Texas Weather Events
  This page was born 6/15/2001.  Rickubis designed it.  (such as it is.)  Updated 6/24/2016  
  Text and images on this page 
2001-2016  Richard Dashnau

6/05/2016 Texas has been hit by rain and flooding multiple times this Spring. The last batch of showers in North Texas put a huge amount of water into various rivers--including the Brazos River. This pile of water made
its way South, and BBSP was closed 5/28/2016 in preparation for the Brazos River to rise. And, the river did  rise, as this screengrab I got from the USGS site shows. The river rose almost 10 feet above flood stage!
This is a major disaster, and it isn't over yet (as I write this 06/06/2016).  It's sad that BBSP was totally under water at this time LAST year.

On Sunday, 06/05/2016 I was able to ride with a friend in his plane over BBSP, and the surrounding area, for about 45 minutes-until the rain started. I shot the images below during the flight. By using the zoom function, I could get past the wing-but zooming too much caused too much camera shake. At the time I was above the park taking these pictures (about 2:30 PM) the flood gauge at 1462 showed 52.44 ft.  The flood gauge is located near the bridge at the top of the "1462" image.


Pictures of Brazos Bend State Park ( it's possible to compare these to those I shot from the air last year). You can see the pictures from last year on my other page here.
              40 Acre Lake                                                    40 Acre Lake                                             40 Acre Lake                                              40 Acre Lake
      40 Acre Lake Observation Tower                   40 Acre,Horseshoe,Elm Lakes                   40 Acre,Pilant,Horseshoe,Elm Lakes            Old & New Horseshoe & Elm Lakes
      Old and New Horseshoe Lakes                  Elm Lake, Old and New Horseshoe Lakes       Elm Lake and Old Horseshoe Lake                                   Nature Center
   George Observatory & Creekfield Lake                          Sawmill Road                                       Near Sawmill Road                             Hwy 1462 at the Brazos River

Pictures of areas around Brazos Bend State Park
   AREAS SOUTH OF 1462 AND EAST OF BBSP  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
  AREAS NORTH OF BBSP  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
               APPROACHING STORM                SIENNA STABLES, ABOUT 8 MI. NORTH OF BBSP    AREAS NORTH OF BBSP----------------------------------->

06/21/2015  Water has receded more from Brazos Bend State Park, leaving the roads and most of the trail clear. The river didn't rise as far and as fast as had been forecast. I was able to go out the the park for another guided tour. I took a few pictures as I went on the tour around 2 lakes.  40 Acre Lake had a lot of debris. This coming weekend will be the first in weeks that volunteers will be allowed to work in the park--assisting various cleanup duties. The park is still closed, and may be for another few weeks. Check the state park page, the state facebook page, and the volunteer website for more news.

    40 Acre lake looking East  6/21/15                40 Acre Lake near tower 06/21/2015      Spillway Trail looking at Bridge 6/21/15           Spillway Bridge 06/21/2015
                                                                           Gator resting on the trail in front.                                                                             Water level can be seen on top rails.
 Spillway Trail just past bridge 6/21/15   Spillway Trail towards Elm Lake 06/21/2015   Pilant Slough Trail at Elm Lake 6/21/15   Water into 40Acre from Pilant Slough 06/21/2015
 Dead area shows water level. Stick=6 feet                                                                                                                                     Water flowing into the lake as water rose again.
 Birds Eating fish South 40Acre 6/21/15           Dead Fish South 40 Acre 06/21/2015         
 Dead fish probably killed by silt suspension in floodwaters. Many bass, perch, crappie, bluegill.

06/14/2015  Water has receded more from Brazos Bend State Park, leaving the roads and some of the trail clear--but many trails were still under water. I was able to go out the the park for another guided tour. 
I took a few pictures. Some of them fit in with the large group of images below. These few show where the water had been.  In the picture of Big Creek, the green ends where the water had been. In the wood yard, 
the silt on the rope shows
how high the water had been.
Since the 14th,  tropical storm Bill dumped a lot of water throughout Texas. As I write this (6/18/2015) they are forecasting that the Brazos River will rise to about 50' at the Rosharon gage sometime Saturday morning (6/20/2015). This will probably cause the park to be flooded again.  Tentative plans were for the park to reopen 6/22/15--but if the water rises as predicted, it probably won't reopen until sometime in July. The graph
below shows how the Brazos River height changed from May through July.  

