8.28.2009

The rain drops

Last night the sky opened and a thunderstorm poured for at least an hour on the city. Local reports are between 2-4".

I got soaked running the three blocks from a restaurant to my campus building, where I waited for the rain to stop.

There's a stream, Boneyard Creek, that runs through the city and across the campus and Engineering quad. It's usually a trickle in a landscaped ditch. Last night after I left, I crossed it on the sidewalk and I noticed that the water was all the way up to the top of the ditch. Here's what it looked like this morning:

It's still a foot or two higher than it usually is. Last night it was up to the 3rd from the top row of stones, about a foot lower than the level of the sidewalk.

For a lot of its route, the creek is penned in or underground. A guy went through it with pictures.

There happens to be a gage station on that bridge in the photo. I looked it up today. Here's the water height:

It increased by 9-10 feet for a short time. Another graph shows the flow rate, it was about 2.5 cubic feet per second for the prior few days and peaked at about 900 last night.

Riding home, some streets were flooded. A few cars were dead in the middle of the street. Elsewhere people had come out of their houses to evaluate their cars parked on a flooded street. On one street there was flotsam marking the crest in a lawn at least a foot higher than when I passed through.

A fun fact I learned last week is that Champaign sits on the divide between the Mississippi and the Ohio, so this creek and Urbana drain to the Ohio whereas the western side of Campaign flows into the Decatur and Mississippi.