Zack Shields talks rain and AFD on standby flooding

The "April showers bringing May flowers" thing may end up being realistic this year.  Rain is on the way once again.
Fox 7 meteorologist Zack Shields says it's normal to get more rain in the spring but not this much.

"Well it seems like over the years we've been in drought mode so we haven't really worried about flash flooding.  Well that's all changed," Zack said.

And we've seen a huge rebound in lake levels.

"If you factor in Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan, 99% full.  Huge rebound.  Keep this in mind...since late Fall of 2014, Lake Travis has gone up almost 60 feet," he said.

Zack says we've gotten nearly a foot of rain in Austin this year.  Most of that rain we've seen in just the past month.

"The ground is water-logged, all the creeks and streams, rivers, they're all full.  The lakes are nearly full.  All of them here in Central Texas so when we get these heavy rain events we always have to be on the watch now for some flash flooding," Shields said.

Palmer Buck with the Austin Fire Department says crews are ready for this round of storms.

"Our crews change shifts at noon.  They've been alerted that we have impending weather," Buck said.

Buck says the storms that came through earlier in the week had fire crews out on power line calls all night due to the high winds.  Ahead of this system, AFD has boats hooked up to trucks at 5 stations across the city.  Ready to go.

"We do know that with all of the water we have, all of our streams are full, all our lakes are full...if we have a significant rainfall in any particular area we will have flash flooding.  So we will have people that might be in peril and we're ready to take care of that," Buck said.

Due to all of the recent rainfall, the LCRA has been sending water downstream by opening floodgates in the Austin-area dams.  Earlier this week the Austin Fire Department took advantage of that by doing some swift water training -- something they may be able to put to use very soon.

"The lakes are up and we got almost every one of our swift water technicians through to operate the boats and operate in the water so that "just in time training."  So we are about as sharpened as we can get ready to respond in these types of emergencies," Buck said.

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