Monday, February 21, 2005

Hollywood Floods

When I drive to my mother's house for dinner at 5:30 Monday during the storm, the streets are wet but there is barely a drizzle, so when I start east at 7:00 pm down Melrose Avenue through Hollywood I think there would no problems. Driving through Melrose and Highland there is a an inch or two of water over the intersection but I keep on going. I'm an old hand now after a month of storms of driving through slightly flooded intersections.

Then as I approach Vine Street the cars are really backed up and I could see the westbound lanes are flooded. There are two lanes going east where I am in the left lane with the right lane flooded. I think for a second maybe I should turn around but I didn't. Instead I slowly inch forward until I got to the intersection. Yes, on Vine going north there is a couple inches of rain flooding the street with a car stranded in the middle. Big water ahead! I see there is a couple inches of rain all over the intersection--I'm driving a sedan, not a truck or a SUV. I inch forward through the water saying a prayer. Now I'm driving on water, praying my brakes hold up. I keep inching forward until finally I'm out of the intersection. Oh my god, I made it.

On the other side of Vine Streets Melrose Avenue is again clear of water as I pass by Paramount Studios on my north. Then approaching Bronson Avenue I see that the cars are slowing down ahead. I know at Melrose and Wilton Avenue there was in previous storms at least an inch or two of rain. Two weeks ago the traffic light at that intersection had gone out in a power outage that effected the whole area, so I decide to turn right to avoid the Melrose/Wilton intersection, taking backstreets. One street is blocked off--I guess it had flooded so the neighbors wisely blocked it off. I take backstreets the few blocks until home but there are strangely a lot more cars--obviously taking detours as I am.

As I turn into the parking garage undearneth my apartmenthouse, my neighbors are with buckets bailing out the inches of water on the garage floor near the entrance. I park my car at the opposite end of the parking garage, put my purse in the apartment. Twice in the previous month's storms the power had gone out--once for three hours. In late December I had a friend over for dinner during the storm when lightening and thunder happened together right over my apartment house--the lights went out including the computer. God, I thought my building had been hit. I lit candles and we continued eating--what else is there to do? Back to the quail! Later I checked my computer which luckily was protected by a surge protector so the computer was O.K.

Now, thank God, the lights are on in my apartment. Then I return to help by carrying buckets full of water to dump in the street. They fill up buckets while I haul them out of the garage. One neighbor said that Beverly and Western is flooded. I learn later that it had about 2 feet of water, the power is out in the neighborhood, and also homes are flooded. With six of us working at filling up water buckets and dumping them in the street we clear out the water in the gargage in about 15 more minutes.

On the news on channel 9 I see the Hollywood Freeway at Santa Monica is totally covered with water. Cars had gotten stranded (thank god it wasn't me), firemen had to rescue the people, and towtrucks had to tow out their cars. In an hour a storm cell had dropped 1 1/2 inches of rain over Hollywood and then moved north and dissipated. That's what is so weird. The storm can be drizzles all day like today and then pow! a storm cell in an hour can flood the streets! Because all four lanes of the Hollywood Freeway were closed, cars were backed up on the soutside for miles and on the north for miles while police were taking cars slowly off the freeways. Cars must be crisscrossing Hollywood trying to avoid flooded intersections and the freeway.

The funny thing is now it isn't even raining. Well, I hope that stops the flooding of Hollywood.

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