Awaiting wicked winter weather
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Buckets of rain fell yesterday. Local creeks overran their banks. Streets, businesses and homes were flooded, not on a massive scale, thank goodness, but flooded nonetheless.
Worse, one person is feared dead, having been swept away in a rapidly rising stream. An onlooker tried to save her, but the water was just too strong and the attempted rescuer had to be rescued.
This video is of another suddenly- full Austin waterway, Bull Creek. At another point (not shown here), the creek runs under a low-lying road we use to get to one of our favorite restaurants; that section of roadway was impassable yesterday as the raging water flowed over it.
Bull Creek and other tributaries have subsided. Now we're watching cold temperatures, the coldest of the season so far, creep down the state.
With the moisture that's still on the roads and the additional precipitation being forecast, driving could get treacherous. I'm not complaining. I wanted seasonal change.
Plus, I don't have to get out. I made my weekly grocery run yesterday while, although raining, temps were in the 40s. And this being Central Texas, these wintry conditions won't last that long.
But I do hope people who must drive will be doubly careful.
Historic horribleness: The timing of this storm brought back memories of a truly major and catastrophic winter disaster 25 years ago.
The hubby and I were newlyweds living in Washington, D.C., when on Jan. 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90, wings heavy with ice, clipped a bridge and plunged into the Potomac just after takeoff from National Airport. Seventy-eight people died, including four drivers who were in the dozens of cars stuck on the snow-clogged 14th Street Bridge when the plane hit it.
Meanwhile underground, one of the city's subway trains derailed. Three other national capital area residents lost their lives in that accident.
It was a Wednesday the 13th, but it sure felt like a Friday.
The hubby and I learned of the disasters via car radio as we were heading out to the suburbs. The irony: At that time we lived in D.C. proper, walking distance from our apartment on Capitol Hill to our jobs on Capitol Hill. But that day, being crazy young kids, we got in our car in the midst of a blizzard and headed out to the Capital Centre in Landover, Md.
Why? The Washington Capitals were playing Wayne Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers and we had tickets. Plus, we also had promised to ferry a friend -- Bill, who would also join us the next year on our trip to Cooperstown -- to the game.
So the three of us, the hubby behind the wheel, inched along and made it OK to the arena. We had to wait for employees to arrive and open up the doors. Once inside, since fewer than 2,000 of us
idiots hockey fans made it out there, we got to pick our own (better) seats.
The Caps management treated us to free coffee and hot chocolate. We even were allowed into the private club, where we got a bit to eat and watched the news coverage of the twin tragedies.
Sitting there, we realized our families were probably seeing the same footage and getting answering machines at our homes (pre-cell phone days, remember?). So we lined up to use the arena's pay phones and let our relatives know we were fine.
The Caps and Oilers game ended in a 6-6 tie (pre-regular season OT and shootouts, remember?). And we made it slowly and safely back into town afterward, which I dutifully reported in a second call to my mother, who, for the first time in her life, had been following the scores of hockey games to get an idea of when she'd be hearing from me again.
The wintry assault coming to Austin will be nothing like that in D.C. a quarter century ago. But I suspect some folks will be traveling needlessly for things as silly as a sporting event.
Be like today's older and wiser hubby and me and hunker down in your home. You'll be glad you did.
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