Surprisingly powerful storms Monday brought winds strong enough to flip an RV trailer, left thousands in Central Austin without power and rained enough to boost lake levels at Lake Travis by half a foot.
Eastern Travis County saw some of the heaviest rainfall in the Austin metro area, according to totals recorded by the National Weather Service and the Lower Colorado River Authority. Rain measuring 8.27 inches fell southwest of Manor, gauges near Pflugerville recorded 5.14 inches, and storms left about 4.75 inches at Walnut Creek near Webberville Road.
The storms Sunday and Monday also brought much-needed rain to the tributaries in the Hill Country that replenish the Highland Lakes, a critical water resource for Central Texas.
In Burnet and Blanco counties, 9.81 inches of rain fell just outside of Meadowlakes and up to 6.9 inches were recorded southeast of Marble Falls, the weather service reported. As much as 6.79 inches fell in Burnet, 6.5 inches were recorded in Spicewood and 4.27 inches were measured near Horseshoe Bay, according to the LCRA gauges.
LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose said runoff water in Blanco and Burnet counties contributed to the rise in water levels of Lake Travis because the rain that fell in those counties, the Pedernales River and smaller creeks feed the Highland Lakes.
“That’s what boosted the level up about half a foot,” Rose said, noting that much of the rain soaked into the dry ground.
After the rain stopped, Lake Travis’ elevation was 664.8 feet above mean sea level by the afternoon, according to the LCRA, or about 75 percent full. Lake Travis is considered full when the water levels reach 681 feet.
Levels at Lake Buchanan remained “pretty much unchanged” after rain moved through the area, Rose said. About 1 to 2 inches fell into areas that flow into Lake Buchanan, including the upper Colorado River, he said. But that rain takes one or two days to get to the lake, he said.
The elevation at Lake Buchanan, which is considered full when it reaches 1,018 feet, has hovered around 1,015 feet for the past 30 days, the LCRA said.
The Austin metro area has been mostly dry after a month of hot temperatures and more than two weeks without rain. Temperatures throughout May sat mostly in the upper 90s, according to the weather service. An average temperature of 80.6 degrees last month tied the record set in 1996 for Austin’s warmest May, Rose said.
Leading up to Monday’s predawn thunderstorms, Austin temperatures had hit a record-matching 101 degrees Saturday and 100 degrees Sunday, the first triple-digit temperatures of the year.
A smattering of rain began dousing the Hill Country on Sunday afternoon, primarily around Fredericksburg and near Marble Falls.
As the storms arrived in the wee hours Monday, strong and gusty winds, some blowing as strong as 50 mph, led to downed power lines and widespread outages.
In far East Austin, high winds flipped a small trailer at the Oak Forest RV Park at 8207 Canoga Ave. around 2 a.m., the Austin Fire Department reported. A woman in her 60s and a man in his 70s were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, according to Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.
Hours after the last storm clouds dissipated, Austin Energy still reported at least 119 outages across the city around noon Monday, leaving more than 4,420 people without power, according to the utility’s outage map.
More than 13,000 customers of Oncor, the utility that serves parts of Travis and Williamson counties, remained without power in Round Rock and parts of northeastern Travis County, including Wells Branch, Pflugerville and Hutto, on Monday afternoon.
CENTRAL TEXAS RAINFALL
Highest rainfall totals (in inches) in area counties:
8.27 — 3 miles southwest of Manor
7.12 — 3 miles northeast of Pflugerville
5.41 — 2 miles northeast of Pflugerville
7.63 — Taylor
2.72 — Jollyville
2.58 — 2 miles southwest of Cedar Park
9.81 — 2 miles southeast of Meadowlakes
8.96 — 6 miles southeast of Burnet
6.9 — 2 miles southeast of Marble Falls
4.83 — 1 mile northeast of Round Mountain
3.63 — 4 miles south of Spicewood
3.54 — 9 miles southwest of Sunrise Beach Villiage