Tropical Storm Bill Brings Heavy Rains; Flood Threats Issued In Texas, Oklahoma
Tropical Storm Bill struck Matagorda Island, Texas, on Tuesday. As the strong surge moves inward, it is likely to bring along heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the areas of the south.
The storm, which occurred Tuesday morning and early Tuesday afternoon, struck at the same time as an early morning high tide along the Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coastlines.
According to The Weather Channel, the areas along FM 2031 south of Matagorda were covered in water one foot deep. Reports coming in from Galveston County emergency management said that yards in parts of Hitchcock and Bayou Vista, across the bay from Galveston Island, were flooded. On Tuesday afternoon, the water level recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas, was more than three feet above normal.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that, following the severe flooding during the Memorial Day weekend, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel who were sent to Texas and Oklahoma will remain there to administer the preparation in the wake of Tropical Storm Bill.
Maria Cedillo, who was in Corpus Christi, said, “I’m not afraid; we’ve had so many storms. When there’s a big one coming we move out. But this isn’t one of them.”
The average rainfall projected for parts of Texas through Wednesday noon is 3 to 6 inches, the National Weather Service said; however, certain areas could receive rainfall of 12 inches. Arkansas and Oklahoma are projected to receive 9 inches of rainfall in the coming few days, while Missouri is expected to receive more than 7 inches.
Trinity River, as it extends through East Texas, could suffer massive flooding. While the level of water in one portion of the river northeast of Houston was almost 4 feet above the flood stage, the Guadalupe River north of Corpus Christi recorded a level of about 5 feet above flood stage.
Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said, “We’re more vulnerable to flooding right now than usual because we just got through the wettest month on record.”
Evacuation was ordered for the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County. Possible rains could cause flooding on the peninsula, which will make leaving more difficult later.
Street flooding also occurred on Galveston Island on Tuesday, as reported by CNN affiliate KTRK. Other than the collapse of a roof of a bank drive-through in southeast Harris County, there was no significant damage to life or property.
Central Texas is susceptible to severe flooding, which the residents are concerned the storm might bring along. Nine people were killed and dozens of homes were damaged in floods that occurred along Blanco River in Wimberly.
According to CNN affiliate KXAN, Lisa Kiefer said, “Everyone’s a little gun-shy. Three weeks ago, after the flood, helicopters were in town for days, and the Red Cross trucks … you just couldn’t get away from the fact the community was so damaged.”
FEMA spokesman Rafael Lemaitre said that the agency had issued around $38 million – a large sum of which was because of last month’s massive flooding – in Texas flood insurance claims in 2015.
Almost the entire central and eastern Texas received at least 10 inches of rainfall in the 30-day period. Certain areas received between 15 and 20 inches.
You might also be interested in: Alaska Wildfire Spreads To 6,500 Acres, Causes Damage And Forces Evacuation