Despite the weeks of rain, and the now famous floods, Central Texas is no nearer to escaping approaching-desert status, thanks to a little thing called feedback loops. Stage 2 water restrictions persist, even though the lakes to the west of Austin have been “filled” (to 55%). That’s because the soil was so dry for so long, and then saturated so quickly, that the ongoing rain only served to wash way top soil—not to mention trees—which will result in less capacity to hold future rain, and thus more capacity to accelerate desertification, as less trees mean less shade, which means drier soil, which means more flash flooding, which means more soil erosion, which means… you get the idea.
In the meantime, the creeks in Austin certainly flexed their muscles on Monday. It’s a good thing the Pease Park/Shoal Creek riparian zone has been saturated with herbicides in recent weeks, for no apparently sound reason. All those chemicals are now in the Colorado River, which is the main source of drinking water for the region. Good thinking.