When it rains in Austin, it pours, and sometimes it flash floods.
Unique terrain + rainfall events
The combination of Central Texas’ hilly landscape, clay-rich and thin soil, and high rainfall intensity make the area susceptible to flooding — especially during a drought.
Although we Austinites like to bemoan the lack of rain, rapid intense rainfall (when we get it) can fall too fast for the soil to absorb it all, causing the water run to the nearest stream.
Of the six Highland Lakes — which includes Lakes Travis, Austin, and Lady Bird — only Lake Travis, via the Mansfield Dam, is designed to contain flood waters that flow downstream. Learn more abouthow the Highland Lakes System works.
Between June 2022 and June 2023, more than 300 flash flood events were recorded in Texas. Of them, 13 were in the Austin area. Major flash flooding in Austin happened as recently as last April, when rising water left 21 cars stranded in northwest Austin.
Stay safe during a flash flood
Like any other time it rains in Texas, avoid driving as much as you can. If you must drive, stick to higher ground, never attempt to drive on a flooded road, and observe all barricades. Just two feet of rushing water can carry cars away.
Follow ATXFloods for up-to-date information on flooding.