Sunday, April 17, 2011

moss grows fat on a rollin' stone

i suspect as you read this it is sunday. if its not that means you are not obsessively checking my blog every day and that bothers me. you are OFF the list! what list? i dont know! but your'e off!! ha. jk. OBVIously.

so, back to it being sunday. my parents are selling their house. did i mention that? they bought a new house and are looking to sell the house i grew up in (from 4th grade on). i'm not really sad about it since they kicked me out of my bedroom after freshman year of college (how rude!) and i'm back in the small bedroom that i lived in when we first moved into the house. its purple now and i like that. oh! you can see it here. it looks really really different to me. i dont know why. these pictures really freak me out. anyway, i'm fine with moving in to a new house although i wonder if it will take us longer to get to the airport than it does now... i will NOT like that when i am on the 5:15 am flight to MSP.... maybe you should rethink this move, mom and dad... :)

anyway, they were supposed to have an open house today but since the weather is crappy and there is still a flood, they have pushed it back 2 weeks (apparently they dont have open houses on easter sunday - i feel like that is not an impediment here in bos. def not in brookline anyway). i thought i'd post some videos/links/articles that i've been saving about the flood... so here is some info for all you who are so consumed with flood questions and don't know where to look... enjoy!

first things first, here is an update on the flood fight in fargo. this guy has been doing some cool videos and here is a summary of the week. fargo is safe (so far) and that is good news, but neighboring towns are being evacuated. its scary.

this is an article that a guy i used to work with sent me that was in the nyt. i'm not sure how long it will be avail online, so i am pasting it here (and not making any money off of it! but if you want me to take it down, just let me know).
April 8, 2011

Shovel, Strain, Stack No More in High Water

The lowly sandbag has improbably — and seemingly eternally — remained the back-breaking brick of choice for anyone in a hurry to erect makeshift barriers during flood season.

But now there is growing competition.

As Fargo, N.D., confronts its third major flood in three years, local governments, businesses and residents are shifting to a number of modern alternatives to hold back the waters of the Red River.

“I’ve seen enough sandbags for a lifetime,” said Alan Kallmeyer, who enlisted dozens of friends and co-workers the last two years for a full day of this grueling masonry, filling and stacking thousands of sandbags around his riverside house.

This year, Mr. Kallmeyer bought a device, already used by several of his neighbors, that rings his house with a four-foot-tall tube of water. The device, known as an AquaDam, cost nearly $8,000. But it took just a few strain-free hours to set up and will be just as easy to take down.

The flood is already the fourth largest on record. The river is expected to crest this weekend at close to 40 feet and remain high for more than three weeks, according to the National Weather Service. But city leaders said that recent experience, mitigation efforts and ample warning have left the city well prepared.

Indeed, Fargo seems braced to repel an invading army. Once again there are plenty of the usual sandbag piles and earthen levies. But this year, for the first time, less of the city will be protected by sandbags than by alternative barriers, like the braced L-shaped walls of the AquaFence, industrial-size sacks of sand known as TrapBags and the earth-filled wire cages of the Hesco bastions.

“This is pretty new to have this many products,” said Tim Bertschi, a flood engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Mr. Bertschi added that the federal government would be watching closely to see how well these systems worked in coming days.

“It’s a real-life test. This isn’t laboratory stuff,” he said. “But it wouldn’t be out there if they didn’t think it worked.”

The city used about 3 million sandbags in 2009, the year of its worst recorded flood. Last year, the fifth worst, the city filled and stacked 1.5 million. But now, even though an army of volunteers began working earlier than usual at Fargo’s “Sandbag Central” and filled nearly 3 million, the city has used only about 500,000 sandbags.

The city decided that reducing the need for volunteers was worth the extra expense of new systems that could be set up quickly by smaller crews of trained workers.

“People are getting tired, really tired, about the use of sandbags,” said Dennis Walaker, the mayor of Fargo.

In all, there are 3.4 miles of sandbags, down from 5.5 miles last year. The alternatives will stretch more than 4 miles, up from one-tenth of a mile last year.

“We’re doing our best to try to get to the point where we can eliminate sandbags,” said April Walker, an engineer who is in charge of flood control for the city. “We’re not at that point yet.”

Everett Waid, the Florida-based inventor of TrapBags, said he sold over $1 million worth of them to the city of Fargo and Cass County right after showing his product at the Fargo Flood Expo.

Helge Kroegenes, chairman of AquaFence, in Norway, said that Fargo placed such a big order that he could only fill a quarter of it.

And David Doolaege, the California-based inventor of AquaDam, said he spent several weeks traveling around the Fargo area delivering his devices to more than 50 private homes.

All three men, not surprisingly, were dismissive of the humble tool they were trying to replace, and described sandbags as messy, cumbersome, prone to leaks and requiring an unsustainable amount of brute labor.

“The cavemen did that,” Mr. Doolaege said. “They put some dirt in a deerskin and blocked off their cave. That was the first sandbag. And it’s still the same premise — fill a container and stack them up.”

But Ken Hellevang, an engineering professor at North Dakota State University who wrote a training manual on the use of sandbags, said they are often the best option. They require little training to use; can be put in small, uneven or hard to reach places; and can be quickly stacked higher as river levels rise.

The owner of Sandbags Warehouse in Fargo, E. John Carlson, said he has turned down offers to sell the newer alternatives because he believes they are untested. This year he sold nearly two million old-fashioned sandbags.

“It’s a simple, proven technology that works,” he said.
i thought i had more articles on the flood, but now i can't find them....

1 comment:

  1. Enough of flooding. We need a diversion. Yesterday please.