While California suffers through a drought with no end in sight, Texas broke its decade-long megadrought in dramatic fashion. Over the past couple of months, it seems the Lone Star State has been underwater with flooding and Tropical Depression Bill.
In May alone, the Dallas-Fort Worth area saw several records broken. The DFW airport recorded nearly 17 inches of rainfall, almost 3½ inches more than the previous record of 13.66 in 1982.
It rained 18 days in May, and that’s not counting what the National Weather Service calls “trace” days where the rain wasn’t measurable in significant quantities. Add in those and it jumps up to 24 days.
June saw at least a week of rain, including a drenching from Tropical Depression Bill. This is seen as a mixed blessing.
“The last few months of rain put an end to the drought that we’ve been seeing for quite some time,” said Matt Bishop, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s North Texas region.
While the flooding has hampered business everywhere, pool companies have especially felt the pinch. Several builders said the big problem they’ve faced this season has been trying to catch up on projects that couldn’t be completed due to the rain.
“Our main thing is being able to build [pools],” said Melody Moore, sales support at Claffey Pools, a PSN Top Builder in Southlake, Texas. “Every time it dries out, it starts raining again.”
While builders do their best to please customers, it’s difficult to stay on schedule when the ground is too sodden to disturb.
For Debra Smith, co-owner/president of Pulliam Aquatech Pools, a PSN Top Builder in Fort Worth, it’s been the flip side of the weather coin, after years of drought.
“We desperately needed the water,” she said. “Had we not had that, we wouldn’t have been able to pull permits.”
As is now happening in California, Texas’ long drought forced the state to take precautionary measures. Some cities that were in Stage 4 drought had imposed permit bans, Smith said.
Farther south in Houston, the weather gave the coastal city a beating.
During one week, the city received 10 inches, said Brad Stephens, owner of Backyard Amenities, a PSN Top Builder. He described his 2.1-million-gallon detention pond as overflowing during the worst of the flooding.
“We need some dry weather,” he said. “It’s going to affect the end-of-year numbers, but we’re up about 25 percent.”
Previously, PSN has reported that most markets across the country are up this year, and the same holds for Texas. Outside of the flooding, builders there remain optimistic.
On the service side, business hasn’t picked up much as a result of the flooding, but the jobs have been different. Earl Jones, owner of Texas Pool Techs in Houston, has seen more single-day jobs from homeowners who usually care for their own pools, but have been overwhelmed by the rain.
The most common effect of the flooding has involved water chemistry. With all the rain, the chemicals have been washing out of the pool water.
Even with the use of algaecides, the influx of water has created algae buildup, especially in waterfeatures that empty into the pools. Additionally, Jones has seen an increase in excess bacteria and other contaminants from water that’s overflowed into pools.
“People with high cyanuric acid have had problems,” he said. “We’ve had to drain many a pool. We have to acid-wash or power-wash the walls to get some of it out and then refill it back up.”
He noted that most of this stems from customers’ pools having high pre-storm cyanuric acid levels that were not diluted by rain, but instead, reacted with nitrates from fertilizers and other contaminants.
The season is still busy, but now the focus is on catchup and cleanup.