Tag Archives: McDonald Lake

Water, water everywhere … in Amarillo!

It’s been longer than many of us can remember when Amarillo city officials have fielded inquiries about what to do with excess water.

Greenways Lake is a privately owned playa at the far southwest corner of the city. Residents there asked the city for help in getting rid of the water. The city response? No can do. The water is the responsibility of the developers.


Meanwhile, the city is having to deal with playas at other publicly owned sites, such as nearby McDonald Lake at the corner of John Stiff Memorial Park at 45th Avenue and Coulter Street.

I’ve got some interest in the McDonald Lake problem, as it sits just about 3/4-mile from my house — not that we’re in danger of flooding in my neighborhood.

Still, the rising water has closed the park entrance at the lake; water has inundated the walkway around the lake and covered up the park benches.

I feel for the city in having to deal with this problem.

We’ve endured years of drought conditions. We haven’t had this much rain since, well, many years ago.

As for residents living near the privately owned lake at the Greenways residential development, city officials fear the consequence of pumping water from private property and possibly affecting other residents.

It’s one thing to have practical knowledge of how to react to lack of moisture. It’s quite another to acquire it quickly when we’ve got too much of it.


Might it be time to examine flood control?

flooded street

Is it just me, or are others out there wondering about the quality of our storm-drain system in Amarillo?

My wife and I have lived here now for slightly more than 20 years. My memory at times is a bit foggy, but I’m pretty sure this is the worst rain event we’ve seen since we moved here from the Gulf Coast — where we used to get a lot of rain in a very short period of time.

The city has its hands full this Memorial Day weekend. We just came back from a grocery run and discovered water had flooded from McDonald Lake, across Coulter. Motor vehicles were stalled as motorists tried to slosh their way through the muddy water.

Us? We were OK, as we drove our big ol’ 3/4-ton truck through it without any difficulty.

In our two-decades plus here, this is the first time we’ve seen that much water across Coulter.

The other traditional trouble spots I’m quite certain are disasters this morning.

Well, once City Hall gets through this situation, I’m hoping the city’s senior administrative staff sits down and has a serious after-action meeting to discuss ways to improve matters for the next big rain event.

It also might be good for City Manager Jarrett Atkinson and Mayor Paul Harpole to conduct a press conference to explain — in detail — what happened out there and whether the city has any plans afoot to try to correct it. You know, things like drainage construction or perhaps fine-tuning its emergency response — if it’s needed — to help folks cope with what this most unusual weather event.

It’s been a long time coming. Most of us are quite grateful for the moisture (a term that seems quaint, given the volume of water that’s fallen from the sky).

Residents of a modern American city, though, shouldn’t have to worry about flooding every time it pours.

Or is this what we can expect — all the time?

Fourth night, more rain

For as much I used to bitch about the weather while growing up in rainy, damp, dank, dark, Portland, Ore., I’m really loving this rainy, damp, dank, dark weather here on the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle.

You see, this is not normal here.

Normal weather bores me to tears. I got bored and disgusted with all that rain back in my hometown. In my current hometown, Amarillo, I’ve grown bored and disgusted with the incessant, relentless sunshine.

Oh, have I mentioned the wind that blows constantly around here?

It’ll take some time for me to grow bored with this moisture. Heaven knows we’ve all prayed our brains out for it to arrive.

I’ve heard some good news about Lake Meredith, about how the Canadian River is actually flowing and that it’s dumping water into the lake. I see the playas — particularly McDonald Lake up the street from our home — filling with water almost to overflowing.

How can I complain about that? Given the drought we’ve had for seemingly forever, you won’t hear a discouraging word from me.

It’ll take some time for me to become bored with this rain.

Keep it coming.

Spring is springing forth

The long, cold winter is about to end. Spring’s official arrival isn’t set for another week.

However, I need to share what I just witnessed on a walk through the neighborhood with my bride.

I witnessed the first signs of spring. They’re showing up in people’s lawns, on the trees that are beginning to bud, if ever so imperceptibly. I’m hearing more lawnmowers roaring. I’m seeing more people out walking — just like my wife and me — with their children in strollers or their puppies on leashes.

This truly is my favorite season of the year.

Other people tell me they love autumn the most. The summer gives way to the cooling breezes, the leaves turn colors and then they fall off the trees. That’s all fine.

The leaves also die. The trees grow dormant. The grass loses its luster and it, too, goes to sleep for the winter.

Me? I am a revival sort of fellow. I like the season where Mama Nature wakes everything up.

We’ve lived on the High Plains of Texas for slightly more than 19 years now and we’ve watched these cycles play out with each passing year. This year — or maybe it’s just my imagination — it seems the Texas Tundra became barren more quickly than in many previous years. I recall around early November driving past McDonald Lake at the corner of John Stiff Memorial Park just north of our home and noticing that the grass around the lake had gone from green to brown virtually overnight.

Then I noticed everyone’s yards had done the same thing.

The cold set in. It didn’t let up. We didn’t set any low-temperature records this year, but it surely seems as though the winter clamped its grip on us early and kept it there for what seemed like forever.

Snowfall? The National Weather Service said we’ve gotten 12 inches or so this winter, down a couple of inches from normal.

It’s been dry. And cold. For a long time.

It is now giving way to that time of renewal. I saw it this afternoon on a lovely walk through the ‘hood. I’m hoping, though, we avoid one of those late-season blue northers.

I am officially ready for spring. Bring it — and some drenching rain too.