Well, usually the drain keeps water out of the garage. Not on
According to the weather station at Golden West College
(http://weather.gwc.cccd.edu/), rain fell at a rate of 4 1/2 inches
of rain per hour for a short time here in Huntington Beach. That was
too much for our little storm drain to handle. Water backed up into
Dealing with that mess seemed too much like work, so we headed out
to look at storm damage elsewhere.
Our first stop was the Shipley Nature Center. Our little puddle of
water in the garage was nothing compared to what was going on there.
The city-owned Slater Flood Control channel was filled to overflowing
with storm runoff from Central Park and surrounding neighborhoods.
Our parks act as storm water retention basins. Talbert Lake overflows
its normal boundaries during major storms, cascading into the old
Freeman Creek channel near the Jack Green Nature Area. Floodwaters go
under Goldenwest Street, and enter the Slater channel.
Vic had told me the south side of the Slater channel was
deliberately built low so that excess floodwater would flow into
Shipley Nature Center. But until Monday morning, we had never seen it
happen. Water gushed over the channel banks like someone had blown a
We estimated that tiny Blackbird Pond had expanded from less than
one acre to more than eight acres. Better to the Shipley side than to
the homes on the north side, but the floodwaters put most of the
trails at the nature center under water.
We hadn't had our fill of storm damage so we drove on, looking for
more flooding. The Shea property, known as the bean field at Graham
between Slater and Warner, was filled with water.
I asked Vic why it wasn't designated as a wetland since it
obviously was one. He replied that it had been converted to
agricultural land prior to passage of the Clean Water Act. That's how
a wetland becomes a non-wetland. Legal semantics.
Since it was "prior converted cropland," it missed out on being
classified as a wetland. But biologically and hydrologically, that
bean field was and still is a wetland. It lies below the water level