Wed October 16, 2013
Austin Showers Taper Off; City Opens Roads, Parks Still Closed; APD Officer Killed in Crash
Update: While Central Texas did not receive another deluge of rain like it saw over the weekend, rainfall Tuesday night and Wednesday morning still created dangerous flooding and driving conditions that forced some road closures, and left Austin’s parks shuttered until at least later this afternoon.
An off-duty APD officer died earlier this morning in a collision, according to KXAN.
Several low water crossings closed this morning, but as of now, they have all reopened. City of Austin and Travis County officials ask drivers to proceed with caution, and urge drivers not to cross flooded roads.
Earlier today the Wasson Road crossing (pictured above) off South Congress was also closed. Austinite Ryan Arnett lives nearby and considers himself lucky he escaped the damage.
“Some of my friends who have houses around the area that have had to go stay with friends,” says Arnett. “I have a little bit of leaking in my roof, but it’s nothing [compared] to the level of some of my friends.”
Several city park facilities remain closed, as well. In addition to Barton Springs, hike and bike trails across the city are closed due to weather-related damage. City officials will be reevaluating the condition of the trails Wednesday afternoon.
No rain is predicted for Thursday, but there is a 20% chance of thunderstorms Friday and more rain in the forecast at the beginning of next week.
For information on Austin road closures and other disaster assistance resources, visit Disaster Ready Austin.
Update (Oct. 16, 6:00 a.m.): The National Weather Service canceled a flash flood watch issued for Central Texas. Weather forecasters expect moderate rainfall today of one to two inches through this evening.
While the weather service had predicted low water crossings could be closed, there are currently no weather-related road closures in Austin. Still, officials remind drivers not to proceed through standing water.
Barton Springs Pool remains closed. Deep Eddy Pool is opening a few hours earlier during the closure to accommodate early morning swimmers.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s Austin Jazz Festival is canceled. Organizers blame the rain and say they will issue refunds.
Update (Oct. 15, 5:00 p.m.): National Weather Service forecaster Pat McDonald says Austin’s recent rains have increased the possibility for flooding in Central Texas.
“Normally we say our flash flood guidance is three inches in an hour,” McDonald says. “Because of the recent rainfalls we’ve had, we’re looking at a half-inch to an inch an hour to cause flash flooding.”
The NWS expects one to three inches of rain overnight in the Austin area, and possibly two to four inches in the Hill Country.
City of Austin trails remain closed this evening after the weekend’s heavy rains caused erosion, mud patches and ruts. Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department says heavy rain tonight could delay the reopening of the trails.
Original story (Oct. 15, 3:55 p.m.): The Austin area is under a flash flood watch from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. tomorrow.
A cold front coming through this evening is expected to set off more rain when it runs into tropical moisture feeding into our area. With the ground saturated from rain over the weekend, the National Weather Service says even a half-inch to an inch of rain in an hour’s time can cause flash flooding.
“We’re going to keep our fingers crossed that it’s out of the Austin area by sunrise tomorrow morning,” says NWS forecaster Pat McDonald, “but anybody out driving around overnight and in the early morning hours will need to use caution.”
The main thing to watch for is water flowing over a roadway. It’s far better to turn around instead of trying to drive through it: most flood deaths happen to people in vehicles.
The city encourages residents to utilize the following for contacting the city and receiving updates in case of extreme weather and flooding:
- Emergencies: Dial 9-1-1
- Non-Emergencies: Dial 3-1-1
- Power Outage: (512) 322-9100
- City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
ATXFloods.com: Up-to-date status of Austin’s low-water crossings
The Parks and Recreation Department is trying to recover from the rains Austin already got. All trails remain closed after Sunday’s drenching.
“On the Auditorium Shores trail, the water rose up to Stevie Ray Vaughan statue – up to his feet,” says Parks Department spokesperson Victor Ovalle.
“That erodes the trail and it makes it really muddy. And if you hit one of those muddy areas on a bicycle really fast, there’s potential there for injury.”
The city is also filling potholes along the trail, while the department’s urban forestry team is also checking trees in parks to make sure broken branches aren’t dangling by a thread. The Fire Department has also extended a ban on boating and the recreational use of Barton Creek until noon Wednesday.