Local Fallout From Unusually Heavy Rains

One dead; Zilker Zephyr closed indefinitely in flooding aftermath

Barrier at Shoal Creek trail after last year's flooding
Barrier at Shoal Creek trail after last year's flooding (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Heavy rains continued to hit Austin over the past week, causing local officials to close parks, trails, and access to Lady Bird Lake for recreational use. After closing on May 8, the Barton Creek Greenbelt reopened Monday afternoon, with city officials urging caution on the trails due to slippery conditions. Sadly, the Zilker Zephyr – the miniature train that runs through Zilker Park – is still closed while crews work on repairs made necessary by the rains. City officials were also prompted to ward people away from the Shoal Creek landslide area, which is prone to movement after heavy rains (in addition to increasing the flood risk along Lamar Boulevard).

The rains have been usually high for this time of year, but most residential areas in Austin have not flooded. The Lower Colorado River Authority opened seven floodgates within the Highland Lakes region, but as of press time, only those at the Mansfield and Tom Miller dams remained open. One flooding-related death was reported on May 8. A body was recovered by Austin-Travis County EMS in Lady Bird Lake near the Congress bridge, about 30 min­utes after the man was reported to have been swept away by floodwaters along Shoal Creek.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Flooding, floods, heavy rain, Lady Bird Lake, ATCEMS, Zilker Zephyr, Shoal Creek landslide, Lower Colorado River Authority

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