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Heavy rains bring flooding

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Law enforcement officers worked through Saturday night evacuating RV parks and low lying areas. RVers headed for higher ground, many finding a temporary safe haven around the Bandera County Courthouse and the First Baptist Church parking lot.

County Judge Richard Evans is fond of quoting a local old-timer as saying, "Here in Bandera County, we survive extended periods of drought, interrupted by occasional floods." That certainly proved to be true this Memorial Day Weekend as heavy rains caused local flooding throughout the area.
The PRCA rodeo had to be cancelled as the Medina River rose across Highway 16 and into Mansfield Park. RV parks were evacuated.
According to CoCoRaHS precipitation maps, the front moving through the county from west to east dropped rain all across the area beginning on Friday, May 22, through Saturday morning at 7 am, with the highest totals south of 16 toward Medina Lake of .57 and .58 inches.
The storm picked up strength Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning with totals reaching 4.36 inches in the west end and up to nine inches just west of Bandera. A site on the north prong of the Medina recorded 7.91 inches.
The USGS gauge at the Medina River in Bandera showed the river peaked at close to 25 feet Sunday morning. The National Weather Service marks flood stage at that site at around 13 feet. The river at the Patterson gauge in Medina crested at 18 feet.
The best news to come out of the storm was that the long-suffering Medina Lake level rose to almost 1030 feet, 36.25 feet below full. A year ago, the lake was only three percent full. As of May 26, it was 36.3 percent full. Lots of looky-loos were out Sunday to celebrate the fact that water could actually be seen in the lake from overlooks along FM 1283 for the first time in years.
According to the Courier's hydrogeologist Feather Wilson from Tarpley, "Eight of the last 13 years, the total 12-month records were less or very close to the 25.02" we've already received this year for the first six months, and it is not over yet."
The storm moved eastward causing heavy flooding, loss of life and property in Dallas, Austin, Wimberley and Houston, among others. Governor Greg Abbot declared 37 Texas counties as disaster areas. Bandera County is not included in that declaration.
This spring's unusually heavy rainfall may be due to El Niño, a global weather pattern currently circulating in the Pacific Ocean that historically brings heavier-than-average rainfall to Texas.