Wet ‘n wild!
But at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, a six-foot-long piece of two-by-four was seen drifting down the middle of the street on floodwaters created by a monster rain that soaked Port Aransas and surrounding areas.
The high waters stalled a few vehicles and put a few inches of water in some structures, but no major damage or injuries were reported.
Some 11.87 inches of rain fell in Port Aransas from Friday through Monday, “according to Tony Amos, a University of Texas Marine Science Institute research fellow who has been making weather observations in town for years.
The 6.99 inches of rain that fell Sunday was a record for that day, but it fell short of the one-day record of nearly 14 inches that inundated Port Aransas Aug. 22, 1999, when the outskirts of Hurricane Bret was moving through the Coastal Bend, Amos said.
At press time, the total rainfall for the city streets month was at 17.94 inches, which wasn’t
a record, but it still was raining, so a record still was possible.
Blame the rain on Hurricane Karl, which struck the area of Veracruz, Mexico, on Friday, Sept. 17.
Despite the fact that Karl’s eye was hundreds of miles south of Port Aransas, the storm “was pushing a lot of moisture in the atmosphere toward our area,” said Christina Barron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi.
“What we had were some disturbances pretty much lining up above us, right across South Texas,” Barron said. “…They just kind of stayed there.”
In Port Aransas, rain already had been falling almost continuously for hours, heavily at times, when an especially high tide met the coast on Sunday afternoon. That was a recipe for some big-time flooding, because the high tides blocked the openings of the pipes that carry rainwater into local bays and channels, said Deputy City Manager Dave Parsons.
Some of the worst flooding was on State Hwy. 361 near Royal Palms Cemetery;at Alister and Beach streets; at Avenue A and Oleander Street; at Alister and Avenue E; and at Avenue C and 11th Street. The water was at least two feet deep on some streets.City workers set up signs in the worst areas, warning motorists of high waters.
Parsons and City Manager Robert Bradshaw also pitched in. “We were cruising around, looking at how the drainage was working, and when we’d see, say, a four-by-four floating by, we’d stop and grab it and get it out of the way,” Parsons said.
By early evening, street flooding had dropped a bunch. “Once the tide started dropping, it sucked it dry within a couple of hours,” Parsons said. “It really cleared the streets fast.”
Earlier, while the water was high, traffic slowed to a crawl. Port A Pizzeria stopped delivering pizza about 4 p.m.– six hours before the business normally would shot down those operations for the night. “There were too many places we couldn’t get in, and I didn’t want anyone to drive their car into harm’s way,” said Paul Hatridge, owner of the restaurant.The opening of the Port Aransas Youth Soccer League’s fall season was scheduled for Sept. 17, but all of the games were cancelled due to the rain on Friday and the following Tuesday.
Doug Goike, owner of Crystal Clear Pools, said about three inches of waterd lowed into his office and warehouse due not only to the rainfall but also because passing vehicles pushed wakes onto the property in the 100 block of Avenue J. “I was joking that the next time we have this happen, I’ll put up a sign saying, ‘No wake zone,’ ” Goike said. Children and adults alike dressed in swimsuits and played in the floodwaters on boogie boards and kayaks.
Thirteen-year-old Hunter Roos saw his street, Pelican Circle, transformed into a wildlife habitat. “I have minnows and tadpoles in the street in front of my house now,” he said.