This weekend was crazy! So much goes on in a typical holiday weekend that you end up exhausted instead of rested, but this Easter weekend was especially crazy.
Normally, Easter weekend is very, very cold in Indy. This year, Easter came late and winter left on time, so we were nice and warm all weekend. That’s all well and good, but with the warmth came the spring storms.
We went down on Friday evening for the Good Friday service at our church. It was [supposed to be] quiet, solemn, relfective… and it certainly started that way. Our pastor did some neat things with the scripture readings (added Hebrew, singing, etc) and kept the tone rather somber. When he got up to give the short sermon, however, the skies opened. Literally. Hail larger than golf balls pounded the Near East side for 15 or so minutes – the roar of the hail pelting the roof of the church drowned out our miked pastor’s entire sermon.
After the service, we ran outside to see how much damage had been done to cars and windows – normally, you can’t hear anything at all from inside the sanctuary! All the cars, every last one, had some pretty serious hail damage – lots and lots of dents, but thankfully no broken windows. Dave and I were pretty glad it wasn’t our weekend to drive – it was the Gardners’, and their car was safe on the South side.
We went out to dinner with friends, and decided to leave the restaurant when we saw the forcast and the lightning started getting bad. We got home (Dave and Claudia’s this weekend – we stayed in Indy so we didn’t have to drive back and forth) at 9:30 or so. After changing (it was raining so hard that we were soaked through from carrying our things the 15 yards from the car to the house), we sat down to watch the forcast. You know how the weather station’s rain meter goes from green to purple? Indianapolis was surrounded by a massive, bright pink/purple blob that surrounded a big BLACK blob. Seriously bad weather. Tornado warnings all over, almost constant lightning, heavy rain, etc… As we were remarking that we’d never seen anything like that, Dave Ebersole got up and went to the basement door. He thought he heard something and wanted to check on his sump pump. He started cussing.
We all ran to see what was going on – a section of his basement wall had collapsed and water was gushing (I’m talking about a river, here) into the basement. The sump pump couldn’t keep up because it was pumping the water back into the backyard…
We madly rushed to get his tools and unfinished pocket doors off the floor and up pretty high as he ran outside to see the damage. The water rose faster than I’ve ever seen. We called all our near-Eastside friends and they came over with pumps, towels and buckets.
For a while, they tried to ShopVac the water out of the basement, but the water was rising so fast it didn’t make a bit of difference. We tossed the pump aside and ended up doing a bucket brigade. Old fashioned, but much more effective! We managed to stop the rise of the water while Jesse and Dave E. dug a huge hole in the backyard to try to stop up the water coming into the basement.
It sounds a lot less dramatic than it actually was – everyone was scared of being electrocuted because we had extension cords running to extra sump pumps and the water rose close to the house electric box. It took 5 minutes for the basement to fill to waist level with water, and took 9 people three hours of intense work to get the pumps working and the water to stop rising.
Oh yeah… it kept raining, too. The Ebersoles’ house is apparently the low spot in that area. The street behind and in front of it are about 3 feet higher, and their backyard is the lowest spot on their lot. The water in the backyard looked every bit as much like a river as the water pouring into the basement. Their house became the site of a flash flood.
All in all, remarkably little damage was done. Because so many people responded when they did (and not a minute later – minutes really were all that separated certain disaster from a saveable situation!), the damage was limited to an air conditioner fan, the furnace, the basement wall, and the sump pump, and a lot of tired bodies. =)