AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hurricanes thrive over warm ocean water and quickly weaken as they move over land. Austin is over 150 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico and as much as 1,000 feet above sea level, so why do we need to be concerned about hurricanes this far inland?
The simple answers are flash flooding and tornadoes.
Being this far away means we don’t have to deal with storm surge, often the deadliest part of a hurricane. However, even a weakening hurricane can still bring destructive winds our way, especially if it produces tornadoes, which is a common occurrence in the outer bands of a hurricane’s structure. But flooding is a more typical result for Central Texas.
As tropical cyclones send moisture inland from the Gulf, rainfall rates over three inches an hour over prolonged periods of time often cause widespread flash flooding. We spoke to Paul Yura, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in New Braunfels, about how best to prepare for this season and the potential flooding risks.