Flooding, Hail, Tornadoes, Closed Parks? Happy Memorial Day!

In case you have been out of the state or hiding in your closet for the past few months, we've gotten a lot of rain in Texas. This is a welcome contrast to the drought-ridden conditions facing much of the state since 2011 when trees (and wills to live) were threatened by one of the worst dry spells in decades. If you prayed for rain as then Governor Rick Perry suggested (sigh), hallelujah, you finally got your wish. In fact, nearly the entire state is drought-free.

But, of course, this brings with it a whole new threat, namely flooding, hail, tornadoes and what you would think is the end of life as we know if we paid attention to certain weather forecasters, or, worse yet, the alerts on cable systems that take over your entire network feed RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROCKETS GAME! I get it, Emergency Broadcast System, you are the white Bronco of 2015, but you'd think someone might have learned not to jack with the sporting events even if flood waters are lapping at your doorstep. Frankly, if that is the case, my guess is you aren't lounging in your house watching the playoffs, unless you are totally hardcore (and I respect that).

Anyway, the state has sent out some alerts for Memorial Day weekend, which promises to be a rather damp one. Saturday looks like it could be fairly nice, but by Sunday night, the rain should start and we could even get severe weather from then through Tuesday including high winds, hail and even sporadic tornadoes across certain parts of the state. An approaching disturbance could bring as much as three inches of rain across portions of southeast Texas, particularly south of Galveston and north of Palacios.

In fact, the state is so concerned about your weekend getaway plans, it has provided a list of what state parks might be affected. Many of the parks appear to be fine and are expected to be open, but not all of them.

Caddo Lake State Park has been experiencing quite a bit of flooding, and much of the area is closed off. Cedar Hill State Park's swimming area is flooded and off limits, as are some areas of Goliad State Park, Lake Arrowhead State Park, Lake Somerville State Park, Mother Neff State Park, Mustang Island State Park, Purtis Creek State Park and Ray Roberts Lake Complex, which is in particularly bad shape with the lake more than seven feet above normal.

Maybe the most interesting note is from Dinosaur Valley State Park, which is located southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area near Stephenville. According to a state press release, some of the park is closed and "Dinosaur tracks are not visible." So, if you are planning an outing to look for dinosaur tracks, this is not the weekend. Besides, who needs dino tracks when you can see the real things kick ass and take names in Jurassic World (opening nationwide on June 12)? T-Rex footprint? I can watch one get eaten on a giant screen by a genetically engineered mutant killing machine. Rock on!

The good news is you probably won't be blown away by a tornado or pummeled to death by hail this weekend, but if you intend to be outside on Memorial Day, you might have to move the party indoors for at least part of it. Sure, a burger from the skillet isn't the same as off the grill, but it's still a burger. Besides, the inside has the flat-screen and mosquitoes won't land in your beer. Happy Memorial Day!
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke