Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It's Wet

We got a little rain yesterday.

I grew up on the Gulf Coast, so hurricanes and tropical depressions are nothing new for me. Many times, these storms bring with them quite a bit of rain.

Again, that's nothing new.

What is new is that never in my life have I been anywhere where it rained for an entire day. I think it was 27 consecutive hours, actually, and it was just amazing.

I don't mean that it rained most of the time for 27 hours. No, I mean that it literally rained for 27 hours.

We got about 10 inches of rain--some areas got up to 15-- and if it had gone on much longer, the flooding would have been extensive and quite dangerous.

Of course, this reminds me of Thrall.

Thrall is about 30 miles northeast of Austin, and on September 9-10 (note the date), 1921, it was the site of the largest rainstorm in US history.

How large? 32 inches in 12 hours, with 24 coming in the first six hours of the storm. I have no idea what rain at the rate of 4 inches an hour even looks like--2 inches an hour seems torrential.

Like yesterday, the rain was the result of remnants of a tropical storm. The flooding, though, was exponentially worse. Here's an example:
On the San Gabriel River the first rise, at midnight of the 9th, came as a 4 foot wall of water. Thereafter, the river rose at the rate of 2 feet a minute until it overflowed its banks. The second and third rises completely submerged the lowlands, raising the river at least 7 feet higher than ever before known.

As you can imagine, the toll was devastating. 215 people lost their lives, and there was $19 million in property damage.

If you're interested in the storm, there's an excellent article titled "The Unparalleled Thrall, Texas Rainstorm" which makes for excellent reading.

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