WFO Amarillo Meteorologist-in-Charge Jose Garcia presents a replica of the high water mark sign to Canyon Fire Chief and EOC Director Mike Webb as ABRFC Service Coordination Hydrologist Bill Lawrence looks on (Photo: WFO Amarillo)
(Nov. 4, 2010) - The National Weather Service forecast office in Amarillo recently unveiled a new high water mark sign in Canyon, Texas. The unveiling ceremony marked the May 26, 1978 flood when water from the Palo Duro Creek rose to a level of 13 feet, topping the flood stage by 8.3 feet.
In addition to Amarillo staff, representatives from the Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center in Tulsa, Okla. and the city of Canyon participated in the ceremony at Canyon's Hunsley Park.
"We hope the sign will serve as an educational tool for people who frequent the park," said Jose Garcia, meteorologist-in-charge of the Amarillo forecast office. "If just one person reads this sign and learns how to protect himself or herself from floods – then all of our efforts will be worthwhile."
On May 26th, 1978, severe thunderstorms with very heavy rain developed to the west of Canyon. Bucket surveys indicated amounts in excess of 10 inches. The heavy rain caused extensive flash flooding of Palo Duro and Tierra Blanca Creeks, which killed four people and caused approximately $20 million in property damage.
Severe flooding is part of the history of many communities throughout the United States, yet many of the residents are not fully aware of the potential for floods in their area. To help raise that awareness, the National Weather Service began a project to install high water mark signs in communities that have experienced severe flooding.
Since the project began in 2006, nearly 60 signs have been installed in 13 states. The Canyon high water sign is the third in Texas.
The forecast office in Amarillo provides official weather services for 23 counties in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. The Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center prepares river stage forecasts for major rivers in the nation's southern plains region covering approximately 211,000 square miles.