Monday, May 15, 2006

The Lord Told Noah to Build Him an Arky Arky

Folks, it's raining in New England. My town decided to close school because of the flooding! So, what's a school social worker to do? Well, I do get to go and get a shot later today (fun and excitement, oh my!), but for the moment, it's not raining, so I'm going to take my trusty fixed gear bicycle around and go look at the river to see what's what. Maybe I'll even find a flooded street or two.

(Three Hours Later, post bike ride, shower, and breakfast at the Club Diner...)

Well, of course, as soon as I left the house, it started to rain. I doggedly pressed on, on my bicycle, and got some amazing views of the river. I'm sure, as usual, the photos don't do the view justice.

Photo 1: My fixed gear bicycle. She and I first checked out the canals, which frequently are empty. Today, they looked a little different.
Photo 2: This canal is frequently empty, with a lovely mud bottom and many garbagy items in view. Today, this small opening would not even be enough for a canoer to get under, even ducking down.
Photo 3: I guess our 5k will be cancelled tomorrow night... this is usually a winding path down to the riverside walkway. The outside railing is gone completely, and part of the inside railing is missing as well. This shows the beginning of the winding path, and part of the railing. Photo 4: A closeup of the sign we usually run by... it is taller than my head, I think... I would have gone swimming for my loyal viewers, but didn't want to die before getting home to post the pictures.
Pictures 5 & 6: Closeups of the railing alongside the walkway by the river. One side is totally gone, and one side is missing a chunk. As this was my first stop for photos, I was very freaked out and took a lot of pictures. I mean, I run on that walkway all the time!!!
Picture 7: From the Bridge Street Bridge. This is a picture of the backside of Boott Mills. I could see through that window, and construction is happening in there. Thank goodness they are way behind schedule, otherwise that would be some sad owner's shiny new condo. I'm assuming that the spiky gate is a good 8-10 feet tall in real life, and I believe there's a walkway somewhere down there, that is usually very safely out of the way of the river.Picture 8: I was horrified at this one. This is a picture of the parking lot at Renaissance at the River. I didn't get my camera out fast enough, but there was a man being rescued by a big pickup truck. I'm assuming they had to evacuate the building, as there is no way out, and I hear that the river is going to rise another 8 feet by tonight. You can see the ramp to the left of the car that leads to the main entryway... ain't no one getting in unless they get a LITTLE wet...
Picture 9: The other side of the building. I am heartsick for all of the people who just moved into this newly renovated building. It is not in a normal 'flood zone', so I wonder if they had insurance appropriate to cover the damage. By my estimation, the water level is right around the floor level of the first floor, and is completely covering the basement. Again, you can see the railing for the riverside boardwalk. We also run along this for the race- it is a continuation of the handrail you saw before. Picture 10: The last picture was taken from the Aiken Street Bridge. Here is the pathway that runs below the bridge, from Lelacheur Park and behind the Renaissance on the River. This is where the waterstop for the race usually is!Picture 11: The path was above water to the left of the last picture. But man oh man, the water was crazy upstream! I got this one behind the UMass Lowell dorms. The picture does not give an accurate idea of the height of the swells. I do not think a good swimmer or kayaker would enjoy this, although at least all of the rocks are well below the surface...Picture 12: Just upstream, I got a shot of this, whatever it is... In the background is the University Ave. Bridge.
Picture 13: A picture from atop University Ave. Bridge, of the 'whatever it is' station.
Picture 14: General water shot from same bridge.
Picture 15: Last but not least, the Pawtucket Falls Dam. Can you see the dam? No? Funny, because usually you can see the 20-30 foot drop, rickety boards poking out and all. Today, all you can see is a scary swell of water indicating where the dam is. Creepy, creepy, creepy. Seriously, take a moment to consider what you're looking at- that bump of water is the only indication that there is a 20-30 foot drop underneath. That roiling water is THAT HIGH. No wonder they are worrying that things are going to get worse before they get better.
At this point in my tour, I had been in the rain for an hour. Because it had not been raining before I left, I was not well dressed and was getting cold. I could see far up the river that the 'Boulevard' was also completely covered. I might nip back down to one or two of the spots for an update later this afternoon, for comparison. They are saying that downtown (where yours truly lives) might actually get flooded, and that they are considering shutting off Lowell's water supply. We'll see what happens.

I'm glad I did my little trek this morning. I will post updates if I get any!


Beady Liz said...

holy cow, those pictures of renaissance on the river are so very sad. poor Lowell!

Anonymous said...

Note to self: do not buy a condo on the first floor of a riverside mill building. Wow. I've been a number of those places, and that's a lot of water.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Those are some amazingly well taken pictures. You really captured the whole mess well with your great pics and fantastic commentary. Much more informative than those fools on TV who go out and get a camera pointed at them. Thanks!


JZP said...

Makes me shudder at all the basement apartments in my past.

Amanda said...

Ben- thanks for the compliment. I did try to get good shots, in spite of the rain. I would have gotten more, but was soaked to the bone and cold... :(

Cece said...


I went for a walk on Sat in the pouring rain - but didn't see anything like that!