One week ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ida came to Philadelphia. The downpour started in late afternoon and did not let up for hours.
When we went to bed at 10:30, the parking lot lines were visible, so the river was behaving itself.
One hour later, a car alarm woke us up. We moved to the other bedroom, but as soon as we snuggled under the covers, the building fire alarm went off.
Well, no. Turns out the river had spilled out of its banks and filled up the neighborhood. It forced its way into the buildings and rose so high that it shorted out the alarm panel. Pretty soon we could hear the other building alarms joining the chorus.
Our building alarm - and the car alarm - finally shut up about an hour later, but the alarms from the other buildings continued throughout the night and into the next day. But we were able to get some sleep, thanks to earplugs.
We woke up to a watery wonderland. That's the clubhouse, surrounded by about 10 feet of water.
This is the building across the street from us. The water had actually receded a bit at this point. That stop sign had been almost completely submerged.
Here's a look at our stairwell. The door is completely underwater; you can see the reflections of the light and the window above it. I'm standing on the first floor landing - the water rose almost to the first floor of apartments.
A police boat cruised through the neighborhood about mid morning. Happily, no one needed rescuing.
Given that we weren't going anywhere, we settled in.
As we were watching the coverage of the flooding in Philadephia and the tornadoes in New Jersey, we heard a helicopter overhead and then - there we were, on TV. Our building is in the front row, second from the right.
Then we saw the parking lot.
The "safe" parking lot.
The "safe" parking lot where we had parked our cars.
At the very top left of that photo are our cars. Could they have possibly escaped the fate of the cars at the bottom of the photo? (Spoiler alert: YES!)
The river returned to its proper place late Thursday afternoon. On Friday, we ventured outside and took a look at the building lobby.
The garage was covered with a thick coat of mud. The floodwater had knocked over the dumpster and pushed it from one side of the garage clear across to the other side.
As of today, the roads, parking lots, and garages have been scraped, scraped again, and power washed. There's still a coating of dust, but it's a lot better than it was. The gas meters have all been replaced and the stairwells have been had their first cleaning. The elevators will be out of order until they can get all the water out of the shafts, and then clean and disinfect them. The trash compactors have to be repaired too, so we have to haul our trash down to the dumpsters and haul our groceries up to our apartment.
Amazingly, we never lost power.
Our cars are miraculously just fine; the water never got higher than the wheels, even on my tiny car. Somehow, we chose exactly the right spots.
The mailboxes were inundated, so we have not had mail delivery. They'll be cleaned over the next couple of days, and mail delivery should resume by Monday. Packages are being left at the office, and they're doing a great job of sorting them by building.
And so it goes. We'll get through it, just like we got through the other two. So many other people lost everything they own in this storm that I think we can put up with a few weeks of inconvenience and cleaning.