Wow, what a storm we just had in the Upper Valley a couple of weeks ago. Heavy rains combined with 80mph wind and golf ball size hail can play havoc with roofs, windows and swimming pools. The slow moving storm with a 45 minute hail event not only severely damaged homes but the wind and hail stripped trees, shrubs and plants of all that new spring growth. Combine all the debris with 4″ of hail and we had plugged storm sewers that lead to flooded homes and pools, what a mess!

The cleanup began the next day and for more that 2 weeks now the Pharr/McAllen/Mission/Edinburg area have been swarming with repair folks from all over the country. As you drive down the normally quiet neighbor hoods all you see is piles of tree limbs, bags of leaves and rolls of carpets from homes flooded from either rising water and/or broken windows, sky lights and ripped off roofs. You can also see crews of men on multiple roofs and the rap – rap – rap of nail guns. The roar of backhoes and their backup alarms are everywhere as City clean up crews load dump trucks to haul off debris clogging the streets and alleys.

What you cannot see or hear is what is happening in all those backyards with swimming pools. Hundreds and hundreds of pools were turned black by this storm. The first day after the storm Hamlin Pools received almost 200 calls for service. In so many cases the calls were very similar, “My pool is black, what do I do?”
That basic theme has continued for the last 2 1/2 weeks as families try to put their homes, yard and pools back in shape.

I am so proud of our folks here as they all pitched in by working long hours and weekends fielding the calls, and trying to get by every customer calling in for help in beginning the clean up process. The heavy rains made this more complicated because it forced us to warn folks against draining the pool due to the possible rise in water tables. This just left the option of filtering 24/7, shocking, netting leaves and backwashing multiple times per day until the pool cleared up. Depending on the pool and the effort applied, this generally took 3 to 7 days to clear most swimming pools. Many other pool owners did not fair so well. The hail and rain damaged filters, chlorinators, pipe, tubing, and in many cases caused pool motors to short or burn out. Many of those folks are still down as they wait for their appointments with their Insurance adjuster.

Life goes on here in the Rio Grande Valley, the unusual storm that passed thru our area will long be remembered as one of those once in a life time events. Everyone does recognize how blessed we were when compared to other areas of the country enduring total loss of homes and the horrible sadness of loss of life.

Today, we fix our roofs, replace our windows, rake our yards, clean up our pools and thank God for his blessing on us that damage was not greater. We also learn from an experience like this and hopefully we are all better prepared for the next storm or weather event. Remember, our hurricane season starts in June which is just a short month and a half away.

Life is short and it is what it is, so remember to hug that loved one, take a break and have some fun and if you are fortunate enough to have a pool, go and take a relaxing dip or have some friends or family over and enjoy the gifts God gives us all.