The weather prediction Tuesday night was 50% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Out here in the country the night sky was a wee-hours spectacular. Lightning striking thousands of times. Thunder. Rain; pounding, sheeting, coursing, assaulting rain.
When we got up in the morning, late because the alarm had gone to blink in a power outage, I checked the rain gauge. 3 1/2 inches. Good for the property.
But a ways from here, in the space of the roughly 15 miles between big Canyon Lake and the town of New Braunfels, 10-12 inches fell in the wee hours, drenching the Guadalupe River drainage area. Rain rolled off the hills, funneling into creeks, until runoff grew to torrents knobby with rocks and branches, sweeping to the Guadalupe. In the dark, while riverside campers slept, the clear green Guadalupe piled into a brown foaming flood, scouring trees, trucks and people from its path.
The Fire Department managed 89 high water rescue calls from people in trees, trucks and homes. And one recovery, the body of a man swept from sleep in an RV, recovered miles downstream near Gruene.
I drove to New Braunfels yesterday afternoon. I know how a place feels after a disaster. When I walked out of my cottage in Coconut Grove after Hurricane Andrew, debris was piled two stories high in the street.
But I wasn't prepared for the height and width and suddenness, the totality of the Guadalupe's rush.
Try to picture the river flowing across the parking lot and into the first floor of the Rockin' R building, seen here from the Gruene bridge, which would have been invisible underwater.
Entrance to Rockin' R. The sign decoration at left courtesy of Mother Nature.
Buses don't swim...and neither did the house in back.
See the weed hanging from the top of Common Street bridge, and the railing pushed over by the flood?
High-water line marked in red.
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott ,for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.