National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Significant River Flooding - August 28thThrough September 5th, 2001


During the week of August 28 through September 5, 2001, South Texas experienced a significant rainfall event in which 10 to 20 inches of rain fell across the area, providing much needed rainfall, but causing widespread flooding across the area.

The heavy rains caused significant flooding of area streams, creeks and rivers in the Coastal Bend, cutting off many roads, some major highways and stranding families in their homes. The most significant flooding occurred along the Guadalupe River near Victoria, Coleto Creek near Victoria, San Antonio River in Goliad, Aransas River at Skidmore, and San Fernando Creek in Alice. Click on the tabs above to view the images and flood summary for each river or creek during this flood event.

During the height of the storm, Texas DPS had to rescue folks by helicopter. Because of timely warnings, the hard work of our dedicated emergency managers and law enforcement, no lives were lost!

This rainfall event took place during the peak of hurricane season. Abundant tropical moisture from the remains of tropical storm Chantal moved up the western Gulf of Mexico into South Texas. The moisture collided with an upper level low pressure system parked over the state which allowed for the formation of showers and thunderstorms for several days.

The Doppler Radar Storm Total Precipitation Map shows where the heaviest rains fell

 

Map of where the flooding occurred

Very heavy rains fell in the Guadalupe River Basin over the week long period from August 27 to Sept 5th. Rainfall amounts of 10 to 20 inches were estimated across the area. The official observation point at Victoria Airport measured 11.98 inches. Water drainage into the Guadalupe River Basin caused the river to rise very rapidly on Aug 31 from 7.5 feet to 27.71 feet during the day on Aug 31. The Guadalupe leveled off at approximately 28.5 feet and remained at that high level for over 4 days cresting at 29.01 feet on Aug 3rd at 8pm. The river remained high because of the additional heavy rains that fell primarily over Victoria and Dewitt Counties.

The amount of flow going down the Guadalupe River during the height of the flood was measured at 26,988 cubic feet per second (cfs). How does this compare to the record floods of 1998? On October 20, 1998 the Guadalupe rose to 33.09 feet. The flow of water at that time was measured at an astonishing 466,000 cfs!

During the week long period, the Guadalupe River experienced major flooding in which a large portion of Riverside park was flooded, upper mission valley road was cut off and several homes were flooded in the Green Addition. Also, during the height of the heavy rains, Spring Creek was flooded cutting of several roads on the northwest side of town.

Below you will see a graph of the Guadalupe River as measured from the gauge at the Moody street bridge. In addition the following photographs show what the river looked like on Lower Mission Valley Road and in Riverside Park near the height of the flood.

Graph of river levels

Guadalupe River Photos

 

Graph of the location of Coleto Creek

Significant rains of 15 plus inches fell in the Coleto Creek basin which is located over western Dewitt, western Victoria and eastern Goliad counties. These rains produced a rapid rise on the Coleto Creek gauges upstream from the Coleto Creek Reservoir near Schroeder.

The water forced the reservoir officials to open the flood gates at the dam. The flow from the dam during the height of the event was measured over 40,000 cfs. Downstream the flow measured at the Highway 59 bridge was 21,037 feet, which reached a level of 22.33 feet.

How does this flood compare to the flood of record? During Hurricane Beulah, Sept 23, 1967, Coleto Creek crested at 42.0 feet. This equates to a flow of 236,000 cfs.

Below you will see a graph of Coleto Creek as measured from the gauge at the Highway 59 bridge. In addition the following photographs show what the Creek looked like at the Highway 59 bridge near the height of the flood. On a normal day Coleto Creek is just a trickle. Graph of river levels

Coleto Creek Photos

 

graph of river location

The San Antonio River experienced major flooding during the week of Aug 27 to Sept 5th. National Weather Service Doppler Radar estimates show 8 to 15 inches fell across the San Antonio River basin as far north as the city of San Antonio. The San Antonio River rose from a level of 3.5 feet on Aug 30th to 23.84 feet in less than 24 hours. The river then went on to a crest of 41.40 feet on Sept 2nd at 4:45 pm, which equates to a flow of 24,762 cfs.

How does this flood compare to the flood of record? During Hurricane Beulah, Sept 23, 1967, the San Antonio River crested at 53.7 feet. This equates to a flow of 138,000 cfs.

Below you will see a graph of the San Antonio River as measured from the gauge on the Highway 183 bridge. In addition the following photographs show what the River looked like near the height of the flood. Most of the Goliad State park was flooded.

graph of river levels

San Antonio River Photos

 

Map of the location of the Aransas River at Skidmore

The hardest hit area in South Texas was just east of Skidmore. Unofficial rainfall reports ranged from 17 inches to 22.5 inches during a 6 day period between August 27th and September 1st. This caused the Aransas River to swell to an estimate of 22 feet during the morning of Thursday, August 30th and again in the afternoon of Friday, August 31st. This major flooding caused the evacuation of 100 families along the river banks. Most of the people headed the warnings and left when asked by county officials, but several people had to be rescued by a Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter. DPS officials said 20 minutes after an elderly couple in their 80's were pulled from their home, waist deep in water, their house exploded due to a rupture of the couples butane tank. The top half of the house burned down to the water level. Another mobile home from one block upstream, was sitting in the driveway of the exploded house on its side at a 45 degree angle. Total damage estimates for the Skidmore area is over 2 million dollars. Several livestock were drowned, but no one lost their life.

Below you will see a graph of the Aransas River as measured from the gauge near the low bridge 4 miles northeast of Skidmore. In addition the following photographs show what the water did to the community living along the river. As a bench mark, the river reached the first powerline on the pole above the red truck (3rd Photograph).

On a normal day the Aransas River is just a trickle. Many commented they hadn't seen this type of flooding since Hurricane Beulah Hit in 1967. During Beulah Sept 2, 1967, the Aransas River crested at 42.22 feet which amounts to 82,800 cfs of flow. graph of the river levels

Aransas River Photos

 

graph of river location

Most of the damage in Alice occurred in the creek bed of Lattas Creek, in the Rancho Alegre area, on the southwest side of town. Doppler radar estimates, on Thursday, August 30th and Friday, August 31st ranged from 6 to 10 inches. A few local citizens that were surveyed said they were caught by surprise on the morning of Friday, August 31st, when they awoke to standing water in their houses! Red Cross officials report that 29 homes received major damage during the flood event and 50 suffered minor damage.

How does this flood compare to the flood of record? On Sept 12, 1971, the San Fernando Creek crested at 16.51 feet. This equates to a flow of 26,800 cfs.

Below you will see a graph of the San Fernando Creek as measured from the gauge at the Highway 44 bridge. In addition the following photographs show the type of flooding that occurred on the southwest side of town.

graph of river levels

San Fernando Creek Photos