Life Inside the Dead Man’s Curve – The Chronicles of a Public-Safety Helicopter Pilot by Kevin McDonald
Excerpt from the Book – #1:
. . . In Austin, Texas, the 2001 winter solstice occurred on December 21, at 1:22 p.m. Central Standard Time. The night that began at official sunset that evening lasted thirteen hours and eleven minutes, making it the longest night of the year in the official astronomical records. For those of us at STAR Flight, however, the longest night of that year had already come—a little more than a month earlier, on November 15.
The events leading up to one of the worst floods ever seen by the residents of Central Texas actually began thirty-six hours prior to that night, when a slow-moving low-pressure system, packed with energy and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, stalled north and west of Austin. The massive complex of storms camped there for the next two and a half days. The torrential rains it produced over a large portion of the state resulted in twelve deaths and more than a billion dollars in property damage, making it the deadliest and costliest Texas storm since the infamous Galveston hurricane in December of 1900.
. . . The final eight miles of the route she had chosen took Sharon Zambrzycki south along FM 685, a heavily traveled four-lane highway.
When she reached the bridge that crosses Brushy Creek at around 6:00 p.m., Sharon was exactly 13.8 miles north of the STAR Flight hangar. She saw something in her headlights she had never seen there before that night—the water, normally fifteen feet below the bridge, was moving across the highway.