Monday, 25 May 2015

Very Rough Sledding To-day in "Extreme Central Texas"

     This was a rough day for folks pretty much throughout the centre of the Republic of Texas.   We are talking about from below the already flooded areas south of San Antonio, through two/thirds of the central core of the Country and beyond well into Oklahoma.
     In Austin and Round Rock we had children in the middle of a four way tornado attack....not watches, but warnings so close together that they were overlapping.   The water was rising again and small creeks appeared as rampaging medium-size rivers.  Driving from here to there was no certain thing because even high bridges were closed, and some were washed away.
     At this writing people are gone, mission, or preparing to attend funerals.   Cd. Villa Acun~a, across from Del Rio, Texas on the Rio Grande had a tornado that managed to kill 10 people, while the death toll in Central Texas has passed a dozen....with many people unaccounted for in Hays County from Kyle, to Wimberly, and San Marcos where El Gringo Viejo, his daughter, his son, and his son-in-law attended and graduated from the University.   Hays County is contiguous and to the south of Travis County, wherein Austin is located.   On the north side is Williamson County and that this DELL Computer Country....Round Rock and Georgetown being the urbs of interest to outsiders.

     Our contributors who live in the middle of Extreme Central Texas went to visit friends this very morning, thinking that things would certainly start to stabilise by that point.  They did stabilise, but to the way they had been for the past two weeks....and in some cases the past two months.  To wit:

   Today was a day of weather drama.

  We met up with our son and his family in Spicewood (1/2 way to Austin on 71 North) for lunch today.  We had some light rain this morning, but nothing to cause concern.  While at the restaurant, cell phone weather alerts started going off everywhere.  That drew our attention to the t.v.'s that were displaying weather alert information.  To our surprise, they were reporting a tornado event from our place back to the west a few miles all the way to Round Mountain.  You know my man--there was no waiting it out at the restaurant--it was charge!  We headed back to the ranch--skirted tornado areas, drove through hail storms, and were stopped and turned back by the Sheriff's Department on the Ranch to Market Road that leads to our place due to flooded low water crossings.
   We then headed to Johnson City so that we could approach the ranch through Stonewall.  The bridge over the Pedernales at  Stonewall is quite a bit higher than the low water crossing on the RR .  When we got to the barn entrance, we started seeing tornado damage to the trees.  You may recall that the Grape Creek crossing is about 100 yards from our barn gate.  Fortunately, we did not encounter any water coming over that crossing.  The next crossing, Spring Creek, had about 1 1/2' of water over the road.  It was a sheet of water about 30' wide and running swiftly.  Our truck is pretty high, so we proceeded across.  At this point we began to see some pretty significant tree damage.  Fortunately, no homes were damaged, including ours, and our ranch appears to have minimal tree damage, but we won't know for sure until we can get out and make a more thorough survey. 
Our neighbours at the bottom of Grape Creek Road had a tree fall across their road, so my weather warrior got his backhoe and headed back to their ranch.  After removing the tree, he decided to take the backhoe down to our barn entrance to clear the trees.  It had been less than an hour since we had crossed Grape Creek with no water on the road, and now he found it impassable--the creek was like a raging river.
We love having all of the rain, but it has brought with it heartbreak and tragedy for some.

     That gives a reasonable idea about what about 60 per cent of the population of Texas was putting up with to-day. 
  Our son-in-law forwarded a couple of shots showing the normally placid creek almost adjacent to their home....almost at flood stage.   This scene was repeated throughout the Central to-day as well as several other days during the months of April and May.

    The picture to the left was made by our daughter.  It shows the "puppy-dog's feet" clouds that always mean severe weather is in the offing either there or very nearby.   This time was no different.   The "infrastructure" of almost all this area is A- to A+ so there have been relatively few calamities and casualties considering the severity and endurance of these episodes.   All losses are, certainly, profoundly lamented.   In Hayes County, for instance, there were 300 houses that within a few short hours, simply did not exist anymore;  their pieces are probably 50 miles downstream in some nowhere somewhere.

We shall have more commentary to-morrow.
El Gringo Viejo