Tropical Storm Bill made landfall at about 11:45 CDT (16:45 UTC) yesterday on Matagorda Island, Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Maximum sustained winds at landfall were 60 mph according to the NHC. Bill inflicted storm force winds, a storm surge of at least three feet and heavy rainfall to an area still saturated from the excessive rains of last month.
Bill has since weakened to a tropical depression and slow weakening is expected to continue, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center (WPC). Bill continues to move to the north towards Dallas-Fort Worth and a gradual turn to the northeast towards Southern Missouri is expected through Friday.
NHC track and wind history
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Bill will continue to produce heavy rainfall over a widespread area. Gusty winds and perhaps a few tornadoes are also possible today. Of great concern is the ongoing threat of both river and flash flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) maintains watches and warnings to this effect for much of eastern Texas and Oklahoma, and extending into the Ohio Valley. Major flooding is possible along the Trinity River in parts of East Texas, as well as the Guadalupe River north of Corpus Christi.
Media reports thus far indicate no fatalities or major damage from this event, but flooding is still an ongoing concern for several areas. The State of Texas is still recovering from the Memorial Day weekend floods that left more than 30 dead and damaged thousands of structures.
Torrential rains caused road closures in Houston, an area already saturated from last month’s flooding, according to reports. Rising waters in the town of Sealy, about 50 miles west of Houston, prompted law enforcement to rescue several individuals caught by the flooding. Voluntary evacuations have also been called for some areas south of Houston according to reports.
More than 100 flights were cancelled at airports in Dallas and Houston as of Wednesday morning. The storm was not expected to disrupt oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, according to media reports.
According to the State Climatologist, Texas is particularly vulnerable to flooding at this time due to a record wet month in May. Media reports indicate a statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that the agency paid nearly USD38 million in Texas flood insurance claims this year, with the large majority attributed to the storms of last month.
Selected Rainfall Totals
Near Ganado, TX
Near El Campo, TX
Near Sealy, TX
Near Hempstead, TX
Port Lavaca, TX
Houston Intercontinental (TX)
Muskogee/Davis Airport (OK)
Harrison/Boone Co. Airport (AR)
WPC 72 Hour Rainfall Forecast. Source: NOAA/WPC
Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, U.S. Weather Prediction Center.
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