Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Big Texas Weather: Same Old Climate, Same El Nino Events Cause Texas Floods and Texas Rains

There is nothing unusual about the rain or flooding that Texas and Oklahoma are experiencing. It is actually a feature of our same old climate, and happens especially often in El Nino years.  During these past years of drought (which are also a normal feature of our same old climate), we've all been pulling for an El Nino to show up with the lovely rain it always brings. 

We mourn the tragic loss of life... flash floods are the only weather I fear, and they kill more people each year than all other weather events combined. That is no comfort to the grieving families. Please learn how to be safe in heavy rain, and never cross a water-covered road. 

But we must also be grateful for the abundance of rain that fills ranch tanks and the lakes that provide our water supplies. These rains are even replenishing underground aquifers, storing water for the long haul. 

An enlightening statement,courtesy of gives us the facts about these floods: 
"Flooding from large storms has affected Texas throughout its history...and destructive floods occur somewhere in the State every year. Many of these floods are destructive because they often occur in areas where extreme flooding had not occurred for many years. These floods often are perceived as unexpected or even unprecedented because their peak water-surface elevations (stages) can greatly exceed those of past floods." 
More facts from the same source as of 2002: 
  • *Texas has had 256 major floods (41 catastrophic) from 1853 thru 2002. 
  • *From 1986 to 2000, Texas experienced 4,722 flash flood events.
  • *" Central Texas has been identified as the most flash-flood prone area in the United States by the National Weather Service." 
  • *"Texas holds 6 of 12 world record rainfall rates in 24 hours or less - source United States Geological Survey (USGS)." 
  • *"Texas leads the nation in flood-related deaths most every year -- averaging twice the next nearest state: California." 
So please, young AP writers, don't be fooled into thinking this rain and these floods are unusual or "historic", because... they are both, but only to the degree that Texas weather is, like so much else in Texas, always larger than life. In fact, if you read Cabeza de Vaca's account of his Travels through Texas in 1528, you might be surprised to find that the climate is much the same as it is today, with the same edible plants growing in the same locations and the same bitter cold coastal winters, even the same merciless mosquitoes. 

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