Learning how to prepare the food you’ve raised should also be free, she said. “It’s something that used to be passed down from generation to generation,” she commented as she reflected on receiving a notebook of gardening tips and tricks from her grandfather who farmed through parts of Texas in the years past – a notebook that she’s used personally, with a team of volunteers, to transform a vacant lot near San Felipe Creek into a beautiful arrangement of vegetable plants, new saplings, and flowers.
“We have a Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of every month,” said Maria. “We need more vendors and local farmers, it’s a free gathering place.”
The Del Rio Community Garden is part of the Del Rio Parks Foundation – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to enriching the quality of life for the community through the development of outdoor park and recreational spaces in the City of Del Rio. If you are interested in becoming involved with this organization, visit their website at http://delrioparksfoundation.com/ and follow their various Facebook pages at Del Rio Parks Foundation, Del Rio Community Garden, and Del Rio Community Garden Volunteers. Article written by Dan Schreiber.
Good Morning, Del Rio!
Below I was able to capture a fantastic satellite image loop from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's brand new GOES-16 Satellite. As the sun rose this morning, the visible-light spectrum of the satellite opened up to an abundance of clouds over the state, with a beautiful top-down perspective of massive thunderstorm over the Big Bend National Park, and a smaller, but equally as intense thunderstorm near Corpus-Christi.
What's in store today for the Del Rio area? Great Question!
Forecasting geniuses have been rather stumped over the last week or so about severe weather through the Rio Grande Plains. While atmospheric dynamics would certainly support severe weather - the atmosphere has under-performed substantially.
Yesterday was the first day that any confirmed severe weather was actually observed through the region - and that particular storm dropped some large hail near the small town of Knippa - just east of Uvalde. A storm late in the afternoon on Friday also raised some concern, but stayed on the Coahuila side of the Rio and went unconfirmed.
Another clue that I observed today with the weather balloon data indicated ample wind shear from the ground level to toe stratosphere. This is also conducive to thunderstorm growth because it has the ability to sustain storms by separating the updraft of moisture from the downdraft of rainfall, This allows storms to continue to "feed" with moisture rather than rain themselves out.
Lastly, what I observed the amount of moisture through the atmosphere - known as Precipitable Water. Today - the atmosphere over Del Rio is near it's maximum value for this time of year in regards to moisture content. In other words - there's a lot of moisture aloft over the region that could, under the right conditions, initiate some localized flooding.
- Meteorologist Dan Schreiber
Del Rio, Texas – Flawed Perception? Texas Border Town Fights Misconceptions, Boasts Safe & Friendly Family Living
I’ll start by saying I was one of those people, when I first received notification of job transfer to Del Rio.
My wife and I came from Tucson, Arizona. Arizona has a lot of problems with the Mexican border and drug smuggling. It’s a great state, but the border is a big problem. We all have heard the stories of cartel wars in Nogales & Juarez, mass graves, kidnappings, stray bullets flying over the fence, murdered border ranchers, and the whole works. I’ve spent most of my life near the border, but not in a border town, per-se. So, Del Rio was our first real exposure to the remote, West Texas border, and initially thought...of all places to go! A previous coworker even asked, “who did you piss off?”
When you research Del Rio, you can’t find much about what people who actually live here think about it. And, actually, the only thing I really heard about it before we moved there was, “it’s only a three-hour drive to San Antonio”, as if Del Rio was a God-forsaken, run-down, dusty border town that everyone couldn’t wait to leave.
To be honest, I know some people feel that way, and my heart aches for them. In most cases, from what I’ve observed, it’s because they arrived close-minded to the opportunities and relationships that Del Rio and the surrounding area offers. I’m not talking about Mexico – although I’ve heard there is fun to be had there as well. I’m talking about a culture, that, if you choose to immerse yourself in it with no strings attached, will welcome and hold you like family.
You see, it’s the uneducated misconception of the town that Del Rio struggles with – one of its worst enemies – and that in itself deters many from ever experiencing it for real. Is Del Rio perfect? Absolutely not! Certainly, not every perception or rumor about the town is flawed. There is plenty that both the town and the townsfolk could do to improve the quality of life, economy, and attractiveness. This discussion is not about community development, however – it’s about the importance of being open-minded.
Listen, one of the first people I met in Del Rio told me that they had relocated here because they just loved the culture and the friendly, safe town. While encouraging to both me and my wife, we can both admit that we both thought this person must be a little crazy or something to want to do that. I tell you what, though – I’ve come to see why more and more folks – many of them transplants – are calling Del Rio home. They aren’t crazy, they have just learned to appreciate the real things in life that the community of Del Rio holds dear – things like faith, family, and community spirit.
