While in college, I had a roommate from St. Louis who described Texas weather as “not able to make up its mind,” or capricious.
Though summer officially started Monday, it’s unknown if the heavy rain seen during the spring months will return.
In 2007, I remember my internship at a news station in Dallas in which it rained all summer long.
At first, I was disappointed when I wasn’t allowed to go check out a guy’s home floating in the midst of the floodwaters that he put floating devices on it, because I was a “liability.”
However, a few stories on my embarrassing resume reel that’s floating around somewhere on YouTube involved weather-related stories.
One was about a resident whose backyard was falling into a nearby creek because of erosion.
Another was after a creek flooded a mobile home park and the mayor of that particular Dallas-Fort Worth suburb told the reporter I shadowed that they couldn’t move the floodplain and the residents would need to move.
It was also during that summer that I learned a high school classmate, who also had been the class president and was a medical missionary-type organization, drowned in a riptide accident in Africa.
I’ve always loved being in the water and used to beg my parents to go to the lake or swimming during summer months.
However, I’ve always had what I consider a healthy phobia of water. As a child, friends used to play what they called “the dunking game,” to hold someone’s head under the water.
Immediately it was known that I would hop out of the water. To date, I will become hysterical if someone holds my head underwater, because for me, my No. 1 phobia is drowning.
I can swim, but the thought of being unable to breathe freaks me out.
With the recent rains, I’ve noticed what are supposed to be funny photos on social media that depict people using floating tubes in the floodwaters along streets or making fast food orders in the tubes.
I have yet to “like” one of those photos. Growing up in East Texas, kids used ropes to jump into creeks, and swimming in water holes was considered recreation.
However, as an adult, I’ve seen too many accident reports citing the velocity of water in ditches and the water pressure along with a lot of other technical information.
A few of those reports also mention how the water can look calm on top to an unsuspecting eye, but what’s swirling beneath is unknown.
Ditches are not a place to swim, regardless of it’s been done before. I’m sure most adults reading this have the common sense to know better, and accidents can even happen to skilled swimmers.
A story written last week by the Killeen Daily Herald’s own intern Brady Keane details how officials are urging residents to stay out of Belton and Stillhouse lakes, because they are still flooded.
Personally, I’d prefer sticking to pools, but I know outdoor recreation activity can be fun.
Until officials give the OK, I’d recommend residents also find a local pool or even check out the Armed Services YMCA’s new pool and take a swimming lesson if you or someone you know doesn’t know how.
Rachael Riley covers Harker Heights and Nolanville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7553.