If you talk to any longtime MIdlander about May 's rainfall, don't make the mistake of saying, 'Boy, that's as hard as I ever remember it raining." Like I made the mistake of saying. Because if you say that to someone who's been here for over 40 years, you'll get an even bigger memory: The Flood of 1968.
According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram's Centennial edition, this was the way it was on May 9, 1968:
"Five inches were recorded in a two-hour period on the morning of May 9, 1968. Accompanied by damaging hail and high winds, an estimated 10-12 total inches submerged the virtually paralyzed city. A man's life was lost and the city sustained millions of dollars worth of property loss and damage.
"A salesman from Lubbock was killed when a torrent of water swept his car off U.S. Highway 80, slamming it into a railroad trestle with the man trapped inside.
"An estimated 500 homes in the fashionable northwest section of town were flooded. Boats were used to rescue stranded persons while fire trucks stalled in the rivers of water known as city streets.
"While the Texas Highway Patrol closed access to Highway 80 and Interstate 20 to keep traffic out of Midland, the Texas State Guard and Odessa emergency units assisted in rescues and provided aid.
"Across town at Parkview Hospital an expectant mother was experiencing labor pains in the lobby while attendants tried to find a way to get her to Midland Memorial Hospital, where there was an obstetrics unit.
"The basement of the post office on Wall Avenue was flooded and 10,000 pounds of rubber bands floated down the streets of downtown Midland.
"Two Junior League members were stranded in the Next-to-New Shop on E. Illinois Ave., with a couple of other people seeking refuge. The group made a 'HELP' sign out of newspapers which they posted in the window and then waited on counter tops for help to arrive. A human chain was formed to pull them to safety."
Rain is in the forecast for Midland through this Saturday. It's not the historic kind. But it's enough to get you wet.
Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram Centennial Edition, c. 1985.
Photo: Ida Jo Moore Park on 'A' St., already closed because of renovations, would have also likely had to close because of the flooding rains from May 2010.
Jimmy Patterson's book, "A History of Character: The Story of Midland, Texas" is currently in the research phase. It will be published in the Winter of 2011-2012.