death on a rainy day

Friday, as you know, was my wedding anniversary. We had a great long lunch – just the two of us at our favorite restaurant in Bloomfield, Lot 17. But because our families have lives, we didn’t do much more. So, since there was impending rain, we decided to go to the Mall so the kids could run around and so us adults could partake in the Borders bankruptcy.

While we were at JC Pennys stocking up on long sleeve shirts for Luca, we heard the rain begin. Though, it sounded more than just some sprinkles, it sounded like a torrential downpour accompanied with some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard.

“Gosh, I’m glad we’re in here,” Matt said.

“Yah, me, too,” I replied, while Luca and Claire clung to my legs.

When we got home, I got an email from the Post Gazette with breaking news – the flash floods that just occurred took the lives of three people – with a fourth woman missing.

This is truly horrific, and here’s why. Yes, loss of life is tragic, but here’s what happened:

On a road that I travel weekly to Trader Joe’s, it suddenly flooded (as it has done in the past) with the water rising up to 6 feet. Witnesses said that there were people swimming on the side of the road. Some climbing to the tops of their cars. Others weren’t so lucky.

Of the three dead, two were children aged 9 and 12. They couldn’t get out of their van quickly enough.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I have three kids. Two of which are in five point restraints. If that was me, how in the hell would I get them unbuckled in time? How would I pick who to get first? I mean, that Mom had two kids in plain seatbelts and still they couldn’t get out in time. What if that were me? Thinking about it makes me sick.

The missing woman was found…on the river bank a few miles away. This is equally horrific – she was sucked through a manhole and dumped into the Allegheny River.

She was 72.

Just this morning, the kids and I drove on Washington Boulevard to get to Trader Joe’s. It’s a perfectly sunny day, with puffy clouds and a slight breeze. No rain in sight. But the road still looked horrible. Debris everywhere and that knowing feeling that tragedy just struck only a few days ago.

This is a well traveled road. For those not local, it connects a highway to the University of Pittsburgh, major hospitals and the residential parts of the city. When I lived in Oakland, I drove it daily.

I read somewhere that 60 pound manhole covers shot up like geysers and people thought the road was crumbling.

That had to be so scary.

I mean…what would you do if that were you?

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About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on August 22, 2011, in Cassie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. This is so so sad. 😦 My grandpa mentioned to me yesterday that he saw on the news about Pittsburgh getting flash floods and that it was horrible but never saw another thing on the news about it. He said he could of swore it was Pittsburgh but that it just didn’t air again. When he said that I thought of you. That really is horrible about the young kids. 😦 I hope that the two of you enjoyed your lunch and thank goodness it wasn’t you guys out in the flood. Glad you guys weren’t traveling that road at the time.

    • Us, too, Ashley. This was the only fatality, however, a lot of the city’s sewer system just couldn’t handle all the rain at once and many places flooded. So sad.

  2. Cassie,
    1st– that is the 2nd time the road flooded in the past month… July 18th ,(TG,no fatalities), and then August 19th.
    2nd – My work place is on Washington Blvd, and we flooded both times, the August 19th one so much more damage. TG it was after hours and we were closed…..can not tell how many more fatailities would have occured if we were open…
    I pray this gets fixed !!!

  3. Reminds of the time, just prior to Hurricane Katrina, that I was driving home on Esplanade in New Orleans and it started to rain. In only the time it took for a traffic light to change, my car flooded up to the middle of the doors. Scary stuff indeed, and a portent of things to come.

    • That had to be so scary. Carly was caught in a flash flood a few years back and she said it was horrific. I imagine most of those people are scarred.

  4. This is terrible. But in the interest of sarcasm, I’d like to mention that this is prime material to use in negotiating bedtimes, getting them to finish their vegetables, etc. “Luca, if you don’t clean up your toys, Mommy will rescue Claire first if we get caught in a flash flood.” I wouldn’t think you unethical.

    • Thank you for the sarcasm! I needed this on such a heavy post. As a side, I’ve started to train Claire (a few months back) how to unhook Luca’s car seat if such an event should rise. She can get him half way so far. It was easier for her when she was actually in the car seat. I can imagine dexterity for a little one isn’t the best from an angle.

  5. Ever since becoming a mother when I hear stories like this, I immediately put myself in that position and get upset. A few weeks ago, a lady had her car stolen with her infant inside. I got upset just listening to the story. Fortunately the thief realized the baby was inside and dropped it off on a street corner where it was rescued. But it just makes me absolutely sick when I hear stories like this.

    • Oh I hear you. We stopped watching the local news aside from weather and sports after we heard a story about a guy putting his 3 MONTH OLD in the microwave and running it for 20 SECONDS.

      The other time we watched, a guy and his girlfriend DUCT TAPED their son to a wall and then DUCT TAPED HIS SIPPY CUP juuuuust out of reach.

      People disgust me.

  6. I think Mundane is onto something there…

  7. God, that is so sad and so scary to think about. I’ve lived in all kinds of places that flooded for different reasons – West Texas, Austin, Houston (http://www.floodsafety.com/texas/regional_info/regional_info/austin_zone.htm) & now in Parkersburg, WV (http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/500106/Wall-protects-city-from-flood.html). We are lucky that we live close to the highest point in town, but there are people Tom works with that can’t leave their houses sometimes when it floods. Crazy stuff.

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