Tropical Storm Bill likely to cause major flooding in Texas

Tropical Storm Bill will drift across Texas with torrential rainfall and renewed concerns for major flooding in the South Central states.

Tropical Storm Bill likely to cause major flooding in Texas

Tropical Storm Bill will drift across Texas with torrential rainfall and renewed concerns for major flooding in the South Central states.

The eye of Bill moved over Matagorda Island, Texas, during Tuesday midday as a tropical storm. Bill will will slowly take a curved path to the northwest and then the north over the state through Wednesday.

According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, “The main concerns have been and will continue to be the potential for heavy rainfall and major flooding.”

Tropical storm warnings were still in effect from Baffin Bay, Texas, just south of Corpus Christi, to High Island, Texas, just north of Galveston.

A voluntary evacuation order was issued on Monday for the Bolivar Peninsula of Texas, which borders Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Small craft operators should keep their vessels within the protection of coastal waters through Tuesday

Motorists should avoid low-lying coastal roads as these will be prone to taking on water through Tuesday night, until the storm moves far enough inland.

Coastal Impacts

The system will remain strong enough to cause rough surf and strong rip currents through Tuesday night. There is also the potential for locally severe storms in the region, including a few waterspouts and tornadoes.

“The greatest threat of a tornado is northeast of Bill’s center,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Chyna Glenn said.

Fast-moving squalls will rotate onshore along the Louisiana and Texas coasts.

The strongest winds can be expected immediately to the east of Bill’s track where localized gusts to around 70 mph will be possible into Tuesday afternoon.

These winds will be strong enough to result in downed tree limbs, power outages and damage to some structures.

“An east to southeast flow has been causing water to pile up along the Louisiana and Texas coasts since early in the weekend,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

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“At peak, water levels could rise to 4 feet above published levels,” Samuhel said.

Water levels will generally run 1-3 feet above normal from the central Texas coast to the western shoreline of Louisiana.

While water levels of this nature are not serious, they can cause problems such as minor coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Inland Impacts

Typically tropical systems weaken rapidly when making landfall due to dry air choking off the moisture source needed to maintain intensity. However, the recent heavy rain and waterlogged landscape could cause this storm to weaken slowly.

“While the best chance for strong winds will be at the coast, strong wind gusts could continue inland quite a ways due to the continued intensity of the storm,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffy said.

The storm will funnel copious amounts of moisture into a zone that had torrential rainfall in May. Flooding from that rainfall continues along some of the rivers in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“Rainfall will result in significant flooding across central and eastern Texas through Wednesday, including the cities of Houston, Dallas and Austin,” Glenn said.

Houston public schools are closed Tuesday as a precautionary measure, the district announced early Tuesday morning.

The heaviest rain and hence the greatest risk of flooding on Tuesday into Thursday will be focused on the upper Texas coast, central and northeastern Texas and central and eastern Oklahoma. Many of these locations may receive double-digit rainfall this week. This, on top of 1-2 feet of rain that hit during May.

An arm of rainfall averaging 6-10 inches will extend as far to the north as southern Missouri. Locally heavier amounts are possible.

The heavy rainfall will not stop over the southern Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley. Rain heavy enough to cause flooding will be funneled into part of the Midwest and the East.

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