May 6th, 2006
When it Rains it Pours

If you were trying to access this site Thursday night or Friday morning, you discovered our server was down. Violent storms ripped through central Texas late Thursday night, knocking out power

This year it looks like May is vying to take back its title of one of Austin’s rainiest months. After a disappointing showing in 2005, May 2006 has started out with a bang–the bang of thunder, the boom of transformers blowing out during a power surge, and the crash of trees felling power lines.

Tuesday (5/2) afternoon, I got caught in thunderstorm as I headed home from the gym in rush hour traffic. That was a comparitively pleasant prelude to Thursday (5/4) night. Around 10PM, 70mph winds begin whipping through the trees and almost immediately our power surge protectors squealed and we lost power. According to Austin Energy, Thursday’s storm resulted in the biggest power outage in Austin since 2000.

And then it poured–not just for 10 minutes or so as it often does, but for what seemed like more than an hour. I was glad to see my terraces keeping the water from running off into the street. My drainage area held four inches of standing water at one point. And for once the garage didn’t flood.

We were luckier than many. Our yard was littered in ball moss and dead branches, but only a few smaller, live limbs were torn off trees by the high winds. Just around the corner a live oak tree had split in half and fallen across power lines. Neighborly residents hung socks along the downed lines to alert motorists.

Friday night was a repeat performance, though less windy and with less rain over a longer time. Thursday night we got over three inches of rain; Friday, maybe 2 inches.

Does this mean that Austin’s drought is broken? Or is this the last rain we’ll see until September. Stay tuned.

by M Sinclair Stevens

One Response to post “When it Rains it Pours”

  1. From M2 (Austin):

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised that our backyard hasn’t flooded. Normally rain like we’ve had will have it four inches in water, but not these last few nights. We did lose a big branch, but it fell politely to the ground without hitting anything destructible.

    The strobe lightning has made the dogs nocternally companionable, though. “Three Dog Nights” make it very warm, and tricky to get comfortable. Ah, well. I keep trying to think, “isn’t this cozy,” instead of “gah, I can’t move!”