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The Official Blog of the City of Amarillo

Drainage - "When It Rains, It Pours"

The phrase “when it rains, it pours” is a bit of a cliché, but in the case of Amarillo weather, this phrase is more accurate than the best weather forecast.

Amarillo is known for its fierce and ferocious downpours, which are usually brief (fortunately), but dump rainwater on the city in torrents in a matter of minutes.

This past Saturday (June 1) was the perfect example.

A late evening storm pelted the city with rainfall in historic fashion.

A few numbers show why some Amarillo residents might have been considering building an ark:

  • According to the National Weather Service, Amarillo received 1.22 inches of rain on the evening of June 1, and another .03 inches of rain on June 2 (most coming in the early morning hours.)

  • Some parts of the city received 2.6 inches of rain in a span of about 30 minutes.

  • For perspective, the average amount of rainfall for the city for the month of June is 3.16 inches (according to the National Weather Service.) This means parts of the city received more than half the amount of rainfall that they usually receive in an entire month in a span of about 30-45 minutes.

  • Football is king in these parts, so a football comparison shows the impact. A deluge of 2.6 inches of rain equals 4.6 billion gallons of water. This equates to enough rain to cover 2,700 football fields with five feet of water.

Even with this type of historic storm, street and drainage structures in the city were back to normal operating functions within two hours of the primary part of the storm. In a more standard rain event, most city streets are clear within 40 minutes.

The city controls pump operating levels at five playa lakes (Lawrence, Martin Road, T-Anchor, McDonald and Bennett). In general, lakes still had roughly 25 percent capacity following the storm, and were back to 40 percent as of Monday.

Drainage fees are a primary reason the city is able to withstand these kinds of massive storms that dump epic amounts of rainwater on the city in relatively short – but powerful – fashion.

Drainage fees help the city pay for the maintenance and repair of storm inlets, drainage utility study reports, curbside repair and maintenance, lake pumps maintenance and drainage maintenance.

Drainage fees are not associated with property values, but rather property parcels based on impervious cover on land, such as rooftops, driveways, walkways and parking areas.



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