Hurricane Patricia Spits on Texas

By: Haley Cavazos, Kyle Cavazos, Danny Goodwin and Danielle Haberly

Hurricane Patricia drenched the dry lands of Texas this past weekend, spurring flooding and large amounts of rainfall across the state.

The city of Austin alone received over eight inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service; a small amount for the strongest hurricane ever recorded.

“It was the strongest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere,” said climate and weather expert Dr. Kris Wilson.

According to Dr. Wilson, it rained in Austin for over 31 hours.

Although Hurricane Patricia broke records, the damage was nothing compared to the likes of past hurricanes, including the Central Texas Memorial Day floods, which resulted in extensive damages and deaths.

“When it got here, we didn’t even have any severe storms, we had very little lightning,” said Dr. Wilson.
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Many prepared for the worst this past week, including the employees of Whole Earth Provisions on Lamar, who recently reopened after a five-month closure following the Memorial Day floods.

Tyler Frazier, a manager of the Lamar location, described the preparation process leading into the rainfall.

“A lot of people were pretty concerned about the rain,” Frazier said. “We made this special flood door for the front and sandbagged every other door. We were definitely preparing for the worst.”

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Ultimately, the store came out unscathed.

“Nothing happened and we opened at our regular time,” Frazier said.

The regular Texas humidity made for more manageable showers, which also fell at a calmer rate instead of torrential downpours . Closed roads on Saturday reopened following the weekend.

With the massive size of Patricia, there was some speculation that Texas might experience one of the wettest records in history.

“That’s very difficult to tell this far in advance,” said University of Texas Senior Climate Lecturer Troy Kimmel. “The current patterns, as suggested by the people at the Climate Prediction Center, is it’ll be a wetter than normal winter.”

This past weekend’s deluge alleviated some of the lack of water in Austin, but not enough to make a major dent in Texas’ usual dry spell.

“There really is no guarantee we’ll see the drought go away across Texas,” said Kimmel. “We’re just hoping that the above average rainfall pattern can take the edge off the drought and get us some important soil moisture that we need around here.”

While we only saw a mild storm in Austin, Hurricane Patricia’s path isn’t over quite yet.

“I see another three to five inches of rain maybe again by Friday into Saturday,” said Kimmel. “It’ll all be runoff, and that’ll contribute to the potential of flooding.”

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