by Marlene Berlin
Lightning, thunder, pouring rain. It’s not your typical February weather. According to the Capital Weather Gang, Wednesday evening’s storm was a rare winter squall that dropped an inch of water per hour and brought wind gusts of 60-70 miles per hour.
That evening, as I sat chatting with neighbor Mary Beth Ray in her living room, the lights flickered and then went out. Walking home just half a block to 30th, I past a downed limb which had taken a wire with it. Sure enough that was the cause of the power outage for her block.
The alley between 29th and 30th had become a stream. I felt lucky to be wearing my waterproof hiking shoes.
I was not as smart the next day, when I went out for my walk. I wanted to see how the Soapstone Trail and Melvin Hazen Park fared in the storm. I did wonder if the water would be too high make it through the stream crossings. Soapstone, at least the portion from the end of Audubon to Broad Branch, was a bit muddier than usual but fine. I saw clear signs that a lot of water had been through the area and had reshaped it. This always happens during a large rain event.
I found the Broad Branch culvert blocked by many tree trunks and large limbs.
It looked like the creek had flooded the roadway here. I wondered whether the flood warning lights at the culvert had been working to warn drivers to stay off the roadway. It is still unclear how effective they are.
Then I walked past Pierce Mill and the path that goes under the bridge. It looked as if the water had risen over its banks, as there was a lot of mud and debris on the path. Walking through Melvin Hazen Park to get to Connecticut Avenue, the stepping stones to cross the stream were submerged. I found an alternative path on the south side of the stream, and made it to Connecticut Avenue. I crossed Connecticut and went through the Sedgwick Gardens parking lot to take the stairs that lead to the Melvin Hazen trail to Reno Road.
I had never seen this area under so much water. Part of the raised wooden pathway was submerged.
I had to find a new route, so I made my way to Sedgwick Street. This connects to Tilden. There, I saw signs of orange clay had been washed down from the construction site of Moroccan Embassy.
It appears Forrester, the construction company, needs find a better way to deal with water runoff from its site. They should talk to Clark Construction, which faced its own challenges building Park Van Ness on a steep grade adjacent to Soapstone Valley.