Backyard Nature Wednesday: April showers

Texans like to brag that everything is bigger here. It's a sentiment that I have heard expressed in many ways regarding any number of things since I married a Texan and moved here back in the mid '70s. Little did I know that the boast would also be appropriate for Texas-style April showers.

We live about thirty minutes outside Houston, that behemoth city that sprawls all over much of Southeast Texas. Houston is notoriously flat, with a downtown that is about 50 feet above sea level. The city slopes downward toward the Gulf Coast and it is crisscrossed by numerous bayous, streams, and rivers that drain into the Gulf. Anytime we get a heavy dew, it can be prone to flooding.

Well, we had a very heavy dew over the weekend. A storm reached us early Sunday night and settled in to spend the night. All Sunday night and Monday morning thunder rolled and rain fell, often in torrents. It brought back unsettling memories of Hurricane Ike in September, 2008.

When I was finally able to check our rain gauge at mid-day on Monday, I found that we had received 9.60 inches of rain. I was actually surprised. I had thought it would be more. Some areas not far from us received as much as 17 inches. We were relatively lucky. 

Much of Houston and Harris County were not so lucky. They are in the throes of yet another of their periodic massive flooding events as more water flows in from upstream, and many of the waterways have not yet crested. 

At our place, we are more or less high and dry. There are no flood waters threatening our house, although there is plenty of standing water in low parts of our yard. And it is raining again today. Several years ago, we had a French drain installed along the back and southern perimeters of our house, draining down to the street. It's probably the best thing we've done since we've lived here.

We live less than a mile from Spring Creek, one of those many aforementioned waterways that traverse the area, and it is out of its banks and currently flooding a major highway that crosses it. The weather forecasters are saying that our rain should be tapering off toward the end of the week and then perhaps we'll have a chance to dry out.  

Texans are certainly no strangers to weird weather of all kinds. In 2010-2011, we suffered through extreme drought and had no rain for months. Plants died, large trees died, animals died. It was horrible. We were under water restrictions and were not able to water our gardens sufficiently. I told myself then that I would never again complain about too much rain, so don't consider this a complaint! It's just a recognition that all those boasts about things being bigger in Texas - even their April showers - may have some basis in truth. 


  1. Whoa! I have to text my son right now! BTW, I will be in Houston for a few days on the last weekend in May for my granddaughter's graduation. I didn't realize you lived so close to the city. Would it be possible for us to meet? Not trying to intrude but I would love to see your yard IRL and spend a bit of time with you.

    1. That would be lovely, Judy, but I'm not sure what my availability will be. I'll have to catch you later. I hope your son and his family are all high and dry.

    2. They are. The floods missed their neighborhood and the location of my son's job. And the kids got two days off from school anyway.

  2. Enjoyable post thank you for sharing

  3. It seems there isn't a happy balance any more. We've either got too much heat or too little, too much rain or not enough. Hope it all dries up soon.

    1. Well, the sun is out this afternoon so there is hope.

  4. Wow! I think you can safely say that everything is bigger in Texas. ;-)


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