The 1998 Flood


Texas has been in a drought for more than a year; rain is desperately needed.
Remembering the Flood of 1998:
Torrential rains over south and southeast Texas during the weekend of October 17-18, 1998, led to widespread and deadly flooding.  A total of 31 people died during this event, and property damage estimates approached three quarters of a billion dollars.
The event occurred within areas served by three National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Weather Service (NWS) field forecast offices and by one NOAA/NWS River Forecast Center.  Due to the magnitude of this flood event, a Service Assessment Team was assembled to examine all aspects of the warning services provided by NWS offices to the citizens and public officials of the areas affected.
John J. Kelly, Jr.
Assistant Administrator for Weather Services
February 1999
During the weekend of October 17-18, 1998, torrential rains fell over south and southeast Texas.  Up to 22 inches of rain fell which first resulted in deadly flash flooding from San Antonio to Austin followed by record breaking river floods along several south Texas rivers the following week.  Based on provisional data from the USGS, which is subject to revision, the flood peak for this event was the highest known peak stage at 15 locations.  Tragically, a total of 31 people died during the event (26 drownings, 2 tornado deaths, 2 heart attacks, and 1 electrocution/drowning).  At least 17 of the drowning victims were in vehicles which were either driven into water or were swept away by rapidly rising water.  Preliminary property damage estimates approached three quarters of a billion dollars.
…All ingredients for extremely heavy rains came together over south Texas the morning of Saturday, October 17.  A strong upper level trough and surface front were approaching from the west while a persistent low-level southeast flow of very moist air (dew points in the mid 70s) covered south Texas.  Additionally, a plume of moist mid and high level air was streaming across the area from Hurricane Madeline off the west coast of Mexico.
…The river crested at 51.7 feet at Gonzales (food stage 31 feet) at 6 p.m. Sunday night, October 18.
…The river crested at 49.8 feet at Cuero (flood stage 20 feet) at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, October 20.
…The Guadalupe crested at Victoria (flood stage 21 feet) at 33.85 feet at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, October 20.
We lost much ‘stuff.’
And we gained much: our neighbors and friends and people we didn’t even know offered help.  As my husband and I trekked through the muck the first couple of days (before we hired a crew to reconstruct our home), a neighbor across the street would bring sandwiches and drinks throughout the neighborhood (for hundreds of homes were flooded) – pulling a little red wagon laden with the food!
Dear friends took items that could be salvaged but were drenched in river mud to be cleaned.  One day a lady I didn’t even know drove up into the driveway and handed me a plateful of cupcakes to distribute.  [Later I learned her name: Dora Pierson.  Dora died a few years ago and her husband Walt joined our Sharers Sunday School Class.]  The local bank brought dozens of packing boxes for items that were intact.
I realize everyone isn’t interested in my Flood Stories and Memories; however, in one way or another everyone in Seguin was affected (either because their home flooded or they were one of the hundreds of folks who immediately came forward to help during this devastating time).
Guess those of us who live in this area will be talking about the 1998 flood forever!

But now:  come on rain!!


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on June 18, 2009, in Seguin, Texas and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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