I don’t know what your experience has been with flash floods, but this one in the Catskills certainly surprised the guests at a wedding reception near here over the weekend. Broken beaver dam strands wedding party Everything turned out okay in the end, but in the meantime a 4-acre beaver dam, that broke due to flooding after excessive rain, definitely gave responders from all over the county a chance to demo professional preparedness for dealing with waterborne emergencies. There’s a lot of kinda edgy wisecracks about water here in Delaware County. When I first returned to this area after spending most of my time downstate for decades, one of my brothers only half-joshingly reminded me that when it rains, anything that ever held water up here wants to drown you in your own driveway. The reason the jokes like that are edgy is that they’re true. We have so many stony beds of creeks, streams, brooks, rivers and of course the grassy flats around the infernal beaver dams, that when it rains, you’d think there’d be plenty of places for the water to go. But flash flooding is a sneaky and powerful threat, as probably many of you in either high terrain areas or places where drainage is poor may also have experienced. What’s a broad almost road-like expanse of rounded pebbles and rocks one minute can become a roaring 3-foot express train from hell in the next. And the water doesn’t mind eating bridges, or a parallel road 20 feet away if it gets the chance. Or the half mile wide meadow over there by the interstate. Or, as was notorious in New York’s southern tier floods ten years ago, the interstate itself: a 30-foot culvert suddenly washed out and swallowed a couple of big rigs on I-88, causing two fatalities. One hopes the drivers never knew what hit them as their rigs hit the 150-foot gap in the roadway. Record Rainfall Destroys Section of New York’s I-88 (July 2006) We do have great EMS crews and swift water rescue ops here in the Catskills and along the southern tier, but once in awhile we still get someone who loses the bet that they can beat the water home to that driveway. They never get there because the actual threat materializes en route. In an instant it makes for some family a tragedy that lasts forever, out of what was just somebody’s trip for groceries. It was a relief to know that this weekend’s flood didn’t make someone’s wedding day into the future anniversary of such a tragedy. Just putting this up here in hopes if you're sometimes in a hurry to get home in a downpour, you don't ever end up being why the swift water rescue teams have to suit up and look for where you got washed off the planet. Get home later, and safely!