The calm after the storm

I don’t remember the big Duluth flood of 1972. Odd, I lived here, and I can’t claim I was too young to remember. We weren’t here for the recent rainfall in Duluth or yesterday’s flooding, but we followed it closely on the web as water tore through the city wreaking havoc and leaving devastation in its path.

We drove up to Duluth in the evening. By that time, the day had cleared, the sun was setting and the air was calm. We had only one detour off I35, south of Cloquet, and there was an eerie beauty to the standing water on the roadside. Before reaching the top of Thompson Hill, we could see a double rainbow in the sky, terminating down in the troubled city of Duluth in the distance. It seemed to be an omen. The remainder of the route was clear, including the tunnels, yet we were almost the only car on the road. Emerging from the final underground portion, we could see a flock of ships in the now calm waters of the lake. For all the day’s turbulence, it was a strange feeling to see it all in the quiet afterglow of the day. We were traversing streets that had suffered only water and mud, not collapse, so the day’s pictures felt surreal in comparison.

Reaching our home, we were pleased but not surprised to find it high and dry. Blessed with the lack of a basement, our landscaper‘s effective water management planning, and being perched on a hill kept it out of harm’s way. But we now understood the reality of the creek’s high water mark and set-back regulations for building which had seemed so absurd at the time.

We immediately headed across the street to see Amity Creek. Having seen earlier pictures of the gazebo at “The Deeps” surrounded by swirling, angry water, we were eager to see it for ourselves. The water had receded significantly, and the creek was back within its rocky borders, mostly. It was still thunderous and raging, and far higher than we’ve seen it before, but had returned to some resemblance of a creek. But all around us were remnants of its earlier rampage. There was mud everywhere, and huge trees and limbs were thrust against anything left standing, showing us the outline of where the thrashing water had overrun the area. The power of rushing water.

Here are some during and after pictures of the footbridge and gazebo from three different perspectives.  The flood pictures were taken by others.  The after pictures I took the next day.

This flood I will remember.  Even though I wasn’t here.

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