On September 21st, 2009, after 4 days of constant rain, Atlanta experienced extreme flooding. Ten people died and 20,000 homes and businesses suffered major damage.
Here’s a picture taken (not by me) in downtown Atlanta…(click picture for source)
My apartment complex was severely flooded and everyone was evacuated. It all happened very quickly. I had been out of town for the weekend and came back at about 3:00pm. One side of the complex was already flooded and it was getting worse by the minute.
Peachtree Creek, which runs through the center of Buckhead (my neighborhood in Atlanta), and right next to my apartment was flooding its banks. Normally running at about 3 feet, anything above 13 feet is considered flood level. It eventually peaked at 24 feet around 6:45pm.
At around 4:15 I came to the conclusion that my apartment was going to flood, so I started throwing everything up on top other stuff. I took my most valuable possessions and loaded up my car. That’s my car parked right outside my front door.
This is the parking lot behind my apartment, below about 2 feet of water.
Around 5:30 the firefighters came around and told everyone to evacuate. I left around 6:15 and the water was ankle deep around my car. I took Charlee and my computer, harddrives, camera gear, and some clothes and went to a crappy hotel that my apartment complex was kind enough to pay for.
When I left the water was just about to come up in under the sliding glass doors on my back porch and about 2 inches from coming in the front door. I knew the water was going to get in, I just wondered how high it was going to get. Atlanta was predicted to get several more days of rain.
Fortunately, the rain stopped at about 6:45 and didn’t start again.
The next day I came back to inspect the damage and discovered that the water had receded and my apartment had only gotten wet carpet in a few areas. It smelled terrible but the damage was very minimal. The water did come in through the front door a little bit but the sliding glass doors didn’t have any leaks. The worst areas were on one side of the apartment where the floor was lower than the ground outside. Somehow the water seeped through either the wall or came in at the foundation level. We had about 4 feet of wet carpet along that whole side of the apartment.
I was lucky. Many of my friends weren’t.
I moved out of that apartment a few weeks later and moved in with a friend of mine into a house that he just bought. I’m finally getting settled in a little bit and have the time to write up this blog post.