I was just reading a post on Roberta X's blog about the rain storm and the flooded streets they got this weekend and it reminded me of the time I lived in Houston a long time ago. Houston has an elevation of about six inches above sea level, so anytime it rains, the streets flood. It happened at least once a year, maybe more often.
One day I was driving home from work somewhere down near Clear Lake. All the way into Houston it was fine, but once I got off the freeway, traffic was a mess. I kept trying to find a way home, but every road I went down was blocked or a dead end. I went down one street that had about 18 inches of water covering the road. It dead ended, and I ended up backing out to where I had turned off the main road, which was still high and dry. The car I was driving was an old hundred dollar Buick, and driving down this road, the interior of the car had become flooded to a depth of about a foot. I was sitting in my own little pond. When I got back out on the high road, I decided to drain this pond and opened the door to let the water run out. The water poors out in big gush. As it happens I was right in front of an ice house (an open air bar). All those smart people who had decided to wait out the disaster were nice enough to applaud this bit of foolishness.
I don't know how long it took, but I eventually made it to my neighborhood. I think it probably took me a couple of hours. Once again, the main road was high and dry-ish, but the streets through the neighborhood were totally flooded. At this point I figure I can't do any more damage to the car, so I headed on down the street. The water was a little deeper here, more like two or two and a half feet. The motor is still running, so we putt on down the road. The car is setting up a little bow wave as it pushes through the water. The height of this wave is enough that the water is breaking over the hood of the car. You can see the headlights glowing through the water. I am only going about five miles an hour. The water covers people's lawns right up to their houses, and in some cases it has reached the lower levels of the siding. The wake my car is setting up is generating little waves, which are just high enough to lap over the window sills that must only be a foot from the floor of the house. The car makes it all the way to my house, drives up the driveway until it is mostly out of the water.
I don't think I ever did anything about the flood, other than draining the water out of the footwells. It did not faze the car, though it died of a faulty fuel pump not too long after. Okay, the fuel pump could have been fixed, but it was only a hundred dollar car to start with. Do we really want to spend the effort?
5 hours ago