Central Texas is known as “flash flood alley,” the area most prone to flooding in the U.S.
As many in the area know, Memorial Day weekend can have people on edge, especially when it comes to checking the weather. And while this coming weekend is trending pretty dry, that’s not always the case. In fact, Memorial Day weekend has brought some of our deadliest weather in history.
Looking back, it was Memorial Day weekend in 2015. Nine people were swept down the Blanco River during a historic record flood. The river went from below flood stage to major flood stage in just 45 minutes. Flash flooding extended all the way up through Austin as well, breaking daily rainfall records at Camp Mabry and ABIA. This historical rainfall led to the 3rd wettest month on record.
However, Austin’s deadliest flood was in 1981, when a foot of rain fell over northwest Austin, triggering
the Memorial Day flash flood on Shoal Creek that killed 13 people.
Texas leads the nation in flash flood fatalities. At least 278 people have lost their lives in our state between 1996 and 2016 according to the National Weather Service. But it is easy to keep yourself safe during a flash flooding event. Remember, most deaths happen in vehicles.
So the simple phrase “turn around don’t drown” is the most important safety rule. Never drive into a flooded road. Also, keep kids away from flood waters and flooded drainage ditches.