What does "flash flood alley" mean?
Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images
- 1 min read

What does "flash flood alley" mean?

Austin sits right in the middle of a stretch of land at high risk of flooding. Why? Four reasons, including the Hill Country's higher elevation.

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Introduction

Central Texas is known for its rich history, culture and diverse music scene – not to mention the most beautiful bluebonnets. However, the weather in Central Texas can become extreme and lead to dangerous flooding.

Austin sits right in the middle of what is known as “flash flood alley,” which stretches from Dallas to San Antonio, along the Balcones Escarpment.

Why does this area have a higher potential for flooding than anywhere else in the United States?

  1. Abundant atmospheric moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean can be converted into heavy rainfall when storms develop.
  2. The higher elevation of the Hill Country gives unstable air extra lift to help with storm development and intensity.
  3. This region has rocky, clay-rich, and shallow soil, which limits the amount of rainfall the ground can absorb before it creates runoff to streams and rivers.
  4. The expansion of urban growth along the Interstate 35 corridor, and the replacement of green spaces with pavement, has recently contributed to major flash floods in this region.

To prepare for severe weather season, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with atxfloods.com, which monitors more than 2,000 low water crossings in Austin and its surrounding counties. 

They don't say "turn around, don't drown" over and over again for nothin'.