What this shows us is that the building pad constructed by the previous owner - that meadow in the middle - is going to be above water in even a 20-year storm ... but only just.
The fallen tree is across what will be our driveway. The water on its other side is actually a good way downhill, in a divot created by the earlier work; it will need to be filled in, and probably built up a bit. We plan to build on a raised foundation, but still. Moving the house back a little bit and tucking it against the hill is clearly indicated.
This zoomed shot shows that what I call the deer's nest - the thicket between the building pad and the creek - is completely inundated. When the previous owner did his work, he piled up a lot of rocks in a couple places near the creek. We will be wanting to redistribute those so that they create a more defined channel. I just hope none of them have migrated to the neighbor's land. :-)
Realistically speaking, we are still looking at a good 10+ years before we can build on this lot. If the 20-year storm cycle repeats, we'll be living there the next time the water is this high. It was a mighty fine idea of Mr. P's to head up and take a first-hand look.