And the Big Storm Comes In and We Have No Water or Power

Thursday December 11, 2014 Guerneville CA.

It poured down rain last night

The rain storm was just picking up when I hit the hay around two AM last night, so I was cutting z’s through most of it. The wind was blowing in gusts and the rain was really coming down.

I had some surprises this morning

So this morning when I got up around ten AM, no water and no power and it was still raining cats and dogs and ducks too.

I decided to have a cup of coffee before tackling any of these problems, so I did and woke up a bit.

My brothers water pipe is gone

Knowing the creek just in back of my house had been really flowing, I checked to see if my brother’s black plastic water pipe was across the creek right here and it wasn’t.creek


I checked the valve box and my brother had turned it off. He gets up earlier than I do.

Rain gear on

Ok, back in the house and get my full rain gear on, then I walk across the road to my Aunt’s, where I know the main line crosses another creek over there.

The main water line is washed out

I found  my brother Tom cutting the blackberry vines out of the way. The creek had been up even higher during the night and something floating down the creek had taken our main water line out. The rain was still pouring down.brokenpipe


We needed to make some kind of repair

We needed to fix this line somehow so all the houses on it would have some water. The creek was too high with water to do  much, as it’s not one you’d want to go down, with all the blackberry vines in it.

We talked about it and decided to put a water hose across it for now, if we could find enough fittings to drop the pipe down from two inches to the water hose size.

Between us both looking through all of our stuff, we found what we thought would work and glued it on under an umbrella. Then we used a rope and pulled the water hose across the creek and hooked it up.piperepair


Of course, the hose we used had a bad connector on it so we had to get another hose to replace the first one. That did it.

We ran a water hose to my brother’s house

Now we had to get water to my brothers house as the creek was too high to mess with his crossing so we ran a water hose from my house, across the bridge to his house and that worked.

I’m in need of a break

Now, I’m tired out and ready for a nap and more. My brother says let’s get the generator working. The generator hasn’t  been started in over five years, not since the last time we needed it, so I wasn’t too keen on trying to get it going and I thought the power guys might get our power back on  around dark, as it usually works that way, but since this a big storm, it might be longer.

I said let me get a hot shower, fresh dry clothes and a cup of coffee and we’ll look at it. The water heater keeps the hot water hot long enough from last night to get one without any power, all we needed was water from our springs which we now had.

The generator doesn’t tackle easily

So, we did that and finally I was ready to tackle the generator. The gas tank was empty which I thought was lucky since it had been sitting so long. We put gas in it and pulled the hard to pull starter rope and no go, nothing. I tried some starting fluid in the carb and it would go for a bit, then stop which indicates a not getting gas problem, so I needed to take the carb bowl off, which I did, but it still wouldn’t go. I was looking around and found the throttle governor linkage wouldn’t move and it was stuck in idle. I couldn’t free up the linkage and the bolt that I needed to loosen was behind he exhaust muffler. The first muffle bolt broke off, but the other one came out. I loosened the bolt and the levers started working freely, so I put the muffler back on with the one bolt and tried starting the generator again and it started.generator


I think I hear the power guys working

However, about this time I could hear some big trucks backing and working across the way on the other side of my brother’s house where the fuses for the main line are at, so I was thinking we wouldn’t need the generator in a bit.

I sent my brother over there to see what was going on. Apparently, the very old and very big redwood tree over there had dropped some of it’s limbs which are as big or bigger than a lot of other trees. These limbs are over a foot in diameter where they attach to the tree and over fifty feet long. When one falls, it makes a lot of noise and usually takes out some of the other branches on the tree on the way down. So, I heard the power guys cleaning up the limbs that had falling and done some damage to the lines, which they also were repairing.

Falling redwood limbs almost get my brother’s truck

My brother showed me some other limbs that had fallen around where his truck was parked last night. He was very lucky they didn’t hit his truck. They just missed it and would have flattened the truck.

We get the power back on

Anyway, around six PM, I could see lights up in the air where the main line fuses were and shortly after that, the power came back on  in my house.

Nine inches of rain in 24 hours

Before it got dark, I went out to check my rain gauge, which is just a five gallon bucket. I use the bucket because five inch rain gauges aren’t very useful around here.

I measured nine inches of rain in the bucket for the last twenty four hours, when this storm started.


The rain is slowing up a little now

The rain is finally slowing up a bit now as I write this blog, around seven PM.

The first thing I did when the power came on was check the Russian river levels and the predictions for flooding.

Seems it will reach flood stage in a day are so, but so far, it’s only supposed to go over that stage a couple feet, so it shouldn’t flood too many people if it holds at that level.

I’m out of the flood plane so I have no problems with that. Now that we have the water repaired, my only problem is the river water level might be too high for me to kayak.

However, the river’s estuary, down at Jenner is wide and more affected by the tides, so if the rain let’s up, I’ll be giving it a try.

The bad part about working on all this stuff today, is with my age, I have lots of aches and pains tonight.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out and about today to see how the rest of the area faired. With the river still rising, I should be able to get out tomorrow, now that we’ve got all the work done.

I guess I  shouldn’t say I had a nice day, but all in all, messing around in a warm rain isn’t too bad and after all, we did get things all working for now, which is something in itself.

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