The sun rose in a clear blue sky, washed by the previous few days of rain ans scoured clear by a cold-front. But as the hours passed, the sun faded to milky pale as bands of high clouds swept over head. A light north breeze tickled the leaves, and a few early leaves fluttered down in a lazy way, while a large brown sweet-gum leaf skittered half-heartedly up the sidewalk. From whence cometh the clouds? From the south, they are harbingers of the storm pounding Mexico and central Texas. Thin bands of moisture tossed north from Hurricane Patricia soar overhead, a thousand miles from the bulk of the storm. Up here we joke about “all we need is a good hurricane to break the drought,” but they do slither up from the Gulf on occasion. Last week, we got moisture tossed up by a weaker low pressure system and ended up with between three and seven inches of rain. The City of Vega (OK, town of Vega) had crews out deepening ditches and clearing out culverts as water rose over the streets. I woke up to pounding rain overflowing the gutters, and a cat trying to burrow under the covers. I vaguely remember praying that the water stayed out this time, moving the cat, and going back to sleep. (Yes, the water stayed out.)
But now, as I type this on Saturday October 24, 2015, twenty inches of rain have fallen in some places downstate. The hydrographs, the traces of river rise and flow, for the Trinity and other rivers show vertical lines, river levels rising a foot an hour over the course of Friday through Saturday morning. Up here, the Canadian River rose six feet over a day. Downstate, animals are lined up in pairs and asking when the next ark leaves.
And high clouds arc overhead, the only hint of what’s passing below the Llano Estacado plateau.