Adventure Speaking



Flash Flooding

Pecos, Texas - May 18, 2015
Every time I go storm chasing, I encounter some new, something I haven't seen before. Today was... Interesting.
We were chasing a tornado-warned storm near the town of Pecos, Texas and one thing to keep in mind is that this region has already seen tremendous amounts of rain and flooding in recent days, so we knew the ground was already saturated, and that flooding was likely.
As we drove north, the ditches began to be filled with water, then there was water on the road. The situation was getting worse. Tremendous amounts rain and hail had been coming down in one small area to the point where there was low lying hail-fog obscuring our visibility. There were 6-8 inches of hail drifts in places.
What happened next was the most intense flash flooding event I've been in.
The road was now completely covered and impossible to see. The hail had stripped a lot of the leaves off of the trees, and they were floating in the brown water, along with tremendous amounts of hail, turning the flash-flood waters into a slurry of water, dirt, ice and vegetation. It looked like a horizontal landslide. That's the best way I can describe it.
We couldn't turn back because it took tremendous effort to get where we were, plus we knew that the water was rising behind us to the point where we saw several flooded out cars, so we had little choice but to move forward. I know, I know. "Turn around, don't drown" It's the slogan that reminds people of how dangerous crossing flooded roads can be. However, I had a plan...
We waited at the edge of the water until an unwise pickup truck driver decided to go for it. Heading towards us from the other direction, he made it. The road was not undercut, and my clearance was higher than his, so I should be OK.
Even while parked, the movement of the debris filled water gave the optical illusion of movement. It was a bizarre sensation. Once I put the van into gear and hit the gas, we were committed. It was like a river crossing. I could feel the current of the water pushing the van from the left side, but I could steer into the current to compensate. When we reached the other side, I was incredibly relieved.... So was everyone else!
I do not recommend doing this. Here's the video.