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Lake & Rivers Local News

Canyon Lake Area Floods Exactly 48 Years After 1972 Disaster

The Guadalupe River after today's storms, as seen from the bridge on FM 306 near Whitewater Sports and the Maricopa Lodge. This part of the river is known as the "horseshoe" by tubers. @KarlaHeldPhotography

Thunderstorms pounded Canyon Lake on Tuesday, dropping between six to 13 inches of rain after moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, southerly winds and an area of low pressure probably nixed any chance Comal County Judge Sherman Krause will declare a burn ban at Commissioners Court on Thursday.

By sunset, the swollen Guadalupe River was described as “chocolate milk” by a kayaker accustomed to whitewater rafting.

It was a quiet ending to a day that saw flood sirens activated along the River Road, barricades erected by Comal County Sheriff’s Office deputies along parts of FM 2673, flooded cars submerged in parking lots, and several inches of water inside Lowe’s Market in Startzville.

By midnight on Tuesday, Canyon Lake’s mean water level rose to 906.14 feet from the 905.92 feet recorded earlier on Monday, according to waterdatafortexas.org.

The Guadalupe River crested at a rate of 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) by early Tuesday afternoon. Before the rains hit, the river @Sattler was running at 67.7 cfs. By midnight on Tuesday, rates dropped to around 100 cfs.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Natural Resource Specialist Samuell Price warned recreationists to stay out of the Guadalupe River.

“It’s the type of water that will drown you if you get into it,” he said.

All of the runoff from Tuesday’s rains went straight into the Guadalupe River, causing Comal County to warn people near the river to move to higher ground around 3 p.m.

Although spectacular, today’s flooding was considered “minor” by county officials, who said they activated sirens on River Road out of an “abundance of caution.”

Tuesday’s flooding coincided with a deadly date in weather history, the Central Texas Flood of 1972.

Between May 11-12 in 1972, rain fell hard and fast, causing the Guadalupe River to breach its banks and pour into New Braunfels, Seguin and San Marcos, according to onlyinyourstate.com. The flood killed at least 11 people, including two New Braunfels residents. To read an official report about that weather event, click here.

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  1. Craig Chaloupka May 13, 2020

    So I was there over a Memorial Week end. Took a BnB at Billy Goats Gruff for the week-end then move to thier best camp spot after the Holiday. My date n I were on the river in a rubber canoe when a Horrible T-storm hit. The evacuated the valley and more than 80 Helicopter rescues. Not sure the year. They tried to snag us at our camp site but we were moving too fast. Saw brand new pick up slide into the water when parking lot washed away. The folks we rented from had a net strung out to catch us and did. What a harrowing day on the river for us.


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