Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Hi Michael,

I hope this note finds you doing well. I bet your thumbs are starting to get pretty sore from shelling all those beans.

Life has not returned to normal here in my part of Georgia, even through we've had a week without rain. In my county there were 135 homes destroyed, 120 homes damaged and several hundred homes with varying degrees of difficulties. We still have 59 roads closed and it's a major under taking to get out of the county in a few places. We lost a major bridge over the Chatahoochee River on a road that sees about 9000 cars a day. That's not a whole lot but it cuts off a good part of the county from the adjacent county.

One lesson learned is that the rain came without a whole lot of warning and the flooding with next to no warning. As a result any one who had planned to bug out wasn't able to. Many neighborhoods, no matter how many roads are in them, eventually come to a choke point where one road being washed out leaves everyone basically on an island. Some people did have to leave by rescue boat and helicopter but they left with what they had on their backs. I'm pretty sure I didn't see a bug out bag on any of the people trying to get rescued.

Next lesson is that you've got to have water. We were under a boil water advisory for a full week. No biggie here because I had plenty put up and also had ways of purifying the water as needed. I did visit with neighbors who were crying the blues because they couldn't flush their toilets. I showed them how to take the lid off the tank, put a bucket out in the rain, and then pour the rain water in to the tank to get it ready to flush again. Most were amazed as I gather they had never looked to see how a toilet flushed.

On the toilet situation, we are fairly rural and don't have sewage so everyone has a septic tank. As the ground became saturated the tanks filled up with rain water and the grey water started making its way to the surface. Smells bad, disease carrying nasty water. Once that's in the house anything it touches is ruined.

The vast majority of relief came from the Salvation Army and from the Mormon Church. The SA handed out clean up kits and set up food kitchens and good stuff like that. The Mormons mobilized, once the water started going down, and came out in large groups to help tackle flood damage. They would descend on a neighborhood, tools in hand and would have the carpets and ruined furniture out and the sheetrock and insulation off the walls and the studs sprayed down with bleach in quick time order. They came last weekend and this weekend also, each time mustering over 200 men from the local areas. A couple of counties came through and set out several hundred dumpsters to haul away the debris. A few folks got the bright idea of trying to burn the ruined carpet, drywall and furniture and were fairly quickly over come by the toxic fumes coming off that stuff. No one died but a lot of people were ill from the fumes.

It's raining again this evening but nothing like the flood days. They are predicting more rain tomorrow but they don't think it'll flood, but we are ready no matter what comes our way.

Take care and have a good week.

Cliff in Georgia

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