It was only the beginning.
Friday after work, my friend Lindsay, her fiance Ryan, and I all piled into her Jeep to head to the city for the Chicken & Rib festival going on in Ottawa, with vendors set up all along Sparks Street. We had never been before, so we ignored the rain and ventured off, having no idea that we were setting out on quite an adventure.
Unbeknownst to us, less than an hour after leaving, part of the highway we had passed over was soon washed away, stranding us in the city.
My phone was dead to the world, so I wasn't getting the urgent texts from my family telling us to come home by the Ontario way via the Ferry and forget about going to the movies.
The rain had let up, and though we were seeing lots of flooding on the roads surrounding the movie theatre, we never realized how bad it was going to get.
By the time our movie was over, shortly after 10 PM, the parking lot of the movie theatre was a lake. Literally. When we opened the doors of the Jeep, the water was almost coming in. The feeling of being trapped was slowly causing me to panic, as everywhere we tried to get out of the movie theatre and shopping centre area, the roads were blocked due to flooding and wash-outs.
We finally took a back way out, heading towards the highway, when I finally used Lindsay's phone to call my mom and find out if the roads were as bad up home as they were forty-five minutes away in the city.
It was just as bad - if not worse. That was when we finally found out that part of the highway near home had completely washed away, leaving a massive gaping hole in the road. An alternate way was also closed, so she suggested either trying to get around by Ontario and taking the Ferry, or going to my sister's nearby for the night.
It was dark. It was pouring rain. We were hitting sections of road that were completely covered by deep water, and crawling through them gave us all an eerie feeling, as you really had no idea if there was still road beneath the water.
We had no clue what the roads would be like if we continued on to the Ontario side. And to be quite honest, I was on the verge of tears, and couldn't even imagine continuing on for any longer.
So we bunked at my sister's for the night.
We ventured back out early the next morning, as we were hearing reports that a back-road detour near the wash-out would get us around and back home quickly. But the rains had taken a toll on that route as well, and crews were working to restore the bridge on that road by the time we got there. After being told it would only take a little while to fix, we waited at least an hour before the foreman finally told us it was going to take much longer to repair and we had to find another way home.
At that point, I was starting to feel a little hopeless. I just wanted to get home - as I know Ryan and Lindsay did too - and I was praying for patience. My nerves were frayed and I was so frustrated that we were so close to being home, yet had to turn around and spend another hour and a half on yet another detour.
By noon, we were finally home again. And I swear, I've never been so happy to see it. Floody basement and all.
There were moments, especially during our dark, rainy, precarious drive on Friday night, that my thoughts were drifting to arks and animals boarding two-by-two. I have never seen flooding like that first-hand. It was something I'd only seen on TV before; something I never thought could happen to us.
I survived the Great Flood of 2011.
And I hope I never have to experience something like that again.
Here are some pictures of the gap in the highway near our town, which is still closed and estimated to take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to fix. (Photo credits to http://www.ottawasun.com/)
Also, check out Lindsay's flood post here to see the pictures she took when we were at the movie theatre.