When A Foot Of Rain Falls in 4 Hours
Houston isn’t called The Bayou City for nothing. There are spaghetti noodles of tributaries and creeks and bayous all over its map, so when the sky let loose late Memorial Day 2015, it was just another rainy day. Until it wasn’t. Texas towns to the north of us saw their share of heavy rainfall, too, and all of that water was already rushing down to us via two rivers — the Trinity and the Brazos — which were already expanding into flood plains.
No need to watch the news. This was going to be a disaster.
I’ve been here almost all of my life and I’ve seen all kinds of floods. Houstonians are not new to this. They brace for flooding and seem to continue on with life as if everything is normal. Tragically, some were swept away while still in their cars while we enjoyed the storm system from the relative safety of a rental 25 feet up in the air.
Wind gusts of 60 mph can feel like an earthquake when a beach house sways, but I’d rather be in the air than on the road during a drencher. Many homes on the Bolivar Peninsula had been swept off their foundations with the Hurricane Ike storm surge in 2008. Since this was one of the newer re-builds, I knew we were safe on the pylons.
Back at home was a whole ‘nother story. With the rivers already full, water simply had nowhere to go.
So there it sat.
Brazos River Takes a Ball Park
A Neighbor’s House
And sat some more.
Local Drainage Ditch – 25 Feet High
For several days, we waited to see what the rivers would do. As our creek is a natural drainage into these larger bodies of water, when rivers rise, so do our creeks. Thankfully, our creek came up only a few feet — and lingered there.
Such a relief.
Life’s A Beach
On the days following Memorial Day, we would enjoy the pristine shoreline and some magnificent waves all to ourselves. School doesn’t officially let out for a couple more weeks. Once the hoards are released for summer, we avoid the beach as a general rule.
For now, we would enjoy some bodacious surf.
Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula
Once the winds with sand died down a bit, and I felt better taking an expensive DSLR out of the bag, I began to shoot some photos with something other than a phone camera.
Rental and Dune Daisies
(Not our rental.)
Sand Dune Flowers
Wishing For Frigatebirds
“I hear there’s some Magnificent Frigatebirds in the area. We should keep an eye out for them! Man, I wish we could get one of these birds on our list.”
“Well, you know, Mom,” my 13-year-old parroted in my sing-song tone, “if you wish in one hand and spit in another, I wonder which one will fill up faster.”
I always wish out loud. I seem to have a knack for ‘wishing’ for birds, and then they suddenly appear out of the blue. Because we have benefited from this wisdom before, he knew exactly what I was doing. I think he just enjoys mocking me.
I smiled at him and dropped my ‘wish hand’ down below the spit one. And you know what? We didn’t just get that bird. We got to watch six of them fly over the rental.
So I did what any sane person would do. I wished out loud for the lottery.
Bolivar Surf at Dusk
Bolivar Flats Birding
And then there are the birds. That is why you’re here, right?
Brown Pelicans, All In A Row
Tri-Colored or “Louisiana” Heron
First time seeing one in the surf!
I love how regal these guys look.
I cropped out his yummy Dead Fish entree.
Magnificent Frigatebird to the Life List!
Year Bird Count: 210 Species