Like part of the old saying goes about the month of March, 2022 came in like a lion.
Just a month and a half into the year and the area and most of the state was hit hard by Winter Storm Uri. There was warning but no one seemed to have been able to imagine the impact the storm would have. Just eight months later, rains brought a localized flash flooding event to Guadalupe County, sweeping cars off the road and sending first responders out in droves to rescue stranded motorists.
Winter Storm Uri
Low temperatures started out in the mid-40s the week leading up to Uri and Mack Morris, a National Weather Service meteorologist, predicted drastic dips in temperatures and possible rain for Valentine’s Day weekend locally.
Predictions changed to freezing rain and sleet to go along with the low temperatures as the weekend inched closer. Residents were warned to stay home and out of the “very dangerous” impending conditions.
The atmosphere did not disappoint as destructive and disruptive weather — featuring snow and ice — slammed into Texas, including the Guadalupe County region.
As precipitation and frigid temps made roads impassable and treacherous, Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher signed a disaster declaration letting the public know how serious the storm was.
School districts canceled classes, municipalities halted city services, and utility users saw widespread disruptions that made things even more hairy.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported realizing a strain on the state’s power grid and ordered utilities across the state to conduct rolling brown outs to conserve energy.
Seguin Mayor Donna Dodgen signed a disaster declaration for the city and while power and water remained out for days, city employees helped residents as best they could. City crews opened a water distribution station at the Seguin Events Complex-Coliseum, where residents pulled up with their own containers and filled up with gallons of water for personal use.
The storm even called for adjustments with how The Seguin Gazette conducted business. Newspaper leadership laid out a plan that sent home computers with employees in the event the icy conditions would hamper driving.
Staff members worked together to put out an edition remotely working through rolling blackouts and brownouts, and internet outages, while trying to stay safe and warm. Businesses, organizations and other entities did the same, sometimes more.
Linemen from the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative braved below-freezing temperatures to try to restore power where they could. For their efforts, owners of local eatery Dilly Deli served warm meals to GVEC and other city workers for free.
Other community members got in on the act and provided essentials to those in need.
Once the harsh weather had moved on and the county thawed, county officials took a step back, assessed what happened and expressed gratitude to the community for the tremendous response during the emergency event. It took a team to get through it.
“First of all, I want to thank the public,” Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke said. “This is one of the things we haven’t seen supposedly in the past 30 years and I don’t think it was this bad 30 years ago.”
Remnants of Pacific Coast Hurricane Pamela bring flash flooding to Guadalupe County
Remnants of Hurricane Pamela made landfall Oct. 13, crossed the country and made their way to Texas to combine with an upper-level storm system and drop buckets of rain on Guadalupe County in a matter of a few hours.
The copious amounts of rain caused creeks and low-water crossings to quickly fill and spill over their banks in the early, pre-dawn hours.
More than a dozen unsuspecting motorists found themselves getting carried away by raging waters after unknowingly driving into water-filled roads.
“Some of the challenges we faced this morning was many drivers not being aware of water over the roadway while driving into work, driving home from work,” Guadalupe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder said. “We had several stranded motorists and water rescues that were conducted.”
A majority of water rescues happened on the western end of the county, west of the Guadalupe River, he said. Most affected were areas around communities like Marion, Santa Clara, New Berlin and McQueeney.
The storm caused a large area of South Central Texas to receive widespread rainfall along the Interstate 35 corridor, with rain totals measuring between 4 and 6 inches and even higher totals nearing 10 inches fell across Gonzales County.