 Big Creek between NC & Elm Lake 6/14/15           In the Wood Yard 06/14/2015                       Brazos River levels at Rosharon        

06/07/2015 Brazos Bend State park was closed for business on 05/27/2015. Lots of rain throughout Texas caused flash flooding in many areas, and eventually raised the water level in the Brazos River. The water level in the Brazos River raised to 
51.4 feet at Rosharon gage--about 2 river miles downstream from the mouth of Big Creek.  The high water caused backflow into Big Creek, which winds through the park. Big Creek overflowed, and pushed water into Pilant Slough, which also overflowed and filled the remainder of the park. Water levels in the park started going down sometime on 6/6/2015.  On 06/07/2015 park management allowed for a "guided tour" of the park for interested volunteers, so I was able to get pictures of my own.  Most of these are shown below. Note that these were taken AFTER water had started to recede.  I went through my archive of older pictures, and tried to find images of earlier times that corresponded to those I shot while the park was under water. So the images are in sets, with the older image first, followed by the recent flooded image.  Some of the older images are screen grabs from "action camera" footage I filmed from my car.  Park is still closed today (6/11/2015)

        40-Acre lake pier 2013                                  40-Acre lake pier 2013                             40-Acre lake pier 6/07/2015

          40-Acre lake pier 2013                            40-Acre lake pier 6/07/2015                        40-Acre Lake Pier 6/14/2015        

40-Acre Observation Tower 2013              
40-Acre Observation Tower 6/07/2015      40-Acre Observation Tower 6/14/2015

  Mile Stretch at curves sign 2014                     Mile Stretch at curves sign 2015                  Mile Stretch at 2 signs 2014                        Mile Stretch at 2 signs 2015


    Mile Stretch at 30 mph sign 2014                   Mile Stretch at 30 mph sign 2015       
Mile Stretch; emergency parking sign 2014  Mile Stretch@Emergency pkg. sign 6/7/15    Mile Stretch@Emergency pkg. sign 6/14/15

    Mile Stretch at N72 sign 2014                        Mile Stretch at N72 sign 2015              Park Road towards campgrounds 2014      Park Road towards campgrounds 6/7/2015

    Park Road towards campgrounds 2014      Park Road towards campgrounds 6/7/2015 Park Road towards campgrounds 6/14/2015        Elm Lake Observation Platform 2011

    Elm Lake Observation Platform 2013           Elm Lake Observation Platform 2015         Leaving Elm Lake near 20mph sign 2014      Leaving Elm Lake near 20mph sign 2015

Leaving Elm Lake 2014(Big Creek to left)      Leaving Elm Lake 6/4/15(Big Creek to left)  Leaving Elm Lake 6/14/15(Big Creek to left)   

Leaving Elm Lake 2014(Big Creek to left)     Leaving Elm Lake 2015(Big Creek to left)

06/25/2009-  Buddha and I were at the Danny Jackson Bark Park, when a storm appeared to the West, moving towards me and the park (moving East).  While I watched, I could see a lot of lightning. I had my pocket camera with me. This is a Casio EX-FC100. It can shoot high-speed video. I thought I'd try to catch some images of lightning with my camera. After a few tries shooting bursts of photos (It's all luck. I had to point and shoot and hope I caught something in the 30 images.) I decided instead to try for video. The camera can shoot up to 1000 frames per second (fps). It can't shoot at this rate for long for one "burst". (More details on how this works are on my Slow Motion Video page.)  Also, the frame size of the video is short and long (and rather small). Still, I decided to try. So, I just started filming, and panned across the buildings at a steady rate. I did this twice. I can't remember exactly how long I shot each time, but the camera won't allow more than about 30 seconds. I knew that I witnessed a few flashes while shooting, but couldn't be sure the camera saw them.

Although the camera shoots 1000 fps, captured frames are placed in a video file formatted to play back at 30 fps--which results in slow motion replay.  One second shot at 1000fps plays back at 30 fps, or 33.3 times slower.  Shooting 1 second at this rate results in 33 seconds of viewing time, and this increases in proportion. 10 seconds shot at 1000 fps will give 330 seconds of viewing time (or about 5 minutes)--and so on. That means that I had a lot of "dead" video to look through. With the right software, I can look at one frame at a time (which would take forever, ha ha) but each frame represents 1 thousandth of a second.
I reviewed the videos. I almost thought I didn't get anything, but finally found a few flashes. Even at 1000 fps, the lightning was very brief.  By using a number of video editing programs (Quicktime, Video Mach, Virtual Dub, Windows Movie Maker) I was able to resize the frame, and to slow down the action even more.
After resizing and slowing down the video, I captured frames from them. I did no other enhancements or alterations to the images.
Today's RICKUBISCAM shows the view to the Soutwest of my position at the park. The storm is moving left to right in the following frames, and the lightning strikes are South of me as I pan across.  Below are the frame captures. This stuff doesn't feature Buddha specifically, but she was there when it happened.

