or Why Amarillo’ Police Department has a Dive Team.
By all common sense, Amarillo should need a police high-water rescue team about as much as does, oh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, almost from the beginnings of highways and paved roads, the city had an underpass problem. We have a number of rather steep, deep underpasses because the railroad tracks came first, and then the roads were dug out from under them when traffic became too heavy. And these underpasses catch water.
Yes, there are drains to remove the water, but as pavement covered more and more of the area, runoff began flowing faster and faster so that it filled the underpasses and low spots before the drainage system could remove said water. Thus were born flood gauges on the underpass pillars. They are much like the flood gauges on the river in Palo Duro Canyon. If the water has reached 3 or 4, you don’t want to go in there. If the sign is under water, you really need to go by a different route.
However, this does not stop people who firmly believe that they can make it, and that two feet of water is not impassable and will not float their car.
OK, so the truck can make it…
I-40 and Soncy. I-40 and Paramount. I-40 and Washington. Buchanan Street at the railroad tracks. The I-27 underpass below 32nd and 34th. They make the national news on occasion because of high water. When a great deal of rain falls quickly on a flat, paved place, it mounds up, then flows away. People seem to forget this, and to believe that they won’t be the ones to drown their engines. And then the police have to pull people out of the water, especially around downtown or in southwest Amarillo, because the flood gauge doesn’t really mean what it seems to mean. Or so a few optimists believe.