News

11.2 INCHES

From driest drought to wet weekend
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

A heavy deluge of the wet stuff sure did look good last weekend, as the Rockdale area received over 11 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest months in the past 20 years. At left, Blake King, ballboy for the Tiger football team, sloshed through standing water on the Marlin track during halftime of the Tiger-Bulldog game. Above, "Lake RJH" was full again. It's actually a holding area to drain water slowly so nearby neighborhoods are not affected by runoff from the school property. At right, Larry Kocian recorded 8.99 inches of rain overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning at his residence at 132 Champions Drive. An identical gauge of his was set up at 715 Ackerman, where 6.69 inches were recorded. A heavy deluge of the wet stuff sure did look good last weekend, as the Rockdale area received over 11 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest months in the past 20 years. At left, Blake King, ballboy for the Tiger football team, sloshed through standing water on the Marlin track during halftime of the Tiger-Bulldog game. Above, "Lake RJH" was full again. It's actually a holding area to drain water slowly so nearby neighborhoods are not affected by runoff from the school property. At right, Larry Kocian recorded 8.99 inches of rain overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning at his residence at 132 Champions Drive. An identical gauge of his was set up at 715 Ackerman, where 6.69 inches were recorded. What do you call it when a town goes directly from an 18-month long drought to flooding and the fifth wettest month in the past 20 years?

Texas weather.

That's exactly what happened in Rockdale before dawn Sunday as the end of an 11-inch, four-day deluge closed streets and turned driving into an adventure.

There was a high-water rescue at the Texas 36 underpass in Milano and many farm-market roads in the northwestern part of Milam County were closed over the weekend.

Storm stalls

Rainfall actually began Friday with a total just over a half-inch. but Rockdale didn't get the brunt of a highly unstable air mass until Saturday night when a line of thunderstorms stalled over Milam County.

Virtually all of the 7.7 inches recorded on Sunday fell before sunrise.

By dawn Sunday the U.S. Weather Service rain gauge at KRXT-FM recorded a four-day total of 11.2 inches.

That's almost as much rain in four days as had fallen in the first eight months and eight days of 2009 combined.

About 4 a.m. Sunday what had been a steady rain turned into a deluge, flooding low-lying areas in Central and East Rockdale.

The often-flooded intersection of US 79 (Cameron Avenue) and Meadow was closed as were portions of Ackerman, San Gabriel, Bell and Charles streets.

A portion of US 79 near Rice Street was also brief ly closed and the flood gate on the Belton Avenue low-water crossing was shut.

No evacuations in Rockdale were reported by police. "Once the water started to go down, it went down very quickly," Lt. J. D. Newlin said.

Milano rescue

The Milano Volunteer Fire Department extricated a driver from the flooded Texas 36 underpass after her vehicle stalled in high water.

According to the MVFD, the driver handled the situation correctly, calling 911 on her cell phone immediately and remaining in the vehicle until help arrived.

That highway was briefly closed by the high water at the underpass.

FM 1915 in northern Milam County was closed at Big Elm Creek and FM 486 at the Little River. There were reports of the Little River being out of its banks under the long bridge near Cameron.

County roads closed at some time during the weekend included CRs 119, 120, 147, 203, 230, 335, 402, 405, 408, 408, 412 and 414.

Unexpected

The sheer amount of the weekend's rain was unexpected.

The 11.2-inch total makes September, 2009, already the fifth wettest month of the past 20 years.

Only wetter months in that period were:

May, 2000, 16.83 inches; July, 2007, 15.01; October, 1994, 11.73; June, 2004, 11.61.


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The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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