Monday, June 13, 2011

And the rains came

Just around the corner from our house

With the rainy season in Mérida getting into full swing, it's interesting to note that we are going from one city prone to flooding to another.  Norfolk, Virginia sits at sea level and in some cases, below sea level. We are surrounded by water....the Chesapeake Bay, Elizabeth River, James River, Lafayette River, and various creeks and inlets that meander throughout the city. High tides during Nor'Easters, the savage winds that can blow for days, or heavy tropic-like downpours can cause severe flooding, damaging both homes and cars. And if we ever experience a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, we'll be looking at another Katrina.

A few Mérida bloggers have mentioned the proposed underpass to be built on Paseo de Montejo. The accompanying photo shows flooding beneath this overpass in Norfolk which deceptively appears to be only a few inches of water. The roof of a submerged vehicle can just be seen near the center of the photo. This happens over and over again in Norfolk. Some people are in such a hurry to get to wherever they are headed that they forget the consequences. Let's hope that if the underpass/tunnel is built, a REALLY large drainage cistern is blasted into the limestone.

The passover runs above 'Tidewater Drive'
Images from the Virginian Pilot


  1. That's an amazing photo. I have similar concerns about the proposed underpass. My midwestern home was on land similar to what Mérida has--karst that floods easily. The slightest dip in a road there can flood enough to carry away a car. I have trouble imagining what kind of drainage Mérida's engineers could install that would clear the Paseo underpass.

  2. A friend who was living here during hurricane Isodoro (2002) told me that the parking garage under the Fiesta Americana filled with water and that they were pumping it for weeks after the event. I agree with Yucatango. Given the amount of flooding we get in Mérida every rainy season, it makes me wonder how they will keep the underpass protected from large storms and hurricanes.

    I can't escape the feeling that the administration wants the underpass not so much because it's the best way to deal with a traffic congestion problem (and despite the fact that many architects and planners have said it's not the best solution), but because it's symbolic of "modernity."

  3. Yucatango and Marc, thank you for the comments. Unfortunately, it sounds like it is a done deal.