warning signs

warning signs

It started with a novel by San Antonio native, Rick Riodan, now famous for his, me mumbling, something Percy something series. I stumbled into his work via his Big Red Tequila, the title of which refers to an alcoholic beverage made from Big Red and cheap tequila, the very thought of which makes me queasy. In the series, three or more novels, the San Antonio roadways, one of the novels, the plot elements turned on a short rain that floods the ditches? Typically disastrous result, usually, a fatality. My first introduction, that author, his novels, set in San Antonio — I was in Austin and I didn’t understand the pervasive flooding nor impact.

Hint: it’s really a thing.

When there is heavy, local rain, the dry ground quickly becomes sodden, then saturated, then the watery runoff spills into the streets, and water seeks the easiest path downhill. A number of “Low Water Crossings” have signs and some locations even have automated crossing arms, “Do not enter, dangerous currents,” &c.

When it rains heavily, the way water flows, and nature’s unlimited fury? It’s dangerous. The low water crossings can be deadly. Heavy, biblical flood-like conditions, alongside bone-dry high-desert droughts, but the flood-like conditions? There tend to be at least one “swift-water rescue” story on the ten o’clock news. Fools rushed into water that was too deep, too fast-moving, ignored the posted placards, and maybe drove around plainly signed traffic warnings.

It’s not funny. Or maybe it’s funny, in a dark, bleak way.

“It didn’t look that deep.”

I’ve used this in horoscopes. I’ve used these example, ripped from local news, time and again, and I started this, thinking back when I didn’t really understand that the local topography is different than what I was used to up from here. Totally different, Just about every heavy rain brings news of “swift water rescue.” By the time the news crews arrive, though, the mangled vehicle is washed downstream, and the person is huddling under blankets, “I thought I could make it, it didn’t look that dangerous.”

Locally, again, this is from hearsay data points, but in Bexar County? Swift Water Rescue incurs at least a $1500 fine. Might lose life and limb, literally, as well.

Ignore the warnings at one’s own peril.

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