The Wash Finally Ran.

For days we’ve been treated to afternoon thunderboomers, some of which dumped a lot of water. On all sides of us, but never quite here. Until yesterday afternoon. Around four we were the lucky winners.

A desert storm can dump an amazing amount of water in a short time. At least it amazes me. Gullies – dry for years – become brief but enthusiastic waterfalls. All that water works its way to the wash. After the first big dump, I watched water pour into the wash from the ridges on either side – including the one I was standing on. That water ran onto the wash for perhaps a hundred yards downstream from each gully, then soaked into the sand and disappeared. But more would come. Water was collecting, I suspected, on the much rockier and less permeable floor of the canyons upstream. When that water came downstream, it would come in a flood.

An hour later the real storm broke. This time I unplugged my ‘pooter, because there was no interval at all between the lightning hits and the thunder. All I could do was huddle, wait, and kinda hope. I’ve found no damage, though I saw lightning strike the higher ridge to the east. I got a call around 8:30 from my neighbor J, who said there was a fire a mile to his south. In this patchy brush, as soaked as everything is, it’s hard to imagine it would have spread much though you never know. I’ll get a bigger update later this morning.

The rain fell and fell. It took a while, but the wash finally let go. Not a record by any means, not very deep. I’ve seen it make much bigger changes in the topography of the wash. But bank-to-bank, and that doesn’t happen every year.

It’s always pretty cool to watch.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to The Wash Finally Ran.

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    No pictures? 🙁

    But glad you and your ‘puter are ok.

    I remember living in a rural canyon that became a major waterway once, and slightly lesser ones other times. The major one left a 40 (deep) by 90 foot (wide) trench where the road more or less had run before. Took months to get it back where cars could easily travel on it… and it was never quite the same, of course. We lost about 25 feet or so of of land along the edge of the road. Oh, we still had it, but it was 40 feet lower than the rest of the place. Changed our driveway considerably!

  2. Joel says:

    I’d have got pictures, ML, but it was at night! Anyway, it wasn’t nearly as good as this one.

  3. Joel says:

    And last year the gully behind the Lair took out my driveway there, where it joins the wash. It just all went away overnight. The wash is usually my highway, but it can be evil.

  4. Tam says:

    While I was visiting Art down in Terlingua, I had a ringside seat for a flash flood in Terlingua Creek from up in his little aerie.

    The wild thing was that it wasn’t even raining where we were, but on the flats to the north.

    You could watch it rain over the Chisos from his porch, too.

    Man, I gotta get back down there…

  5. MamaLiberty says:

    Indeed, Tam. When you live in desert canyon country, it can get hairy sometimes. I used to ride up in the hills and arroyos a lot, and always kept an eye on the sky. First sign of rain, I either went home fast, or found high ground. Much preferred the first, of course. Those desert storms can be fierce and none of my horses were really happy being out in an electric storm, quite aside from the rain and wind. Made life exciting sometimes. 🙂

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