But, without going any further, I’d like to address some of the perceptions that both my wife and I had when we were a little less educated about Del Rio before we moved here – and what the reality of the town actually is.
Misconception: Nobody Speaks English
Not true at all. While Spanish will certainly help you understand the local gossip standing in line at the H-E-B grocery store, you don’t have to speak any Spanish to get around. Signs are in English, menus are in English, and we even have English radio stations.
Now, if you are Hispanic, some Del Rioans may speak initially to you in Spanish, assuming that you speak Spanish. If you reply in English, they will be happy to accommodate you in your native tongue. Many Hispanic locals are bilingual, so this is common. I’ve also heard conversions switch languages mid-sentence. You will hear this the first few times and be confused, then just learn that that’s the way it goes.
One foot-note, however – it helps to be bilingual for job opportunities. This is a common “plus” in many places, not just border towns, but it really does make a difference here. No worries, my wife easily got a job upon arrival here and doesn’t speak Spanish.
Misconception: The Low Crime Rate Is Fudged
I suppose that I can’t say for sure that this is false, but I can say that I’ve never really witnessed a crime in Del Rio in the two years that I’ve been here. It is extremely safe. I never worry about my wife and young daughter at night, out on the town by themselves, or even if we left our front door wide open (not that we do that…).
I’ve read the arrest reports for a little mischief here and there – but compared to many other places that I’ve lived, Del Rio does not have me worried about safety and security. I’m actually way more worried about crime in San Antonio than in Del Rio.
I learned quickly that Texas does not tolerate drugs. In California, Oregon, and Arizona – three states that I lived in most of my life – it seemed like drugs just seemed to overwhelm small towns. Not Del Rio, Texas.
Del Rio isn’t drug-free. I’ve heard a few stories of folks getting caught with a little marijuana – and in some cases heavier narcotics or pills. But overall, I don’t see a bunch of people blazed out of their minds walking aimlessly down the street in Del Rio like I would see in many other places that I’ve lived.
A common side-effect of drugs – homelessness – is another thing that Del Rio appears to lack. I can’t remember the last time I saw a homeless family here. Del Rio doesn’t let folks go without a roof over their head.
Misconception: It’s a Barren Wasteland
Google Maps doesn’t help with this misconception. Do yourself a favor and don’t use Google Maps Satellite View to get an impression of Del Rio, sort of like I did originally. Del Rio and the local surrounding area is home to not only the Rio Grande and Amistad Reservoir, but also the Pecos River, the Devils River, the Frio River, the Nueces River, and Hill Country. My favorite local natural beauty is San Felipe Creek, which the city has done a great job developing into a wonderful park.
Del Rio is actually pretty diverse when it comes to nature. West of Del Rio is the Chihuahuan Desert and Big Bend. It’s dry, but serene. North and northeast of Del Rio is Hill Country – the closest Central Texas can come to forested mountains (hills). South and east of Del Rio may seem a bit barren for an hour or so, but is relieved by a bunch of farmland and much more humid air from the Gulf of Mexico. So, whether you want to spend a night under the desert stars, tube down the rivers in Hill Country, or start a garden – Del Rio gives you the opportunity to do so.
In conclusion, I think it’s only appropriate that I thank a number of unnamed people in Del Rio who welcomed my wife and me to this town. I remember telling my mom, when she asked about what I thought of Del Rio, I said, “I haven’t met someone who hasn’t smiled”. It’s a growing community, slowly, but surely. Every day it seems like there is a new organization or initiative in town with a passion for continuing to promote and develop the community, highlighting the pride that Del Rioans take in their city.
If I had never met many of the locals that I have come across if I didn’t have an open mind about Del Rio, I might still be lumped into the category of folks who can’t wait to leave. Fortunately, I’m in the other boat – the group that doesn’t want to leave.
- Dan Schreiber
See More About Del Rio Here
After getting pelted during early evening with pockets of large hail, portions of the City of Del Rio and Eastern Val Verde County endured a second round of storms late in the evening on May 10th, 2017. A confirmed tornado was reported by Laughlin AFB weather personnel just north of the base in a rural part of far-southeastern Val Verde County.
Shortly after crossing the Rio Grande from near Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, what appeared to be an insignificant thunderstorm erupted into a tornadic state just west of the Del Rio International Airport, triggering a National Weather Service-Issued Tornado Warning at 10:35 PM.
The thunderstorm began to gain momentum shortly after crossing the Rio Grande River, similar to a previous storm just hours before, and displayed easily-identifiable radar-indicated hail (pink, in the base reflectivity image above). While this storm did not look to produce very large hail - immediate concern was drawn to the tornadic vortex signature (upside-down triangle) found near the hook (inflow) of the supercell thunderstorm.