FIRST BOLT STREAMS DOWN                                 BRIGHT PULSE!                               IONIZED AIR MAINTAINS GLOW

                       GLOW FADES

             ESTABLISHING SHOT BETWEEN                    STREAMERS FROM THE GROUND?                   2ND BOLT, CONNECTION!

The weird artifact near the ground in the second image seems to be generated by the camera--perhaps because of the brightness of the image at that point.

                                    GLOW FADES                       RETURN STREAMER STARTS FROM GROUND           2ND BOLT, SECOND CONNECTION!                 THIS MAINTAINS LONGER.

              3RDBOLT, PRIMARY STREAMERS                        3RD BOLT, CONNECTION!                        IONIZED PATH MAINTAINS           RETURN STREAMER STARTS FROM GROUND.
The weird artifact near the ground in the first image seems to be generated by the camera--perhaps because of the brightness of the image at that point.

- --
         3RD BOLT, SECOND CONNECTION!                      IONIZED PATH MAINTAINS                              GLOW FADES          -

Although these bolts are bright, they were quite far away, judging by how long it took for the thunder to reach me. At first glance, it's somewhat interesting that the primary and return strokes have exactly the same shape--but these all happened in fractions of a second--long before air movement could change the shape of the ionization path.  Lightning occurs when a high charge potential builds between two points (ground and air, or air to air). The current winds its way between these points until a primary connection is made. Then the energy rushes to equalize, but sometimes this can flow one way, then the other until the charges dissipate. The rushing energy ionizes (charges) the air, making it conductive and causing it to glow. The surrounding air is rapidly heated and expands, causing thunder.
I've edited a video from these clips. It can be seen here:  Lightning at Danny Jackson Bark Park 1000fps wmv 5.1mb

06/18/2006  I've recently made several references to the low water levels in the park. Here are a series of images of 40 Acre Lake, taken on 6/18/2006. These were shot from the North length of the 40-Acre Lake Trail, and were taken as I moved East to West, starting from the Hoots Hollow Trail.  -----------------------

                                       LOOKING EAST, FROM HOOT'S BENCH                                                        ABOUT HALFWAY BETWEEN BENCH AND OBSERVATION TOWER                                     

                             HALFWAY TO TOWER, LOOKING WEST. 

For comparison, you can look at the material I shot in December of 2005 from not far from the halfway point I show in the images above. Even in December, the water level was lower than it should have been. You can look at this page, at the entry for December 4, 2005 to see some water in 40 Acre Lake, or look above that to the entry for November 28, 2004 to see what it looked like just before it got OVER filled and flooded.  If only that could happen now!

                                               AT THE OBSERVATION TOWER, LOOKING WEST.   

I really hope that we can get a good rain soon. The Houston area has been getting rain through June, but not much of it has fallen on the park. 

November 28, 2004 Today was certainly a NON-typical day at Brazos Bend State park. The Brazos River, and Big Creek-which meet at the Southeast end of the park-were both swollen with rainwater, and were much higher than usual. The Brazos River had breached its banks, and Big Creek was backflowing into the park via Pilant Slough, although it had already breached its banks in some areas. I was on the trails in the morning, and it was a beautiful day.
                                                                                                          ALLIGATOR WITH SKIN
However, the water slowly crept into the park. Here are some pictures I took as I walked the park, and also did a short riding patrol with Chuck and Sharon. I had scheduled two interpretive programs, or else I would have stayed out on the trails longer. The picture above shows an alligator that had come up onto the 40-Acre Lake trail (which hadn't flooded...yet) with a deerskin in its jaws (I said the alligator had a fur coat. I didn't say it was wearing it.) The skin had probably gotten washed into the water by the flooding, where the alligator had found it. The alligator moved back into the water and slowly swam off when I got closer.   Clicking on the images will show them larger.
       WITH SKIN, CLOSER                                                                 WATER FLOW AT 40 ACRE                                  40 ACRE HIGH WATER 

                     40 ACRE/PILANT BRIDGE                                              OBSERVATION TOWER
   ELM LAKE PICNIC AREA                                                              THAT'S BIG CREEK!                                                 HALE LAKE PAVILION 

       HALE LAKE FISHING PIER                                                     HALE LAKE PICNIC AREA
                        BLUESTEM TRAIL                                                  ISLE OF BAD INTENT                                              FLOATING BADNESS

                REALLY ANNOYED ANTS                                              FACING THE CAMPING LOOPS

As we went around Bluestem and Red Buckeyee trails, we encountered a number of floating ant mats. We stopped near one just long enough to get a few pictures (see  ISLE OF BAD INTENT, FLOATING BADNESS, and REALLY ANNOYED ANTS, above). These are floating islands made entirely of Fire Ants. This one was about 18 inches around. Here in Houston, mats of this type are a big problem when we have high water.
The flooded, displaced Fire Ants make a raft (or island) of their own bodies. They are very much alive, and will swarm onto anything they can that will get them out of the water. If they swarm onto something living, they "show their gratitude" by stinging the hell out of whatever they've climbed on. We moved on after a few pictures so we wouldn't risk the ant mat lighting on our Kaboda, and from there onto us! 

