This week marks 9th anniversary of deadly Memorial Day weekend flood in Blanco County

Wall of water moved down Blanco River, killing 13

BLANCO COUNTY, Texas – This is an anniversary we revisit every year. It’s a somber one, but a necessary reminder.

Flash flooding is the number one weather threat we face in South-Central Texas.

This reminder is especially important now because we are coming off several years of drought. It’s been a while since we’ve had a flash flood event, but, unfortunately, we are due.

Back in 2015, at this point in May, we had already seen healthy rains. The grounds were saturated. Then came May 23 when heavy rain and severe weather began during the afternoon hours. Rainfall totals and rainfall rates were impressive, with widespread 6 to 8 inches. However, there was a bullseye in Blanco County and far northeastern Kendall County totaling 10 to 13 inches. This heavy rain fell in the Blanco River watershed and combined with the terrain to create a wall of water. Amazingly, the Blanco River rose from 5 feet at 9 p.m. to 41 feet by 1 a.m. The river rose 5 feet every 15 minutes from 10:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Sadly, with it being Memorial Day weekend, many people were staying along the river. The rapid rise caught many off-guard and the flood took 13 lives. That included eight in one home where two families were staying for the holiday weekend.

It’s a night that is forever burned in my mind, covering the event. When I saw the river gauge that night and its reading, I remember it sent a chill through me. The event was devastating for the Hill Country. I hope and pray we never see a flood like that again, but history tells us we need to be prepared.

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About the Author

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.

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