While this signature can often be mis-interpreted by weather radars - a quick look at inbound-vs-outbound velocities (shown in the image to the right above as green = inbound and red = outbound) verifies decently strong rotation in the storm (and was further verified with elevated radar scans).
This was enough to warrant a tornado warning, which accompanied the storm across much of the northern half of the city and into more rural ranch land north of Laughlin AFB into Kinney County.
While at the time of this writing there has not yet been any reports of damage or injury from this storm, a wall cloud and a brief tornado were visually observed roughly four miles from the airfield northwest of Laughlin AFB shortly after these radar images were taken.
Pho Rio, Del Rio’s only, and very cleverly named Vietnamese restaurant, appears to be beating the odds in the city’s nearly vacant, dying downtown strip at the corner of Main Street and Broadway.
“We’re doing ok”, said Todd, the co-manager and waiter at the family-owned restaurant when I asked how business was going. “We’re the fifth restaurant to occupy this building, all the others closed down”, referring to previous restaurants that have occupied the same floorspace – El Antro, Las Playas, Prima Pasta, and The Herald Martini Bar. Nonetheless, Pho Rio is thinking optimistically about a future increase in business.
My wife and I first started dining at Pho Rio – once a month or so – shortly after it opened last summer. The menu isn’t overwhelming, nor expensive, but offers a wide variety of Vietnamese soups (pho), rice-and-noodle plates, and plenty of stir-fry and curry dishes- both for dine-in and to-go. They offer a few different appetizers – spring rolls, won-tons, and so forth – currently on a buy-one, get one half off deal. For beverages, my wife’s “usual” drink, boba tea, is also on the menu. We generally walk out the door stuffed for under $35 – including a good tip and a to-go box with leftovers for lunch the next day.
“People like our food!” exclaimed Todd. He wasn’t kidding – both Google Reviews and Facebook users rated the newly-established eatery with 4.9 and 5.0 stars, respectively. “I think it will just take time to grow,” he said as he began clearing our booth table after we had finished eating. “I would like to change the look of the place a little bit, make it more attractive.” The floorplan hasn’t changed from its previous tenants, but still boasts comfortable seating, high ceilings, and a wide-open, relaxing atmosphere.
“Some days, we have good business,” stated Todd, “other days, it’s very slow”. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 9PM, Todd said that they need to see a consistent flow of about 100 customers per day to stay open – and some days they can’t reach that. “After about 7PM, you look both ways down [Main Street] and there is no one around,” said Todd.
He cites the nearby railroad tracks near the Del Rio Amtrak station, just a couple blocks away, for poor traffic flow. There’s no overpass at the Main Street railroad crossing, which can often drive the main flow of traffic over the Veterans Boulevard railroad bridge south to Garfield Street – completely bypassing the restaurant, which sits directly across from the Val Verde County Judicial Center.
Admittedly, even I rarely transit this part of town via Main Street unless I have a reason to, but rather via Veterans’ Boulevard to Garfield, simply because of wider streets, less congestion, and more favorable traffic signals.
Downtown Del Rio has started becoming even more of a ghost town in recent months, especially with the closing of The Emporium. Looking back at vintage images from the Del Rio downtown, with the streets lined with vehicles and small business open along the entire several blocks of Main Street extending from the railroad tracks south to Strickland Street, shows a stark contrast now to the series of boarded-up, run down buildings and empty streets that appear to continually wither as much of the local traffic now bypasses downtown along Gibbs Street, Veterans Boulevard, Dr. Fermin Calderon Boulevard, and Bedell Avenue. No doubt, Pho Rio faces an uphill battle for business that it would otherwise not encounter if positioned along one of these busy thoroughfares.
“A lot of people know about us,” Todd said, “but they still don’t try our food.” From my observation, it’s not because of a lack of good reviews, but more likely because it’s simply positioned between narrow and easily congested streets that offer little up-front parking (although we always park across the street in the courthouse parking lot). “We need more frequent customers to bring their friends,” he said.
Despite the odds against Pho Rio in their current location, Todd remains hopeful. “Operating a restaurant is like gambling,” he remarked, “except for in gambling, you lose money fast, but in operating a restaurant, you at least have a chance. I don’t want to shut down or leave [Del Rio], especially when everyone loves our food.”
Read the reviews yourself. Pho Rio is one of the few Asian food restaurants in Del Rio- family-owned and operated, home-style cooking, affordable, and very filling, and is complimented by a great atmosphere and friendly staff offering great service. Try it yourself, enjoy it, and let them know you read about them here!
Dan Schreiber is a freelance meteorologist with experience