MARILLO, Texas (KVII) — Heavy rains over the past week have played a toll on flooding potentials in the Texas panhandle and east New Mexico. Many areas have received over 5" of rain since the beginning of May and localized areas have surpassed 10" of rainfall. This is very significant for a geographical region that only averages 15-to-25 inches of rain annually. This period of prolific rain has saturated the ground making flooding very likely when moderate to heavy downpours move through.
Severe weather will once again threaten the South Plains Saturday evening well as Sunday night before a short quiet period early next week. All four hazards of large hail, damaging winds, an isolated tornado and flash flooding will be possible but flooding is becoming the most significant risk if it hasn't already. In Hereford, Texas they received 7" of rain fall in a little more than an hour Friday night and this lead to major flash flooding on the south side of town. Route 385 is shut down until further notice as of Saturday afternoon due to debris and water flowing over 1/4 mile of the highway. This heavy rain led to numerous Hereford residents waking up to water in their homes Saturday morning.
All of that water is moving down the Tierra Blanca Creek headed for Buffalo lake which has been dry for several years. This is a rather small tributary and the lake only has a storage capacity of 18,150 acre-feet. Buffalo lake is expected to fill up over the next few days and then concerns for flooding will have to be monitored further downstream towards Canyon, Texas and Palo Duro Canyon State Park. While the daily severe storm threat comes to an end Sunday evening, there may still be a few localized downpours of rain on Monday and Tuesday but attention is being drawn to the second half of next week where another significant to possibly major rain event could take shape.
The threat for severe storms will also reside with storm chances next week but what is becoming more concerning is the potential amount of rain that could come with it. Longer range models are suggesting a similar scenario to what has been experienced the last five days to re-occur from Wednesday into next weekend. This would drench an already wet ground even more increasing the chance for a significant to possibly major flood event late next week.