“The rain it falls upon the just, and on the unjust fella. But mostly on the just, because the unjust steals the just’s umbrella!”
The rains finally reached the Panhandle starting last Sunday. The latter half of August has been moist, with almost weekly storm-lines rolling through and leaving about an inch or two a week at Redquarters. Then the perfect rain making combination formed. High pressure to the east and a low to the west combined to suck moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico and pump it up over the area. Daytime heating and little upper-level disturbances combined with the moisture and instability to make rain, mostly long slow rains. Although parts of Amarillo got an inch in 30 minutes or so on Tuesday morning, leading to the usual underpasses going under water, and people rediscovering that “Hey, at 50 MPH my tires don’t touch the road. Cool!” Crunch. Usually followed by, “No, really, it didn’t look slick, honest. I was only going 30.”
The problem, so to speak, is that Amarillo only looks flat. Some parts do have a definite lack of topographic relief, but others once contained playas, or are at the bottom of slopes. And Amarillo sprawls, oh does it sprawl. Most of that sprawl is paved or roofed, and does not absorb water. But rain has to go somewhere, usually the street if it falls fast enough.
Most of Amarillo does not have a problem with houses getting waterlogged, and it takes a pretty good downpour to cause trouble, or saturated soil such as developed last year (The Year of the House-Eating Playa).
Happily, with the exception of the Brief Downpour of Doom, the rain has fallen slowly and steadily over most of the area. I say most, because parts of the southeastern Panhandle got 9″ over three days, which is a wee bit excessive. Lake McKenzie and Lake Greenbelt are coming up fast, just in time for the long weekend, Lake Meredith should start rising this afternoon and all the plants are looking good. Temperatures have been in the 60s and low 70s instead of the low 90s. Four days of rain and the entire world seems to be green, as layers of grey and white cloud slide past and soft pats of cool rain pitter against my hat brim. It is too soon and too well absorbed for mosquitoes thus far, and we need about another half inch and two or three weeks delay (start of wheat planting) before the farmers begin to complain.