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Austin has a love-hate relationship with rain. With the severe drought over the past few years, it has been mostly a love relationship. Still, it can be a bit of a shock when water falls out of the sky after weeks or months without it.
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But when the rains come, we’re reminded of why we’ve been somewhat content with the dry weather. Rain doesn’t sound as treacherous as an ice storm or tornado, but like Boy Scouts say, always be prepared. Like any weather event, people need to be ready to handle whatever may fall from the sky. Thankfully, rain isn’t always about battening down the hatches. Sometimes it can be fun. But you’ve got to be smart about it.
So, here are the 10 things smart Austinites do when it rains!
10.) Bring the dog inside
You don’t want to be wet and cold outside. Neither does Fido. Make him a warm spot inside and he’ll probably be fine. If he spooks with lightning, you might have a four-legged sleeping partner. One sure way to help calm down a dog that hates storms is a Thunder Shirt from Austin’s own Bark-N-Purr. It’s like you’re giving your dog a hug the entire time they are wearing it!
9.) Prepare for an extra long commute
Let’s be real here, folks. Austinites already have enough trouble driving in the sunshine. Rain adds a whole new level of crazy to the city’s usually bad traffic, because some people don’t slow down at all, while others get hyper cautious and only drive at half speed. You put those two drivers on the same slick roadway and bad things happen. Before heading out, check KXAN’s live traffic preview to make sure you’re not heading into a real mess.
8.) Drive to the road conditions
Some drivers may honk and curse you for driving too slow, but you need to get to your destination in one piece. You can’t control how other drivers handle the rain, but you can control what you do. Drive to the road conditions. Leave extra room between you and the car in front of you, signal your turns well in advance, and don’t make sudden moves. If this whole scenario sounds worrying, brush up on your defensive driving techniques at Cap City Comedy. It only costs $30, it saves you on your insurance, and you get two free comedy show passes out of the deal. Pretty sweet!
7.) Be aware of flood-prone areas
Certain parts of the city are first to flood every time. Beware of Shoal Creek and Waller Creek. If it’s really coming down outside, it also helps to check out ATXFloods.com to see if there are any road closures or high-water crossings near you.
6.) Watch for water across the roadways
Turn around. Don’t drown. Simple, right? Then why do we inevitably have water rescues during heavy rains? If you see water across the roadway, don’t try to cross it. Your car can get swept away in just a couple inches of water. Keep yourself safe, and keep first responders from risking their lives because you did something stupid. There’s a reason why folks like AAA Water Rescue stay in business around these parts. That raging river doesn’t care, so you should!
5.) Pack an umbrella… If you can find it
We get used to leaving our umbrellas at home. Right when we need them, they’re nowhere to be found. Might want to stop by REI in Austin to pick one up.
4.) Wear real shoes
Unless you want your feet to be wet all day, wear actual shoes. While your locally made recycled tire sandals are totally cool and all, and absolutely appropriate for just about any Austin party or celebration, they don’t go well with rain. You might want to whip into Allen’s Boots on South Congress and try on some foot protection instead.
3.) Enjoy not watering your lawn
For homeowners with sprinkler systems, watering is no big deal. But for homeowners who drag hoses around once a week, rain gives the blessing of a week off from moving sprinklers every 45 minutes. And if you’re into that, you should check out other ways Austinites are conserving water. Some of us are even xeriscaping our lawns and going water free. It’s a great way to save money and the environment at the same time.
2.) Collect water in your rain barrel
Do you hate to see all the water slide off your lawn into the street and down the storm drain? Well, you can’t do much about that, but you can harvest the water from your roof with the help of Austin Green Water’s customized rain barrel solutions. A rain barrel allows you to save the free water and use it later on your trees, plants and gardens. You’ll even get a tax rebate from the City of Austin if you do it!
1.) Savor it
Whatever you like to do during a rainstorm, do it. Lay in bed reading a book. Sip coffee while sitting on a covered patio. Turn off anything that makes noise, and listen to the pattering on your roof. Stand in it with arms wide open like Andy Dufresne at the end of Shawshank Redemption. Or check out our list of 10 suggestions for great indoor activities in Austin on a rainy day. There’s bound to be something going on in this city that will pique your curiosity!
Featured photo: Flickr user Nan Palmero, creative commons licensed.