A little bit of rain never hurt anybody. Ya right, we all know that’s not true, especially in KK. And as I’m typing this, there is a mild flood in Kota Kinabalu, which is getting worse as we speak.
I sit in a windowless office, which is so deep in the heart of the house that all I can hear is blood coursing through the vena cava superior (so to speak), so when somebody in the office announced “if your car is parked on the right end of the parking lot… it’s sinking”, I was of course a little stunned.
“What?“, did I say loudly out the door, it was hot and sunny when I went for lunch. My office is an acoustic funnel and whatever is said inside my office is plainly audible by everybody outside. In turn, whatever people whisper anywhere in the outside office, is clearly audible in my little corner.
“The parking lot is flooding and some cars’ bonnets have already disappeared” the breeze whispered into my office. ‘Wow‘, I thought to myself, ‘that’s rare’.
“How about the staff entrance“, I whispered at nobody in particular. “Not flooded yet” came the answer from some clued-in source. I was calm. During lunch I drove down from the little mound I had parked on as near to the entrance as I could as my knee was bothering me. It’s busy, so it wasn’t that near the entrance.
“Ladies and gentlemen“, said my door, bouncing the sound in from somewhere in the office, “here is an announcement: the staff entrance is now also flooded“. I was less calm and quickly hobbled down to the staff entrance which I swear is a good 1km from my office.
When it rains you can smell it in the hallway to the staff entrance. About 20m from the entrance the air-conditioned air mixes with the outside air and you can tell what’s going on outside by the humidity change at that point. It wasn’t that humid, but the many wet footprints this far from the entrance indicated lots of water.
As I rounded the corned and peered down the entrance hall, the water was there. I went to the loading bays, and both where flooded. Not deep water, but alarming water seeing as how it had to flood rather hefty storm drains to be able to flood this area.
My car, parked some distance from the entrance on the higher end of a slight incline, was in no danger of being flooded.
Back in the main office I peered through the window and saw a Kelisa who’s bonnet was about to sink below the raising water.
After knock-off time I scurried along the wall to my car and drove off. Apart from the flooded parking lot, the damns on the golf course were flooded level and starting to submerge the rest of the golf course. Only the higher of the mounds where still visible.
At the roundabout a car had two wheels in the storm water-drain, which was visible at this point. So either they were going way too fast, or the entire roundabout was flooded when they passed there. Near the first set of traffic lights the traffic started and my usual 15 min drive home turned into a 45 minute crawl.
Part of the blame lies with the traffic cop who decided to direct traffic at a well-flooded roundabout, making no difference other than to cause a traffic pile-up. “Go home and the traffic will clear“, I mumbled to myself as I quickly followed in the wake of a big 4×4 clearing a path in front of me.
Off the highway my usual route takes me through a little dip. Not tonight; the little dip was flooded and my car wasn’t going to make it through there without floating across. Traffic was backed up because of an ambitious small car driver who realised this was a sink-and-swim crossing.
I took a long way around and cut through another neighborhood, sections of road flooded as I went, a collection of stalled cars dotting the road at intervals. The river than runs along a stretch of road near my house was level with the high concrete banks and it will flood soon. Houses on the banks of the concrete moat which usually have at least a 2m clearance between them and the water below, were suddenly inches away from a really wet evening.
Luckily my house is located on a little ridge and I’ve seen it through some seriously heavy rains. The drainage system around my house is not the greatest and water does back up, but it usually drains faster than what it rains.
The rain subsided for a little while, but now it’s pouring buckets again. I’m just waiting for the power to go out…
Update 10 Jun 08: This morning is like any other morning and there are few traces of last night’s masses of water. The concrete river near my house is back down to it’s near empty level, the little dip only has a bit of water in the gutter left (and men are at work clearing the storm water drain that caused it to flood). The golf course has players on it, but no water, and the car park is bone dry again.
… and the electricity never went out (not in my neck of the woods anyway). Way to go KK.