Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
A critical flood information website is back online after issues at a Microsoft data center left the site down while heavy rains hit San Antonio, causing widespread flooding.
BexarFlood.org, which shows real-time information about flooded roads in Bexar County, had been down since 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Microsoft message. “An issue with cooling” caused a temperature spike at one of its data centers.
The outages affected Microsoft Azure cloud server customers all over the south central United States, according to the company. BexarFlood.org went back online shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“I’m shocked,” said River Authority Assistant General Manager Steve Graham late Tuesday morning. The authority took over management of the website from Bexar County, though the County and City provide funding to operate it.
“We didn’t go with grandma and grandpa cloud service,” Graham continued. “Maybe in the future we need to have two companies run it in parallel. I thought it was bulletproof.”
Heavy rains on Monday night and early Tuesday left multiple people trapped in cars in flooded streets around the city. Flash floods are one of the most common hazards to affect San Antonio, which is part of a region known as Flash Flood Alley.
Between 7 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, San Antonio Fire Department personnel responded to more than 60 calls for high-water rescues, SAFD's Public Relations Manager Woody Woodward said in an email.
The city’s official total was 6.07 inches on Monday recorded at the San Antonio International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
That made Monday the 10th rainiest day ever recorded in San Antonio, which has weather records stretching back to the 1880s.
However, some volunteer observers reported rainfall of 8 to 10 inches in parts of northern Bexar County like Stone Oak and Timberwood Park between 7 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, 31 San Antonio streets remained closed due to flooding, according to the City’s website.
But the rainfall also brought some relief from drought conditions that have been plaguing the entire state, including the San Antonio region.
The rain replenished the Edwards Aquifer, according to measurements which tap the aquifer below San Antonio. The water level in the well shot up from just under 642 feet above mean sea level at midnight Tuesday to more than 647 feet before 5 p.m.
Forecasters said the bulk of the heavy precipitation has ended, but that scattered showers and thunderstorms might continue over the next few days, especially in areas west of San Antonio.