                         CAMPING LOOP                                                        AWAY FROM THE RIVER                                          NEARING BIG CREEK               

                          NO CAMPFIRES TONIGHT                                   THAT'S BIG CREEK AGAIN
These pictures were all taken before 12:00 PM Sunday. It was an odd feeling to ride around in the partly sunny, calm weather and see all this water slowly rising.
The water was still rising Sunday evening. If anyone is interested in visiting the park this coming week,it would be a good idea to call the park first and check conditions there.  The last news I got (today, December 1) is that most of the park was under water.

When Allison Hit Houston--Week of June 8, 2001

Through the week, various parts of Houston had been hit by rain, and some areas to the south of town had already received large amounts of rain. Then, on Friday evening, there were warnings of a probable visit by tropical storm Allison. I went to a movie directly after work (I saw "Evolution").  This was at multiplex cinema on the west side of town. To understand this behavior, I suppose you'd have to live here for some time. While rain is not a threat every day, flash flood warnings are not uncommon whenever rain is mentioned here.
After the movie, I drove to a restaurant not far from downtown Houston. On the way, I hit fairly heavy rain. While I was in the restaurant, I happened to look up at one of the television sets that was playing-sometime around 9:00 pm-and saw a Doppler radar image very similar to what I show below (figure 1). 

                                                                                 Figure 1.
I finished my meal, and drove home. On the way, I noticed that some of the streets started developing high water. I stayed on streets I was familiar with, and those I knew were higher--that is, that didn't dip under any overpasses, and so on. As I drove on, I notice water starting to rise, and tried to take some pictures with the digital camera I usually have with me.  Since I was still driving at the time, and the torrents of water made it difficult to see clearly, and the low light conditions; most of the pictures just didn't come out well. I made a detour near my apartment to go to an ATM. I found myself on a side street with alarmingly high water. I then drove home, and encountered more high water. On one of the main streets, the water was rising (figure 2). I got off these streets as soon as possible, and onto the lesser-traveled streets near my house. But, these weren't much better. (figure 3.) Click on the images to see them larger.

                                    Figure 2                                                                                                            figure 3
              This intersection is about a mile from my house.                                  This intersection is about one block from my house.  This is the high spot
              It's hard to tell, but that's water, not road surface.                               in the road I'm on. That truck went in up over its headlights. So did I. 

When I got home,I logged on, and got the Doppler radar image shown in Figure 1. Not long after that,I grabbed my video camera and took some movie footage directly outside my apartment door. Figure 4 (below)is an image from the video.Click hereto see the video clip.(flv video 2,519kb).
              figure 4.(click image to enlarge)                                                 figure 5.

I was very fortunate during this week. Take a look at the rainfall map (click on figure 5). I've marked where I live. Note that the heavy rainfall is not that far from where I am. In some spots they recorded over 30 inches of rain since  tuesday (June 5). The heavy rainfall hit close to downtown Houston, and on the other parts of town,  about 20-25 miles away from me.  Some of this occurred nearer the Gulf of Mexico and the Ship Channel--effectively "downstream" from where I am. Since they got so much water, though, the smaller amount  *I* received still caused flooding, since it had nowhere to go. I didn't know any of this Saturday morning. I went about my business, and this was mostly on the west side of town. I didn't see any current news media until I turned on the TV Saturday evening. I *had* heard that the heavy rain had disrupted newspaper deliveries, so I hadn't seen a newspaper. Although I knew we'd had flooding (I'd even seen some of it), I had just assumed that the water had receded much as it had done in my neighborhood.  Then, I received a huge shock when I turned on the TV. Every station was covering the disastrous flooding.  I don't know how much of this the rest of y'all saw on the news, but on the local stations it looked terrible.
The Houston Chronicle Online has a lot of coverage showing what happened this city that I call home. To those of you that have never been here, the pictures may not say  much. To me, they are quite a shock.  To see the full story, go to their page covering the flood.
Click on the link to get there: The Great Flood of 2001.

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