Austin Flooding: Texas Capitol Hit With Flash Floods on Sunday (+Photos)
Kelly Davis-Burns looks out her back door at Williamson Creek which flooded her house on Heartwood Drive in Austin, Texas, on Sunday Oct. 13, 2013. Heavy rain overnight flooded homes and canceled the last day of the Austin City Limits Festival. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)
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LUBBOCK, Texas—Flash floods swept through the Austin area Sunday after up to a foot of rain fell in a 12-hour period, closing roads, sparking rescues and canceling the final day of the Austin City Limits Music Festivals. The forecast shows more wet weather in the coming days.
National Weather Service meteorologist Pat McDonald said the Barton Springs subdivision north of Austin received 12.1 inches of rain and downtown Austin received 10.6 inches.
He said there have been numerous water rescues in the area. A mobile home park in the Onion Creek subdivision south of Austin was flooded when water levels rose to more than 28 feet, McDonald said. Numerous roads have been closed in the Austin area as well as in Hays County, west of the city.
The Austin American-Statesman reported city crews used front-end loaders and dump trucks to remove mud and flood debris from roads in South Austin.
A flash flood watch and a flood warning are in effect throughout Sunday, forecasters said. And rain in is the forecast through at least Tuesday, McDonald said.
“The next three days can be interesting as far as rainfall amounts,” McDonald said, adding that the ground is saturated. “The water will have little place to run off.”
Flood advisories also were in place for Brazoria, Matagorda, Wharton and Jackson counties southeast of the Austin area near the coast, said Houston’s NWS meteorologist Phil Kuhn. College Station, about 110 miles northeast of Austin, had gotten about 4.3 inches through 3 p.m. Sunday, he said.
In West Texas, a flash flood warning was in effect until 5 p.m. for northwestern Midland County and eastern Ector County.
A few hundred miles north in the southern Panhandle and northwestern Rolling Plains, area flood advisories were in place for Hall, Briscoe, Motley and Floyd counties.
The downpours in Austin won’t help alleviate the dry conditions in some parts of Central Texas, as the heaviest rains fell downstream from Lakes Travis and Buchanan, which are at near-record low levels.
However, rain that fell in the lakes’ watershed has added a combined 2.6 billion gallons of water, said Clara Tuma, spokeswoman for the Lower Colorado River Authority.
“These are not drought-buster” rains for the lakes that serve a million people in the region, Tuma said, and the effect of rainfall on the lakes’ combined levels will take time to show up.
“We expect that (accumulation) to continue to rise as rain in tributaries, such as the Pedernales, makes its way into the lakes,” she said. “That can take several days.”
Heavy rains forced organizers of the popular Austin City Limits Music Festival to cancel the final day of the two-weekend event. They said a third of the ticket price will be refunded, based on the original price paid.