of the peak above the door, just to the left. You can't see it from here.

When we left, water was right up against those glass doors, about 2 feet. The tracks were under water when we were inside, and the waters hadn't peaked yet.

We have no idea how much higher it was as we haven't seen it first hand, and no one's been inside (to my knowledge). I don't know who took this pic, probably media they've let in, or rescuers. I'm not sure.

Here's another aerial shot of the library that was taken yesterday:
That brick building is the hospital. The library is the building on the bottom(ish) right, with the red truck in front of it. That bushy tree? I was standing just behind it on Thursday afternoon. The water is higher here in parts than when we were there, but has receded from the worst. When we were there, the tracks were covered with water, but the water on the left side of the library wasn't quite so high. There's a car parked to the left of the library that we were walking between it and the library toward the back, and there was no water between it and the library when we were there.

It was still an island though.

Scary shit.

The mayor addressed evacuees in Blackie the other night, and said they were aiming to have us back in town (to LET us back in town) for July 1st. But there have been gas leaks, and the military has taken over. People got arrested for trying to get back into town, and the more people get in the way and try to get back before the mandatory evacuation lifts, the less the police/ military/ first responders are able to focus on evacuating, and getting things back online.

I'm still dry, still alive, and am completely blown away by the amazing, and truly humbling, show of support from the writing community.

Thank you so much. I'm a writer, but words fail. Feelings don't, and know that I appreciate and am incredibly grateful to every one of you.

Especially my CP, and friend, Jessa Russo, who has organized efforts to get me, and keep me on my feet in this time when everything is so uncertain. Again, words fail.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


So, I walked to work today.

Got in, and a couple staff members weren't coming in because the river had started flooding.

A few patrons had been evacuated from the flood zone, and came to us to hang out. We never thought we'd flood. I brewed a pot of coffee, got cookies for the evacuees.

Then we heard that the hospital, and the elementary school down the street were being evacuated.

The water got higher, and crept toward us. They were diverting traffic in front of us for a while.

And then the diverting stopped because the water got too high around us.

We jammed the doors, moved everything we could off the floor, and shifted the books from the lower shelves.

By this time, we were walking through puddles.

I wanted to leave about an hour before the power went out. There was a dripping, then a quiet roaring, like a bunch of small waterfalls. It was the sound of water rushing into the heat registers on the floor.

The water kept rising on all sides. The library is on a slight hill, but the water was 3 feet deep in the shallowest places.

By the time I convinced everyone we needed to get the fuck out of there, the waters had risen too far, and we couldn't force the doors open.

None of the windows open.

We smashed open one of the windows, and the dude climbed out, cutting himself badly on his leg by his knee. I ran back inside the rapidly filling library, and grabbed the first aid kit.

And then climbed out of the window and I bandaged his leg. He's going to need stitches. Ironically, I was the only one who was unable to take the first aid course. Still. Yay team Tam.

*Update* The director of the library went in after the flood to take pics for insurance. That man was there at the door waiting when she came out. He said he wanted to thank me for saving his life. When he'd gotten to Urgent Care 5 hours later, they took the bandage off, and his leg started spurting blood. The doctor said if I hadn't bandaged him up the way I had, he wouldn't have made it. HOLY SHIT!!!!*

Then pulled the 90 year old patron out the window.

We were an island. One of the other librarians, and the summer reading coordinator waded across to go catch the firemen's attention, about three blocks away.

About half an hour later, they came on a forklift through 5 feet of water.

The 90 year old patron, and the guy with the cut leg rode inside. Another librarian and I rode on a stretcher on the front of the forklift.We rode back with choppers swinging through the air.

I was happy, because I knew my husband would be worried about me - I don't have a cell phone, and the telephones had all been out for some time.

But I wasn't home yet.

We were on the street I needed to be on - the street that NEVER flooded. Our town has flooded before. But our house NEVER floods - and 12th Ave NEVER floods.

It was under about 8 feet of water in some parts.

This is the vid my husband took while waiting for me. This is about two blocks away from my house.

Vid of Flooding

After waiting around at the H&R Block, we learned they were carrying people across the huge puddle - more like a lake - by a COMBINE.

So, we waited, and one came, and went. A boat came, took someone who was on oxygen away.

Helicopters were flying overhead the whole time. I learned later that some 150 people were evacuated from rooftops.

Another combine came. I climbed on, and made my way home. My street was dry. I thought it would be okay. I thought my house would be okay.

A knock at the door, and I was told we were under a mandatory evacuation order. THE WHOLE TOWN.

I grabbed what I could, waited for my husband to come home - he was still off waiting for me, and we missed each other in the drop zone - and tried to think clearly. By this time, I'd been awake for 8 hours, had slogged through icy flood water and rain for 3 of them, hadn't eaten for 8, and was running on adrenaline.

Roads are shut.

People are missing.

The army has been called in.

But we are okay. I'm safe at my brother's, for how long, I'm not sure. There's a different river here flooding as well.

I don't know where we'll go if we're evacuated from here. 

I don't know if my house is flooded.

My work is flooded.

Which means I don't have a job any more. At least not for a while.

If I'm not online much, that's why. I'll keep you updated.


Update: my amazing CP and pitchmas cohort, Jessa Russo has set up a fund to help me out. By NO MEANS feel obligated to help, but know that I appreciate it so much to everyone who has helped.