Be Creekwise

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a TV crew outside on the street. We don’t get a lot of media attention down here in the ravine, so I was naturally curious to see what they were up to. After gathering their equipment, they headed down the street and out of sight. That evening I saw them again on the newscast, and the story was about the flooding of a daycare center a few doors down from us. There were photos of childrens’ toys floating down the creek and the owner’s car under two feet of water. When asked what she had learned from the incident, she said “next time they say it’s going to flood, move your car.” Yeah. Good idea.

Our family has lived on Wolf Creek for over half a century, so when one of these events occurs, we do take it seriously. We’ve learned most of the lessons, the hard way. Same goes for my neighbors on the right. They’ve been here half as long, but also found out that the creek is a harsh mistress when aroused. The neighbor on the left is a newbie. I warned him when he moved in, but he is out of town and left his vehicles in the path of the Wolf. Oops.

At any rate, there are things you should do if you’ve noticed that you live next to running water. Here are a few tips…

First, now that you’ve seen that you are not immune to the whims of Mother Nature, go out and take a look at the ring around your house, car, etc. That’s the high water mark of the recent unpleasantness. Now realize that next time, it might even be higher. If you lived hereabouts in 1997, you’ll recall there was a flood even worse that last week’s. I was in Nevada City then, and the entire plaza was underwater, including the bar in the old Plaza Grocery building just below.

Now that you have an idea how bad things can get, do what you can to mitigate the damage. Put anything that is perishable or has a motor at least two feet higher than the water mark. Secure all containers, even if they are waterproof. During the last flood in ’04, everyone’s garbage cans floated down three addresses, with the garbage intact.

Don’t put your yard debris near the water. The leaves and limbs will move down to your neighbors yard, or create a dam that will make things worse. Sure, you won’t have to rake up your leaves, but you’ll still have to shovel your upstream neighbor’s soggy biomass out of the garage.

The most important thing is to get your vehicle to higher ground, unless your car runs on silt. Collect all containers of whatever toxic chemicals and petroleum products you happen to have lying around. We have enough trouble trying to keep the creek clean.

Living on a floodplain will always be a gamble, but if you prepare for it and heed the warnings of your local government and weather forecasters, you can save yourself and the environment a lot of trouble.

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18 Responses to Be Creekwise

  1. Todd Juvinall says:

    Glad you and yours are OK. I have seen the creek flood all my life. I would suggest you do some panning out back after things calm down.

    Also, the neighbor’s car was “under” two feet of water? Must be a short car.

    • rl crabb says:

      You should become an editor.

      • Todd Juvinall says:


      • I don’t think so. Editors need to have common sense. Besides, it should be “small” car, not “short” car.

        • Todd Juvinall says:

          One thing I have a lot of is common sense. I would be a good editor. LOL!

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Todd, you couldn’t edit your way out of a wet paper sack. Oh, and what you know about Burning Man would fit inside the aperture diaphragm of an electron microscope. With plenty of room to spare.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            MA, I agree I could not remove you from the diaper sack. Good call. I know others who go to Burning Man and they are nutty to the nth. You have zero credibility in these discussions based on what I see those other goomba’s talking about. Naked folks, and other carnal endeavors right there for all to see. So if you are part of that, you are now tarred by your own actions as a nut.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            To each his own, Todd. If you ever change your mind just let me know. I would LOVE to be your personal tour guide at Burning Man. What a hoot!

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            Naw, there is enough crummy stuff to see on MSNBC,

          • Ryan Mount says:


            You have never offered to take me. Perhaps I need to hurl more insults your way before I get an invitation? I’ll bring the booze and a Costco-sized box of Cheez-its.

            If we do go, can we take Todd’s car instead of mine?

          • Bjorn V says:

            Michael, it’s really not fair to pick on those with limited imaginations and unlimited egos because the only stimulation they get in their miserable lives is in trying to provoke others. They thrive on attention of any kind…just like a spoiled three-year-old. No matter how hard you try or how logical you try to be with your arguments, they will NEVER get it. They are sad, pathetic people. Be nice to them, or better yet, pay no attention whatsoever to them. That’ll drive them crazy…or more crazy as the case may be.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            Ryan, obviously you have not seen my car!

          • Michael Anderson says:

            No, it is not about the insults. LOL! What a hoot!!
            Please, join me at 88NV in 2013. I will give you the Deluxe Tour, gratis. And I’m still hoping Todd can clear his schedule, he would be a fantastic art project for next year.
            Michael A.

  2. Russ Steele says:

    Saw the clip on the TV News and wondered how close your house was to the flooded facility. Glad that you all survived Wolf Creek.

  3. Good grief, a sinkhole on 49 may cutoff Grass Valley and Nevada City from much of the known world. Some people may actually have to go over the river and through the woods to get to grandmother’s house this Christmas.

    Some folks down here in south county think this is a plot by the old-timers to keep flat-landers out of the area, but I think it’s a ploy by Grass Valley’s merchants to stop Christmas shopping dollars from going down the hill.

    As you would expect, they bungled the job. It’s the southbound lane, you dummies! This is what can happen when the Chamber of Commerce lacks leadership.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      Just went through and it was easy. They just shifted the lane over so it is still two lanes. So the plot by the Chamber has failed.

      • Ah, but you’re assuming there won’t be any more erosion. Stay tuned for further developments.

        • Ryan Mount says:

          Yeah, this is concerning. If this sink goes south, pardon the pun, then I suppose Old Auburn and Dog Bar are gonna get a work out for a few weeks.

          As if we needed anymore traffic screw-ups in that area with the fully-stimulated walled highway to nowhere at La Barr Meadows. Oh well. Glad no one was hurt.

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