For Memorial Weekend, Patricious and I joined some family friends for a weekend in Austin. The trip up on US Route 290 from Houston revealed many flooded side roads and fields. Just past Hempstead near the Brazos, there was a minor hold up near the river where local police were directing farmers across freeway to round up some livestock. It not often that you see a cop holding up his hand to halt traffic on a 70 mph highway road to allow someone on horseback to cross.
After spending Sunday in San Marcos, we took the cross country route thought Bastrop which eventually brought us back to I10 at Columbus. The I10 traffic was moving so I was feeling very pleased with my decision to leave on Sunday to avoid the Memorial day traffic snarl on I10. From experience, it is a terrible route to travel on holiday times, as it is only a 2 way freeway that cannot any handle the volume of traffic.
Then we hit traffic stop just before Sealy. As we are now stationary, I look on Google maps and see stationary traffic all the way to the Brazos river. There was no indication of a wreck on the map and having seeing the degree of flooding further up North, and having just passed the flooded Colorado at Columbus about 20 minutes before (normally it is a passive river around there), I guessed it is related to the Brazos flooding.
Forty five minutes and 15 miles later, I confirmed that was the case but it was nevertheless stunning to see the degree of flooding at the Brazos having passed that same spot many times over the years. For those who know it, it extended past the DPS commercial vehicle enforcement station.
As we sped up, we notice some locals driving up the service road even though it was closed. While they may have made it out of this stretch, further up it was deeper.
The weather in Texas has been wet. Very wet. Yesterday we had a tornado warning at 6 am that thankfully, was just a storm.
However, that same large weather front caused a flash flood of the Blanco River at Wimberly and San Marcos. Many are homeless and a family from Corpus Christi are missing after their vacation rental house was swept off it’s base. The San Marcos river came so high, it flooded over I35 which is elevated above the river. In Wimberly, the flood was reported as being as high as 41.5 feet, 30 feet above flood level.
For those not familiar with either places, these are in the Texas Hill Country, one of my favorite parts of the Texas. Wimberly itself is small town, well known for it’s bed and breakfasts and touristy shops. It also has some outdoor swimming places, Jacob’s well and Blue Hole.
San Marcos is just off I35 about 40 minutes from Austin and has a campus for UT San Marcos. It also has a tubing on the San Marcos River.
While the Hill Country is very picturesque, it’s rocky landscape makes it susceptible to flash floods. Whenever you drive in the Hill Country, you see many warning on smaller roads about not crossing rivers in floods.
In North Texas, they’ve also had some of the wettest periods where the River River has topped the Lake Texoma Spillway: The 4th time in 58 years. A year ago, the same lake was in a drought.
So what is the weather projection for this summer: Due to the El Nino in the Central Pacific, we can expect more of the same. California can expect to continue it’s drought.